Jackets Take Down Lulling for Homecoming

The 10th ranked 3A Div.1 Llano Yellow Jackets took care of business at one of the largest gatherings for a Homecoming Game Friday night by the score of 51-12 at Jacket Stadium. It was the 17th straight win at Jacket Stadium, going back to 2019. Llano now stands 2-0 in District 13 play, with the stronger side of the district play coming up. Llano travels to the 5-1 Randolph this week, playing in San Antonio.

The defense allowed Lulling only 174 yards Friday night. Four big plays by the Eagles neted 132 yards, and two touchdowns. The other 33 plays neted only 47 total yards. The Jackets forced Lulling to punt 7 times, and Llano recovered one fumble. Seniors Jaxon Rhea and Cole Franklin each caused a fumble. 19 Jackets were in on tackles, with senior Hayden Manahan leading the defense with 15. Brock Fly and Fitz Kennedy each had 6. Jaxon had 7 and Cole had 8 stops. Seniors Bryce Mize, Brock and Kyle Gilliland each had a quarterback sack. Especially strong play came from linebacker Ricky De La Torre, Luke Turner and secondary players Caden Bauman, Isaiah Bush and junior Braeden Hatfield. The defense this year is allowing less than 15 points per game.

The Jackets will be tested this week against Randolph. The Ro-Hawks are 5-1 and 1-1 in District play. Big night for the Llano offense. Junior quarterback Briggs Green was 16 of 24 passing, for 259 yards, his best night passing. His favorite target this week was Jackson Dillard, who had 6 catches for 125 yards and 4 TD catches, a school record. 7 Players caught passes. Carson Kuykendall played his usual great game, running for 115 yards on 15 carries. Carson only had one carry in the second half as Llano had a 30-6 lead. Seniors Miguel Hernandez and Remington Hipp ran very strong, as did junior Dusty Miller, when he was not playing tough on defense.

Players that have come on so strong this season are Ulisses Martinez, Isaiah Bush and Charlie White. All so quick, and few times does a receiver get behind them. Really top in players.

The offensive line has gotten better each week. Mistakes are fewer, and blocking has been dominating. Senior center Jaxon Lange is making a name for himself, in a long line of past greats that have played the center position. Three year starter Ross Edwards mauls players every Friday night. Tremendous talent. Senior Hudson Godfrey improves each week, along with his duties on defense. Senior Brannen Green is only 1/2 step behind his other teammates, and seems to be catching up with each snap. And then its nice to know juniors Dylan Green , Donaven Rodriguez, Frank Machuga, Hunter Brown and J.J. Vaughn are all playing at a top level and will return next year.

Want to point out great play of senior Daniel Sandoval.. So steady every week in the offensive line. And just as strong on defense. Just a very smart and consistant player. Can say the same about senior Russell Nelson. Plays hard every play. These players not taking plays off is why the Jacket of 2022 may be very special.

Again see tremendous blocking effort down field, none better than senior Coy Kelso, along with being one of the best possession receivers on the team. Parker Parish, a junior does the same. And loved seeing senior Sam Sultenfuss catching an 18 yard TD pass from Briggs. Alex Kachura and Ross Prokop are not always measured in the stats but are so good at so many little things. Trying to watch each of these players make this team so much fun to watch, or try to watch.

The 6-0 Jackets travel to San Antonio Friday night to play a good Randolph team. The strong running attack of the Ro hawks will be a test for our veteran team. Senior running back Colton Howard had over 1,300 yards last season and was the District MVP with 16 touchdowns. 8 starting players from last season offense return from this 6-5 team of last season and they expect to beat Llano. This will be no Cole. The Ro Hawks took Blanco to the mat before losing 10-7 last Friday night. Expect Randolph to be hot out the gate and be ready for the Jackets. Llano also, will be ready. This is the time of the year that every player takes the responsibility on his own, to be better, and to get better. Llano by 14.

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Jackets Take First District Win 59-0

The 5-0 Llano Yellow Jackets secured the first district contest Friday night by beating San Antonio Cole by the score of 59-0. The Jackets started slow, but after leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Llano scored on three possessions in the second quarter. to lead 28-0.

