By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
August 3, 2020
Stephenville’s football season is underway as the Yellow Jackets prepare for a murderous schedule that includes three top ten teams and a total of six top 20 squads. Second-year Head Coach Sterling Doty doesn’t have a football schedule as much as he has a series of battles outlining the “War of 2020”.
The roadmap toward a state title will include Stephenville, but whether Jackets are driving their way through the state playoffs or if they are a speed bump along the way has yet to be determined. One thing for sure is the Jackets won’t lack manpower with 185 players on the roster and practices being broken down for varsity, JV, and sophomores in the morning and freshmen players reporting in the afternoon.
Monday morning about 100 fans greeted the 2020 edition of the Stephenville Yellow Jackets, who were up with the sun and on the practice field at 7 a.m. sharp.
With COVID-19 causing the UIL to trigger later starts for 5-A and 6-A football, many 4-A schools had to revamp their schedules. The Yellow Jackets now have dates against Dumas (at Lubbock Cooper Sept. 24). Lampasas replaces Everman September 4, and the Jackets homecoming opponent (October 23) is Waxahachie Life.
Doty often adopts a field-general style of overseeing certain portions of practice, and Monday, he hovered about the groups of players. Coach positioned himself at a distance designed to overhear what was being said while not being a distraction to what was being taught by his assistants.
“I’m looking at our personnel coaching and checking our efficiency when I’m out there like that,” Doty said. “I want to see how fast we are getting in and out of our stations and making sure we utilize all of our time.”
The Jackets don’t have any time to waste, and with only one scrimmage scheduled this year, they also can’t afford to cut corners or miss out on opportunities.
“I’m going to be more involved when we are working on offense, but when we are in something like special teams like we are now, I will float around,” Doty said. “Special teams can be a phase of the game that gets overlooked. I think moving around like this gives me more looks at what can make us better.”
It’s also essential in Doty’s mind that he gets around so he can build a strong rapport with his younger players and so they will know, Coach is always watching.
“We are blessed. Stephenville is a great place to be, and we’ve got this great weather on our first day,” Doty said. “Things are a little different with the facemasks and all the health checks we are doing. It’s going to be fun using our whistles.”
Stephenville’s annual Blue and Gold scrimmage is slated for Saturday, August 15 at 10 a.m., and the Jackets will scrimmage against Glen Rose at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20 at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium.