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Football: Tradition-rich programs Argyle, Stephenville meet for first time

ARGYLE -- It's hard to believe No. 3 Argyle and Stephenville have never met.

Both programs have played in Class 3A or Class 4A, have similar styles of play and are rich in their tradition of winning. Between the two, they've won six state championships since 1993, and they finally have the chance to line up across from each other in the 4A playoffs at Mansfield's Vernon Newsom Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday.

"As a coach beginning my career in the late 1980s, early '90s, you knew what type of team Stephenville was," Argyle coach Todd Rodgers said. "It's a storied program in my mind. From coach [Art] Briles winning several state championships and then Chad Morris winning a state championship [in 2012], when it comes to success in Texas high school football it's a very tradition-rich program. I hold Stephenville's program in high regard."

The Yellow Jackets are averaging 41 points per game while surrendering only 19. Argyle posts similar stats, scoring an average of 52 points while its defense gives up 14 points per contest.

Argyle junior linebacker Chase Petter said he understands the Yellow Jackets' offense and is ready for the challenge.

"It's a great challenge," Petter said. "They've won five state championships over the course of their history. I think it'll be fun to play against a historic team in that sense. They have a really good offense with a good running back, quarterback and some quick receivers. It'll be a challenge we're up for."

As the offenses go, they couldn't be more similar. Both the Eagles and Yellow Jackets had seven or more different players score touchdowns in their respective wins over Levelland and Pampa last week.

Personnel-wise, each uses a tight end, which is rare in today's high school football. Both use two running backs who run between the tackles well, and utilize the play-action pass to move the sticks.

"It's unique to the situation that we both use a tight end," Rodgers said. "We use our tight end a little different than they use their tight end. They have a great pair of running backs like we do, a good quarterback like we do and some receivers who can stretch the field similar to what we do.

"Both offenses have plenty of weapons to score. We're going to do what we do defensively, and I think the team that can make the necessary adjustments and execute those changes will win the game."

Argyle senior running back Don Williams agreed with his coach.

"We're both going to be swinging from the opening kick, so we know we have to be on our 'A' game," Williams said. "It'll come down to what we'll have to adjust within the first five minutes.

"If we shock them from the start and play like we know how, we'll win."

JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 817-781-0379 and via Twitter at @Jimmy_Isbell12.

What You Need to Know

Matchup: Stephenville vs. Argyle

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Mansfield's Vernon Newsom Stadium

Predictions: 

Jimmy Isbell -- Argyle 42, Stephenville 28

Steve Gamel -- Argyle 50, Stephenville 21

Brady Keane -- Argyle 38, Stephenville 24

Clay Massey -- Argyle 42, Stephenville 31