Three weeks before hitting the field for the start of two-a-days, the Boyd Yellowjackets will try to bring home a state football title.
Boyd will be one of 64 Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools battling Thursday and Friday for the Division II title at the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 state championship at College Station.
Boyd will play three pool games Thursday beginning at 1 p.m. If the Yellowjackets are one of the top two teams in their four-team pool, they will advance to the championship round Friday. The bottom two teams from each pool will go to the consolation bracket.
The finals for the championship and consolation brackets will be at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field Friday at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. All other games will be played at Penberthy Field.
First-year starting quarterback Jared Cate will lead the Yellowjackets onto the field. He has high expectations for Boyd.
“My goal is to finish in the top 10 in the tournament,” Cate said. “I always dream big.”
The Yellowjackets are paired with Gatesville, Archer City and Edna in Pool B.
Boyd’s first game will be with Gatesville, who behind quarterback Jake Truss enters the tournament ranked No. 3 by the Old Coaches Network. Gatesville is ranked behind only Celina and Brownwood.
The website ranks Boyd 25th. Edna is 24th and Archer City 34th.
The Yellowjackets are hoping to use the tournament as a springboard. Boyd will enter the fall trying to replace eight offensive and seven defensive starters.
“We hope to build some team camaraderie,” Cate said. “If we do good, we can carry that into the season.”
Cate has to fill some of the biggest shoes, replacing two-year starter and District 9-2A MVP Tim Fleming at quarterback. Fleming threw for 967 yards and ran for 1,091, while accounting for 19 touchdowns on the way to leading the Yellowjackets to a district title.
Cate, who started on the junior varsity last year as a sophomore, came out firing in his first action for Boyd in the Wise County 7-on-7 league, completing 29 of his 45 attempts with nine touchdowns.
He dealt with some injuries over the summer, but led his team through the qualifier at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls last month.
Cate said the work in the season 7-on-7 league will be beneficial this fall.
“It’s helped me a ton, getting the timing down with the receivers and facing varsity defensive backs,” Cate said. “I’m getting used to my receivers.”
Wide receiver Junior Whatley, tight end Travis Williams and running back Colton Lyon will be Cate’s primary targets over the weekend. Williams caught seven passes for 123 yards last year in his first full season at tight end. Lyon had four catches to go along with his 643 rushing yards. Whatley caught one pass last year.
Boyd’s top two receivers from a year ago – Kyle Stearns and Edgar Lugo – graduated. The two caught 49 passes.