STARTING WITH THE BEST

in Football

Class 2A, DII Meridian Yellowjackets measure progress in first scrimmage by facing Class 2A, DI’s preseason 4th-ranked Crawford Pirates

MERIDIAN — Sometimes, the best way to find out exactly where you stand can be by lining up against the best. That’s exactly what the Class 2A, Division II Meridian Yellowjackets did last Friday evening.

With every new Texas high school football season comes new beginnings. August brings regenerated possibilities and boundless enthusiasm for the challenges that lie ahead. And it all starts taking shape with the first scrimmage.

Less than two weeks after taking the field for the first practice of the 2021 season, Bosque County teams lined up against opponents on the gridiron for some live action and evaluation last Thursday and Friday nights.

Wasting no time in finding out where they need to go to stack up against the best, the Yellowjackets hosted the 2020 Class 2A, DI state semifinalist Crawford Pirates in their first scrimmage at Jacket Stadium Friday evening.

“We were able to move the ball, and we were very pleased with the players effort,” Meridian football head coach Wade Morton said. “We were pleased with the players’ effort and sense of urgency.”

After advancing to the Class 2A, Division I state semifinals in 2020, the Crawford Pirates enter the season as the fourth-ranked team in the state with six offensive and six defensive starters returning. Led by a strong group of offensive skill position players and a stout defense loaded with returning linebacking and secondary units, the Pirates will be a force to reckon with.

Consequently, the Jackets found that out from the first snap. Going into Morton’s third season at the helm in Meridian, the Jackets remain a work-in-progress while showing steady improvement over the last two years. Fielding a young, but experienced squad, Meridian’s effort against the Pirates reflected exactly that, improving as the scrimmage went along.

With their first scrimmage under their belt, the Jackets go back to work getting prepared for the 2021 Texas high school football regular season as Meridian hits the road to face the Italy Gladiators in their final tune up at 6 p.m. Thursday in Jacket Stadium. As Class 2A, DI’s 20th-ranked team in the preseason polls, Italy has been picked to repeat as District 8-2A, DI champions after rolling through the league undefeated in 2020.

“It’s great to be able to have two scrimmages again,” said Morton after being limited to only one scrimmage before the 2020 season due to Covid protocols. “We’re looking forward to some drastic improvement this week traveling to Italy.”

After facing the Gladiators in the gridiron arena, the Jackets will turn their attention to their season opener Aug. 27 when Meridian hosts the Kerens Bobcats on Parent Night at Jacket Stadium. But first, the Jackets still have some work to do.

“We were able to see some players in different positions and will be moving some guys around this week to put them in the best position to be successful,” Morton said. “Our focus this week is to be more physical.”

Photos by WENDY OROZCO

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