One might think graduating Kody Spano and a couple other studs that Stephenville graduated heavy. In reality, although they do lose a lot of skill players, they return a lot of talent - especially on the offensive side of the ball. 11 starters return from the 10-2 squad last season. They will need to play tough for new head coach Joseph Gillespie. The district they are in may see Stephenville with 2 losses in district for the first time in recent memory.
Stephenville has had a good run of good quarterbacks. Coaches are high on new prospect Brad Picha. He has good arm strength and good leadership skills - but he doesn't have the size that some of the other quarterbacks have had. Brad Mills returns at running back - and they may be a little more ground based this year and pound out some big yards instead of going for the long bomb. Some new receivers will have to make an impact with Josh Graves and David Nolan. The offensive line will be slightly above average led by Josh Grantham.
There are some good stars on the defense. TR Varnado has been identified as a top player since he was a freshmen. As a junior, he still has significant varsity experience and should anchor the defensive line with Josh Emmons. Linebacker play may be a little bit down, but Colt Barkley and Hayden Whitely should do a pretty good job in the middle of the field. The secondary will need to have some player step up as they graduated big in this area. Chris Malone and Nate Brady will need to lead the team. Good things are being said about sophomore kicker Cristian Serrano as well.
Stephenville will be strong this year, but will they get past the second round? Can they get past Rider when it counts? Will they win the district? Everman has had Stephenville's number, and TexasPrepInsider.com is projecting big things out of Mansfield Timberview, so we look for a third place finish out of Stephenville, but it will still be a solid third place finish - they will be respectable in the two games. It will be weird not to see a game against Aledo with district significance, but Stephenville renews the rivalry with Brownwood - and that is good for the State of Texas!