It was the Jackets first shut-out this season. For reference, Llano had two shut-outs in 2020, and two in 2021. The Jackets held Cole to less than 100 yards of offense. Llano had 405 yards rushing, another 182 yards passing for 587 yards of offense.

Senior running back Carson Kuykendall had 5 rushing TDs, to equal his production against Jerrell. Senior Miguel Hernandez had a TD on 109 yards rushing. Senior Remington Hipp had 84 yards on only 7 carries. And Junior quarterback Briggs Green had 41 yards on 8 carries. The Jacket offensive line dominated the Cole defense. Senior Brennen Green, and junior Donaven Rodriguez both had great nights blocking.

Briggs had a good night passing, hitting 11 of 16 passes to 6 different receivers and 182 yards. Senior Ross Prokop had 2 catches for 17 yards. Sam Sueltenfuss had one catch for 37 yards, and Jackson Dillard had three catches for 65 yards. Junior wide out Alex Kachura also had two catches. Carson had 2 catches, but the crowd roared when senior Coy Kelso caught his first TD of the season for 19 yards.

The shut out was significant. I think it really gives the defense a strong feeling of confidence. Defensive coordinator Matt Anastasio has brought an attitude to the Jacket defense. And to try and paraphrase, defense is 50% physical and 90% mental!! The attitude is just like what happened on the first play of the second half. Cole ran a play from its own 25 yard line. Junior safety Braeden Hatfield not only was on the line of scrimmage for the tackle, but stripped the ball from the ball carrier and scored for Llano. The Jackets had two interceptions. Junior Charlie White and senior Ulisses Martinez each took one from Cole.

Famous radio broadcaster Art Dlugach pointed out that Llano has 11 interceptions on the young season…asking what is the school record for the season? Good question…and one category I’ve not kept. I’ll put that down also, as something to do in the off season. But interceptions to me, are a mental thing. You have to coach players in believing that every pass in the air…belongs to them. Our secondary lead by Ulisses with three, Caden Bauman with 2, Charlie with 2, followed by Isaiah Bush, Fitz Kennedy and Braeden in the secondary will make things tough on any quarterback….but Coach Anastasio has set the tone. Those balls in the air…belong to us!

Such great effort on special teams has made life easier for everyone. Players like Russell Nelson, Cole Franklin and Remington give it 100% on every punt and kick-off. Junior Jackson Hoot goes down hard on kick offs. Luke Turner is another that flat out gets down field. Special effort from players that see little reward.

Llano kicked off deep this week against Cole. Sure like that better than the kicks where we force a fair catch. Not much good at keeping which is better for field position. I guess I’ll know when someone runs a kick off back on us.

Senior Bryce Mize has been spectacular playing in the defensive line, along with three year starter Jaxon Rhea and Parker Parrish. Those three have been crushing offensive lines. Junior Frank Machuga had a great night against Cole. Kyle Gilliand coming off injury is playing strong. JJ Vaughn and Cole Franklin had many stops. Junior Hunter Brown had a very good game. And our linebackers of Ricky De La Torre, Fitz Kennedy, Brock Fly and Hayden Manahan are unmatched. Dusty Miller and Alex are also playing tough on defense. Loved that shut out.

At the end of the 2nd quarter, Ulisses intercepted and Llano got the ball on the Jacket 5 yard line. The Jackets scored in 5 plays. 95 yards. 14 yard run by Briggs. Passes to Ross and Jackson Dillard, and two runs of 48 yards by Carson. A great block by Dillard A Mize extra point made it 28-0. Mize was 8 of 8 on extra points plus his 34 yard field goal in the third quarter gave him 11 points for the night.

Homecoming is this week in Jacket Stadium. Lulling comes in with a nice 3-2 record. Expect a fiesty team with “upset” in mind. Llano has never lost to Lulling. Llano can finish out September with a 6-0 record. Llano by 30.

