Friday night football previews

Five-time reigning state champ Stephenville FAITH kicks off its 2016 season Friday at Granbury Cornerstone. || photo by DAVID SWEARINGEN

Editor’s Note: We  have already posted our Stephenville vs. Cleburne and Hico vs. Dublin previews, so now we take a look at the other three high school football games involving area teams Friday evening. Below is a look at the entire schedule, as well as previews of the De Leon, Lingleville and Stephenville FAITH season openers. Watch for this each week here on and on our app, which you can download by searching for “Cross Timbers Sports” in your app store.

August 26 Football Schedule:
Stephenville FAITH at at Granbury Cornerstone, 6:30 p.m.
Dublin vs. Hico (at Tarleton), 7:30 p.m.
Stephenville at Cleburne, 7:30 p.m.
De Leon at Baird, 7:30 p.m.
Lingleville at Evant, 7:30 p.m.


Previews, by Sports Editor Brad Keith, with contributions from reporter David Swearingen:

De Leon at Baird, 7:30 p.m.

De Leon could be ready to turn a corner under head coach David Yeager, and it starts against a Baird team that is coming off a successful season. Yeager’s son, Kevin, is now a sophomore with a season under his belt and may quietly – or not so quietly – be turning into the area’s best high school quarterback.

Yeager says: Baird had a good year last year and we know they are going to be fired up to open their season at home, but I honestly feel that if our kids handle the fundamentals and execute the way we believe they can that we should win the football game.

Brad Keith says: Baird had a good season last year, but other than the presence of state power Albany in their district, did not see the same caliber of opponents that the Bearcats dealt with week to week. I believe Kevin Yeager is a star in the making. He has all the physical tools to dominate at this level, has more weapons around him than last year, and Coach Dad says he is constantly absorbing film and studying ways to improve. There is a good recipe being brewed up in De Leon, and I expect Bearcat country to take notice and get excited after a big season-opening win tonight.

Lingleville at Evant, 7:30 p.m.

Lingleville coach Troy Sparks is setting big goals for his young but talented group of Cardinals. In fact, he says he wants to win eight games in the regular season and go on to record the program’s first playoff victory. It starts tonight on the road in a game originally scheduled as part of a classic in Zephyr.

Sparks says: We’re trying to get to the show and I know these kids have the ability to do it. Our goal this season is to win eight games in the regular season, get into the playoffs and win a playoff game. If we can do that, next year we’re going to the show, and by the show I mean deep into the playoffs.

Brad Keith says: Sparks is right that there is some intriguing young talent in Lingleville. Quarterback/spread back Tom VanKranenburg and running back Adrian Briseno are good places to start, and there are good pieces around them. Eight wins in the regular season is going to be tough against the Cardinals’ star-studded six-man schedule, so they definitely need a win tonight to be one of those eight if they are to reach such a lofty goal.

Stephenville FAITH at Granbury Cornerstone, 6:30 p.m.

Cornerstone and FAITH have played every year the Knights have had a program, including multiple times in a season more than once. The Knights have dominated the series but will go to bat without a quarterback/spread back named Shadd Cole or Joey Braun for the first time in five years. But FAITH is a five-time reigning state champ, and programs like that don’t bother with rebuilding; they just reload and keep on moving.

Coach Nick Braun says: So, it’s the same way really, always is. We have good players who graduate, the young ones come in to fill in the holes and really it is no different. We have a very challenging schedule so you’ll see these young guys hopefully develop into great players by challenging great competition. We will be a different looking team with a different style, but still a lot of confidence. We look at things differently now where we are going to be developing some guys early in the year, but I have a high level of confidence they will will play well, play hard and learn what they need from the mistakes we make so they can become an excellent team. Late in the season and in the playoffs, we are going to be a hard team to beat once again, I believe.

Brad Keith says: Can I just copy and past what Braun had to say? Travis Loper is taking over at quarterback/spread back. Is there a learning curve there? Sure, of course there is. But Loper is a tremendous young athlete and I believe he will adjust very well. When there is a bobble or nervous moment, he has the ability to make big plays anyway because of his physical ability. Collier Jenkins, a sophomore, may also play some spread back to give Coach Braun options with moving Loper around to different spot. If there is anything I’ve learned over the last several years, it is to never doubt athletic director Rod Cole, head coach Nick Braun or anything related to Stephenville FAITH athletics.


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