By BRAD KEITH
TheFlashToday.com NEWS & SPORTS – FREE & LOCAL
STEPHENVILLLE (August 18, 2015) — Jon Clark Giddings has set high goals and overcome odds before.
Remember, just a few months ago Giddings was fighting through an ankle injury to earn a bronze medal in the 4A boys pole vault competition at the UIL Track & Field State Meet.
Now, the senior safety has big goals for his senior campaign on the gridiron. Both for his team and himself.
“My main goal for my team is to win a state championship,and for me individually to be the MVP of our classification,” says Giddings.
Well, he’s not off to a bad start. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine predicts Giddings will be the defensive MVP in District 3-4A Division I after he made 140 tackles as a junior, when he also intercepted one pass.
Giddings says the same ankle injury that has set him back since the middle of the spring track and field season is still a bother, but nothing overbearing.
“Sometimes I feel it, but I’m pretty confident on it,” Giddings said. “It’s good to be out there playing football again, and the ankle isn’t going to slow me down.”
That’s good because he’s one of three returning starters in the secondary and six on defense for Stephenville, which must improve on that side of the ball after surrendering 32 points per game in 2014.
“There’s definitely a chip on our shoulder. I feel like we didn’t play as well as we could have last year and we’re definitely out to make a stand,” Giddings said. “This is a new team, we’re here to play and we plan on being bad news as a defense.”
As in bad news for opposing offenses. As in, more like what Stephenville fans have come to expect.
“They expect a lot in Stephenville and that there’s a lot riding on you. Not just on every play in a game, but on every snap at practice, to protect all this tradition,” Giddings said. “I love it and our team loves it. We love the support, the tradition, the expectations, everything.”
With the responsibility of protecting the tradition comes the task of senior leadership.
“The biggest thing for me is trying to get everyone involved in things together and help the team chemistry,” said Giddings. “I’m trying to point people in the right direction and help get guys together and doing things the right way. I’ve never been a real vocal guy because I like to let my play do the talking, but I’m trying to be more vocal now.”
The Yellow Jackets host “Our Day to Shine” scrimmages against Granbury starting at 6 p.m. Friday at Tarleton Memorial Stadium. Admission is $1 with all proceeds going to the Texas High School Education Foundation Benevolence Fund. The scrimmage will serve as a full dress rehearsal before the regular season begins next week with Venice High School coming from Florida to visit Stephenville.
For Giddings, it’s the start of his senior season, his final campaign, the last ride.
“I know this is it, so I have to make the most of it. Our whole team does,” said Giddings. “We have a lot of work to do because we’re not where we need to be yet defensively or as a team. But we’re coming around. We just have to keep working and getting better each week and I believe we can reach our goals.”
Which for Giddings and Stephenville, are always set sky high.