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4-0 Jackets in New District Race

The Llano Yellowjackets took on West Texas 2A power Coleman Friday night and dismantled the Bluecats by a score of 31-6. Ranked # 5 in the Harris Poll, and #6 in the Max Prep poll Coleman traveled the road to Jacket Stadium expecting a different outcome. Coleman’s outstanding quarterback Jadin Jackson met a very determinded Jacket defense that played its best game to date. Lead by linebackers Hayden Manahan, Ricky de la Torre and Brock Fly, Llano held the high powered offense to less than 250 total yards. The Jacket defensive line of senior Jaxon Rhea, Bryce Mize, Kyle Gilland were just outstanding. And Llano’s secondary is trying hard to be as menacing as the 2020 secondary. Isaiah Bush, Braeden Hatfield, Ulisses Martinez along with veteran Caden Bauman makes any quarterbacks night long. Braeden, Isaiah and Caden each have two interceptions for the 4 game season.

Linebacker Fitz Kennedy had another great night, leading the team with 4 sacs for the season. Hayden and Ricky each have three. Defensive back Charlie White, a junior is having a strong season. Senior linebacker Luke Turner keeps making big plays and had a tackle for a loss to end Coleman’s last offensive effort. That was followed by Caden’s second interception of the season.

The Jacket offense is averaging 347 yards rushing per game, and 165 yards passing per game. Having played two 4A schools, a 5A school, and a high ranked 2A school, the Jackets now go into unknown territory. A district with 3 teams from the San Antonio area. Llano has never played any of these schools.

You can trust this offense. Lead by senior Carson Kuykendall with over 150 yards per game, and Miguel Hernandez with over 97 yards per game, plus great backup players in Dusty Miller and Remington Hipp. Dusty had 99 yards rushing last week against Austin Crockett. Junior quarterback Briggs Green had his best game throwing against Coleman. 12 of 24 for 255 yards and two TD passes. One to senior Sam Sueltenfuss on a 56 yard pass, and the second to Jackson Dillard. Senior Ross Prokop had two catches for 74 yards. Coy Kelso had a catch, as did Miguel. Both Coy and Miguel are considered two of the best blockers on the team.

The offensive line has been outstanding. Lead by three year starters, Ross Edawrds, Daniel Sandoval and Hudson Godfrey….and senior Jaxon Lange takes a back seat to no one at center. Junior Dylan Kennedy gets better every game. Brannen Green, a senior is a very good backup lineman, as is big Donaven Rodriguez. Donaven, a junior, has also started reliefing on the defensive line, is a force in the middle on defense with Bryce Mize. Blocking by junior Parker Parrish has been invaluable. Gavin Anderson too can block, and gives super effort on every play. I’ve watched, and as Carson or Miguel break the line of scrimmage, you see them looking for Coy, and Parker, Gavin and Alex Kachura downfield so they can break off their block. A great team effort. You don’t average over 500 yards of offense if not all 11 players are giving 100% effort.

New District: 13-3AAA, Div. 1- SA Randolph is 4-0. Marion, Lulling, and Ingram are all 3-1. High ranked Blanco is 2-2. The Jackets play SA Cole in San Antonio Friday night. With 7 teams in the district, the four playoff teams are up for grabs. Every team thinks it can be a playoff team. Most every team will up their effort. Especially against the Jackets.

The Jackets on the other hand have expectations. Having won the District Championship the last two years and Llano goes for #3. The Jackets have never won three district championships in a row. Many of Llano’s 27 seniors are playing on the varsity for their third year. They are 25-4 over the past 29 games.

A super congratulatory goes the Head Coach Matt Green, with his 44th win as Yellowjacket head coach. Coach Green takes little credit as the winningest Coach in school history, without mentioning what he considers and many consider, the best staff ever. Defensive Coordinator Matt Anastasio, offensive coordinator Ryan Priem, special teams coach Robbie Coplin, along with Richard Kattner, Neville Triplett, Joe Downey, Todd Doucet, Beau Burnet and Joe Kennedy. Thank you all.

The first win in District play may be considered the most important. Llano’s pre-season games have gotten them ready for a play-off run and these 6 district games. But it all beings Friday night in San Antonio. Llano by 25 against Cole.

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Jackets Romp on 5 A Crockett

The Llano Yellowjackets played the 5A Crockett Cougars Friday night in iconic House Park in Austin, and came away with a solid 57-13 win. The victory puts the Jackets at 3-0 for the season, and sets up a major battle this week with #5 ranked Coleman to be played in Llano’s Jacket Stadium.

