The Glen Rose football team’s first scrimmage was against one of the state’s top-rated Class 4A Division I squads, and coach Cliff Watkins’ Tigers will face one of the top Division II units Thursday.
The first scrimmage was last Friday at Memorial Stadium in Stephenville against the Yellow Jackets, a team that reached the Class 4A Division I state semifinals last season.
The two teams scored one offensive touchdown apiece, and a Stephenville defender intercepted a pass and returned it for what would also have been a touchdown in a non-scrimmage scenario.
The Tigers will have their second and final scrimmage this Thursday, Aug. 23, at home against Graham. The Steers were 14-1 last season when they reached the Class 4A Division II state semifinals. However, the Steers suffered a big graduation hit in May — losing 27 seniors.
One key offensive performer is back for Graham, however, in senior running back Chase Gilmore. He scored 31 touchdowns and rushed for almost 2,000 yards as a junior in 2017.
The Tigers will open the regular season at home against Grandview on Friday, Aug. 31 (7:30 p.m.).
Stephenville’s Yellow Jackets were rated as the No. 3 team in the state for Class 4A Division I by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine. They are the favorite to win the District 5-4A Division I title.
Glen Rose is also highly regarded entering the 2018 season. The Tigers were picked by the magazine’s 15th-best Class 4A Division II squad. They are the favorite to win the District 4-4A title. Watkins is seeking his third consecutive district crown in as many seasons as the Tigers’ head coach.
The Tigers struck first against Stephenville, when quarterback Cam Griffin connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jess Niedziela.
The Yellow Jackets responded with a TD pass from about 60 yards out, when tight end Zane Walker caught a pass from quarterback Cole Stanley.
But later in the scrimmage, Glen Rose’s defense had a surge against the Yellow Jackets’ dangerous offense.
“At the end, our defense stepped up and was playing really well,” Watkins said. “Our guys have got to find a way to energy at the start of a game.
“I liked our effort. I told them they did a lot of good things. I told them Stephenville is a really good team, and we’ve got a good team. I’m happy with some of the things I saw. I was proud of our effort.”
Watkins added that he was happy to see that there were no injuries on either side.