By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (July 22, 2016) — Football practice may not officially begin until the first day of August, but at many schools including Stephenville, freshmen will get a head start.
Stephenville is hosting its fourth annual freshman football camp next Monday, July 25, through Thursday, July 28. Camp is from 8-10 a.m. each day, with registration beginning at 7:45 a.m. Monday.
“The most important part of this is the freshmen coming out and getting a four-day head start on learning our terminology and different drills we do at the high school that we may not have done at the junior high,” says second-year Stephenville head coach Greg Winder. “That and developing relationships with our high school coaching staff.”
Winder was offensive coordinator at Stephenville from 2000-02 and again from 2008-14. That included guiding one of the most prolific offenses in UIL history when the Yellow Jackets won the 2012 3A Division I state championship.
Winder guided Stephenville to the area round of the 4A Division I playoffs last season, his first as head coach after Joseph Gillespie left to coach linebackers at Tulsa University.
Winder is especially excited because freshman camp signals a new beginning, with student-athletes in grades 10-12 joining the ninth graders a week later for the official start of preseason practices. And he’s glad to be starting a new year with almost the entire coaching staff returning.
The only defection from the high school staff was Blaze Pendleton, who left for Granbury, and even his replacement was promoted from within. Brad Wisener, who coached the past two years at Henderson Junior High, is moving to the high school level to coach outside linebackers.
“It’s huge; nowadays that doesn’t happen very often,” said Winder of having almost his entire staff still intact. “It just says a lot about the program and the coaching staff we have, and about our school district and community. We have good coaches and they want to be here, they are passionate about Stephenville and our kids here.”
The annual Blue-Gold instersquad scrimmages and media day is Saturday, Aug. 6. The Jackets scrimmage White Settlement Brewer at home on August 12 and visit Granbury for their final preseason scrimmage on August 19. The regular season kicks off August 26 at Cleburne.