The win at House Park was a complete team win, as 7 players caught passes from junior quarterback Briggs Green. 8 different Jackets ran the football, and 20 Yellowjackets were in on tackles. Junior Fitz Kennedy likely had his best game as a Yellowjacket, intercepting a pass, getting a SAC, getting in on 7 tackles with a fumble recovery. Senior linebacker Luke Turner also was in on 7 tackles. Junior Dusty Miller followed that up with 6 tackles. And senior Isaiah Bush had 5 tackles as well as an interception. Junior Braeden Hatfield had two interceptions, tying him with Ulisses Martinez for the Jacket lead for the young season. Junior Charlie White also got his first interception as a varsity player. Junior Frank Machuga got his first QB SAC as a varsity player. Senior linebacker Russell Nelson also had a fumble recovery. This was the best Llano has played this season on defense. They will need that and more this week against the high ranked Coleman BlueCats

The Jacket offense also shined. Carson, Miguel and Briggs did their thing. But there were plenty of helpers Friday night as Dusty Miller got a rushing touchdown and lead all ball carriers with 9 carries and 99 yards. Senior Remington Hipp carried 9 times for 63 yards. The Jackets had 358 yards rushing by the 8 all carriers.

Briggs was 14 of 16 passing, connecting with 7 different receivers. Jackson Dillard caught three passes for touchdowns. Junior Parker Parrish also had three catches. Senior Coy Kelson had several key catches as well as blocked downfield like few others. A very strong game. Briggs’ 5 TD passes ties a school record in a single game. The Jacket offense is averaging over 500 yards per game. One special note is that senior receiver senior Sam Sueltenfuss played in his first game this season, catching a TD pass in the second quarter. Blocking was at its best. Getting action and playing very good were lineman Hunter Brown, Frank Machuga, Donaven Rodriguez, Brannen Green, Aiden Smith, junior J.J. Vaughn and always reliable end Cole Franklin, on both sides of the ball.

The Jackets take on the Coleman Bluecats this week. Coleman has won 20 games over the past 2 plus seasons. According to Texas Football, Coleman has 7 and 8 starters back from their 11-1 team. They beat Brady this past week and beat Ballinger 48-0. This will be no Austin Crockett. The Jackets will need to play their best game. But improving every week has always been the plan.

Llano takes a 12 game winning streak when playing in Jacket Stadium.

Coach Matt Green has won 43 times as Llano head football coach, placing him in a tie for most wins by a Llano Coach.

The season gets tougher, none tougher than Coleman. But this past week, Ingram, Lulling, Blanco, and Randolph all won. So did the tough Jarrell team from week one.

Jackets improved. Only about 65 yards in penalties against Crockett. Very important step forward. Jackets take Bluecats by 12.

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Recording the History of the Llano Yellowjackets for 50 Years

Jackets Dump the Burnet Bulldogs

For the Llano Yellowjackets to beat the Burnet Bulldogs Friday night was such a relief to many that this game became like a special moment. Head football Coach Matt Green said it best in his interview with sports legend Art Dlugach after the game. “This game was like the San Saba game in 2020.” A defining moment. Winning against an equal team. Winning when maybe you did not play your best game. And finding it at the end to see a path to victory. The 29-21 win by the Jackets was special.

Llano extended its win streak at Jacket Stadium to 12 games.

LLano improves to 2-0.

The Jacket offense, for the second week in a row had over 560 yards of offense (568).

The Llano Yellowjackets began the game with a very smart 6 play, 75 yard drive that saw 4 first downs. Senior Carson Kuykendall carrying the ball 3 times for 22 yards, senior Miguel Hernandez for 14 more, and a reverse run by Jackson Dillard for 11 more. Then junior quarterback Briggs Green found senior Ross Prokop for the 26 yard TD reception. Senior Bryce Mize completed the perfect series with his 7th straight extra point and a Llano 7-0 lead.

We knew this wasn’t going to be easy when on the second play from scrimmage, the Bulldogs struck for a 53 yard TD strike, tying the score.

An exchange of punts and Llano again combined with Green and Ross. A 52 yard TD reception and Llano lead 13-7. The Jacket defense again stopped Burnet. Strong play came from senior linebacker Ricky De La Torre. Senior defensive end Jaxon Rhea and lineman Bryce Mize were so strong in the line. Senior Isaiah Bush was all over the field, and senior linebacker Hayden Manahan was in on 3 tackles in a row. Junior Fitz Kennedy and Ulisses Martinez made several outstanding plays.

Llano, on the third play of the second quarter, scored from 22 yards out when Miguel Hernandez darted into the end zone. Good blocks by Coy Kelso, and Parker Parrish cleared the way. The 20-7 score felt safe of a moment. But on the Bulldogs next series, 7 plays later and in the end zone and 2 points on the end put the score at 20-15. This was concerning. Llano had now committed 40 yards in penalties.

Llano put the offense back on the field. Briggs, Carson, Miguel, Jackson and junior Alex Kachura all contributed to the 11 play drive, down to the 7 yard line, where Bryce came in and kicked the 24 yard field goal and Llano was ahead 23-15. On the next series, senior Brock Fly, Ricky, junior Braeden Hatfield and junior Charlie White combined to stop Burnet again. Burnet punted. Llano, starting from their 15 yard line drove 73 yards, but were unable to extend the lead when Bryce missed his first FG of the season.

When Llano kicked off to Burnet in the third quarter, few would have expected Burnet to put together an 11 paly drive that resulted in a 30 play pass to connect for the TD and the score was now 23-21! Burnet had gone to their passing game, and it worked.

After the Jackets were unable to move the ball, Dillard punted for a 50 yard kick. On the second play, senior Caden Bauman intercepted for Llano and Llano had the ball on the 40 yard line. Miguel ran three times for 28 yards, Carson three times for 13 more, and Briggs for 10 more. Carson’s one yard TD run put the Jackets up 29-21. That was the end of the scoring, but not the end of the game.

Llano put together an 11 play drive, but with fourth and long, Briggs threw his first interception of the season. Starting from their 25 yard line, Burnet was on the March. It started to rain.

Burnet ran the football with large gains of 16 and 29 yard runs by senior running back Jose Rodriguez. The Jacket defense had been ready to play the pass as with their previous success. Rushers from Llano, senior Kyle Gilliland, Jaxon , senior Parker Parrish and Bryce were pushing up field, and the swift Rodriguez zipped right by. Yet, when Burnet drove down to the 9 yard line, they threw the football four straight times. The Jacket defenders, of Bauman, Hatfield, Bush, Hayden, Ricky, and senior Ulisses Martinez ( 2 interceptions in two games) and junior linebacker Fitz Kennedy played like they were coached. Thank goodness Burnet forgot about Rodriguez. The Jackets held, and won the game.

The Jacket’s big 5, the offensive lineman of seniors Jaxon Lange, Ross Edwards, Hudson Godfrey, and Daniel Sandoval, and junior Dylan Kennedy are playing as good as a unit can play, and they will get better, and more polished. These 5 lineman do stir the drink. Yoemans effort.

The Jackets play in House Park Friday night against a 5 A school that has over 1,600 folks in high school. Austin Crockett was picked to lose by 21 points last week to Bastrop Cedar Creek. Crockett won by 16. The Cougars have 19 starters back from last season. This will be the Jackets biggest test. Crockett will play their best game against Llano. Llano beating the 5 A school last year 37-7 was humiliating to the Cougars. The Cougars will not be surprised this year. The Jackets will have to play their best game. Running, passing, blocking, tackeling. Oh, and those penalties. 200 yards against Burnet maybe a school record, although thank goodness, that is one stat I do not keep. 200 yards in penalties against the Cougars, and Llano might lose by 30 points. But Jackets prevail in their first game ever in the storied, House Park. Llano by 6.

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Recording the History of the Llano Yellowjackets for 50 Years

Jackets Win Season Opener 48-26

The Llano Yellowjackets took a bus trip to Jarrell, Texas and brought home a needed opening game win with a very good 48-26 score. The Jackets scored first, they scored last and ran up an impressive 572 yards of offense, third most in the LHS record book.

The Jackets scored on the second play of the game when senior Carson Kuykendall went straight up the middle for 48 yards and the first score of the game, and the first of five rushing TDs’ for Carson. The 30 points by Carson ties for second place in the school record book for most points in a game.

Miguel Hernandez had 149 yards rushing on 17 carries and an 8.7 yards per carry in the game. Senior quarterback Briggs Green carried for 59 yards on 12 carries. With Carson’s 225 yards, the three Jackets had 433 yards rushing, #3 all-time best for three backs in one game. Senior Remington Hipp added 33 more yards on his 8 carries. It was a great opening game for the Jacket running backs.

But…the accolades might want to remember the offensive line. This group of four seniors and one junior took it to the Cougar defensive line. Seniors Ross Edwards, Hudson Godfrey, Daniel Sandoval, and center Jaxon Lange played great in their first game of their senior year. Junior Dylan Kennedy takes a back seat to no one. Keep these five healthy, and Carson, Miguel, Briggs, and Remington will have a fun season. Other lineman will be stepping forward, and learning. The offensive line has made a statement. They will be a load for anyone coming forward.

Briggs was 7 for 12 passing and 127 yards. Senior Ross Prokop lead receivers with 3 catches and 67 yards, his longest reception being 36 yards. Jackson Dillard had a catch for 25 yards, and junior Parker Parish had a catch for 28 yards. Miguel had a catch for 7 yards. Again…good pass blocking by the offensive line, along with good blocking by the backs, Parker, and senior Coy Kelso.

Last season I spoke with then junior Bryce Mize. He looked thin and malnourished. Friday night, was a different Bryce. First of all, he kicked 6 straight extra points, which ties for third best single game on extra points. Then he kicked two field goals! 12 points for the game. Bryce plays in the defensive line…not sure what they call that position today, but he is down in the trenches. Long, but very good night for Bryce.

In one sense, the defense had a long night. No one expected the Jackets to give up 26 points. But no one knew about # 5 for the Cougars. Jacques Spradley, a junior, maybe the fastest player I have seen in a very long time line up against Llano. In the Cougars second possession, senior quarterback Andrew Knebel hit Spradley for a quick 65 yard strike and their first score. In the second quarter, Knebel found Spradley again for a 79 yard score! And in the fourth quarter…yep again…Knebel to Spradley for 69 more yards. Take out those three plays, and my records show only 90 other yards by the Cougars.

The Jackets had 7 sacs. Senior Ricky Dela Torre had three, as did junior Fitz Kennedy. Senior Hayden Manahan had one, along with 4 solo tackles. Isaiah Bush had a very strong night being in on 6 tackles. Jaxon Rhea put tremendous pressure on the quarterback all night long, and had many near sacs on Knebel. Cole Franklin had two solo tackles. Junior Braeden Hatfield from his safety position had 3 solo tackles. Juniors Dusty Miller and Charlie White played hard and were in good position all night long. Seniors Brock Fly, Caden Bauman and Ulisses Martinez had good nights. Ulisses had the lone Jacket interception and his first as a varsity player.

Let us say out of 39 plays run by the Cougars, four were not good. This defense is going to be very good. And it will need to be, to beat a Burnet team that comes to Llano with a 13 game winning streak against the Jackets, and not one of these players on either side were born when Llano last beat Burnet. 1999.

In 1997 the Bradley Kassell team went 11-1 losing to Cuero in the area game 14-13. Kassell, at quarterback and defensive back, Billy Bickett in the secondary, and Daniel Benedict in the offensive line all were second team all state players. That season Llano shut-out Burnet 24-0.

In 1998, Llano beat Burnet 29-19. They also beat Liberty Hill 50-0, and Jason Freeman had 170 yards rushing on 30 carries. Zach Vassar was quarterback, and Cummings Smith, Aaron Rode and Justin Methvin carried that team to a 6-6 record. Llano lost to Industrial 19-16 in overtime in the playoffs.

The Jackets 1999 team lost to Burnet to start a long up hill battle. The 1999 team lost by a score of 13-17. Llano beat Wimberley and Liberty Hill that season, but lost to eventual State Champion Sealy. The Jacket finished 8-4 in 1999.

There have been some good games, but never the Jackets winning. And scores like 70-20, 35-0, 49-0, and 64-32 have made the rivalry tough to stomach. One positive note. Under Coach Karl McCormack in 2001, the Coach moved three sophomores (Michael White, Jerrod Virdell & Jose Aviles) up to the varsity to play in the secondary to try and stop the fantastic duo of Jordan Shipley and quarterback Steven McGee. Shipley caught one pass that night, but Llano lost 27-0. (Coach McCormack was fired after that season) In 2006, Llano lost to Burnet, but beat Kerrville Tivy.

It has been interesting. Llano has played Burnet more times than any other team in history. We maintain a 3 game edge over-all in wins. (39-36-2) The Jackets carry an 11 game winning streak on their home field in Jacket Stadium…This Friday, we extend the streak to 12, with a three point win that resets the clock against the Bulldogs.

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PLAY TO WIN by Mikel Virdell

Recording the History of the Llano Yellowjackets for 50 years

Few Yellowjackets football seasons have been approached with so much anticipation as this 2022 season. Over the past two seasons there have been distractions. Cancelled games in both seasons of 2020, and 2021. Worry over CIVID…injuries…but no excuses…the Jackets have won 21 games over the past two years. The most ever. The Jackets in 1994-95 seasons won 19, and again the 1996-97 teams won 19. That 4 year span saw the Jackets win 38 games. The Yellowjackets have won 35 games over the past 4 years under Head Coach Matt Green.

Coach Green has won 40 games in his five years as head Coach. Only David Yeager in 7 seasons from 2005 to 2011 has won more, 43. Only Ken Gray in three seasons, 1973-75 has a higher winning percentage than Green….691% to Greens’ .667%.

The Yellowjackets have won District Championships the last two seasons. Llano has never won three outright District Championships in a row, although they were able to go three years with co-championships! This senior class has goals, and do not think that the District Championship in 2022 is not at the top of the list.

By my last count, the Jackets have 27 seniors. The most ever. Former Llano Yellowjacket Kevin Kelso told me that his senior class had 23. A typical season is 16-18 seniors. Way back in 1967, the Jackets had 18 seniors, and that team went 8-2, losing only to Del Valle (10-0) and Brady(10-0). Can’t find anywhere when the number was over 16 that Llano did not have a winning record.

The Yellowjackets have an 11 game home winning streak. The Jackets play in Jacket Stadium against Burnet September 2. Llano has not beaten Burnet in 21 years.

And so the Week 0 is here. And Llano plays Jarrell, a team the Jackets have never played before. Jarrell is in District 13-4A D11, along with Lago Vista, Wimberley and Geronimo Navarro. The Cougars will be getting ready for a tough district fight and hope to feast on the Jackets. Llano knows how if feels to lose the opening game of the season, and it takes time to recover from an opening lose. Last season the opening lost to Gatesville took the air from Llano and it took time to gets its bearing before Llano recovered to go on and win District.

The 4A Cougars will have expectations, and that beating Llano Friday night should be a good start for their season. We play at 7:30PM in Jarrell. The Jackets also have expectations. That being to win against a larger foe, on the road, in the season opener. That makes for a short ride home.

Yellowjackets by 21.

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2022 Football Schedule

Team/Foe Date Location Historic Record 2021 Record

Jarrell Aug. 26 Away Never Played

Burnet Sept. 2 Llano 39-36-2

Austin Crockett Sept. 9 Away 1-0

Coleman Sept. 16 Llano 3-4 11-2

S.A. Cole (D) Sept. 23 Away Never Played

Lulling (D) Sept. 30 Llano 5-0

S.A. Randolph (D) Oct. 7 Away Never Played

Marion (D) Oct. 14 Llano 2-0

Blanco (D) Oct. 21 Away 5-2

Oct. 28 BYE WEEK

Ingram Moore (D) Nov. 4 LLano 13-3

(D) Denotes District 13-3A Div. 1 Game

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A Few Observations on 2021 Season

Lago Vista wins again, and beat a very good Edna team. Edna was ranked in top ten most of the season. Lago plays Industrial out of the same District this Friday night. Both teams came in 2nd place in their respective Districts. Llano beat Lago 13-10 in District play. Would love to see the Vikings win another game. They have been one tough game every time Llano has played them. Yet the Jackets have won the last 3.

Fredericksburg too goes to round 3. I bet it has been 30 years since the Billies have been this far. Congratulations Big Red. Play Saturday in the Alamo Dome against LBJ, ranked number one in 3-A.

All District teams will be announced in week following the last team that gets beat from District play. Jackets should do very well. Will publish results as soon as we can, here.

Worry is how realignment will come down this February. Llano should stay in 3-A. We hear Lago may go up to 4-A. Yeks….could end up in Jackets old District with Navarro, and Wimberley. If the District were to lose Lago, Jackets might be pushed further South into area of San Antonio and a completely new District. Hondo, SA Cole, Randolph, Ingram all could be in the mix.

When the All District team is announced, I will comment more on the 2021 seniors. 21 wins in two seasons by these guys. Very special.

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2021 Yellowjackets Finish at 8-3

The Llano Yellowjackets fell to San Diego in the Area game last Friday night at Matador Stadium in Seguin. The final score of 35-27 reflects a close game, but with the Jackets taking the lead only once, when the Jackets went ahead 21-20 with 7:38 in the fourth quarter after a Jackson Dillard interception and an unbelievable return to the end zone where nearly every San Diego player had an opportunity to stop Jackson, but to no avail.

I have been keeping statistics for 49 years. I have never seen stats like this game.

Let’s walk thru a few numbers:

Llano kicked off to San Diego where the Vaqueros marched 61 yards in 13 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. San Diego kicked to Llano’s Sam Sueltenfuss who headed up field and then to the sidelines, where he was crushed to the ground with a dislocated elbow, and lost the football. The Vaqueros traveled the short 17 yards to the end zone on the first play of the second quarter. Score 14-0. Llano had yet run an offensive play.

At this point, San Diego had run 21 plays. San Diego had 14 points. The Jackets had allowed 76 total yards, for an average of 3.6 yards per play.

The second quarter was just as strange. Llano took the kick-off, and with the running of junior Carson Kuykendall, marched down the field in 10 plays to score. Junior Miguel Hernandez went out for the game after a targeting call and Miguels 8 yard run. Jackson hauled in a 5 yard reception from senior quarterback Maddox Green, and Carson scored from 3 yards out. Score 14-7 San Diego with 8:32 left in the half.

The Jacket defense held on three plays and forced a punt. Llano’s ball on the 48 yardline. 10 yards on a run by Maddox. 11 more Yards on three runs by Carson. Ross Prokop makes a catch for 14 yards and a first down to the 28 yardline. And the offense stalls out, so in comes junior Bryce Mize and trys a 27 yard field goal but is off just a mite.

Llano ran 21 plays and had 97 total yards. San Diego ran 28 plays and had 89 yards, for 3.18 yards per play. Really very good defense, and the Jackets average of 4.6 yards per play is all winning football.

Had you asked defensive coordinator Matt Anastasio before the game if holding San Diego to 89 yards of offense in the first half was OK? Bet he would have jumped on it.

The slow the game down formula for the Vaqueros worked very well. In the third quarter Llano made a first down after the kick-off and Carson got 22 yards on three runs. But a loss play and an incomplete pass forced the Jackets to punt. San Diego put together another slow series of plays. And 14 plays later scored and took a 20-7 lead. The Vaqueros converted on 4 third down plays. Still outstanding play from the Jacket defense. Senor Zach Watson did yoemans work in the middle of the line. Senior Matthew Whitley made several stops. Seniors Aiden Guido and Jenin Bastyens were in on key stops. Llano ran 8 plays in the third quarter. The defense held the Vaqueros to 61 yards in the third quarter.

Carson ran the ball 6 times for 40 yards beginning in the fourth quarter. Ross had a 12 yard catch from Maddox. Bryce kicked good and Llano closed the gap to 20-14 after Carson’s TD. Then on the next series, Dillard comes up with the play of the game and again Bryce kicks good. Llano leads 21-20.

So…the worst thing that can happen….San Diego runs the kick-off back for a TD and takes the lead back 28-21. An exchange of punts puts the game in the final minutes. And San Diego breaks a long 53 yard TD run and takes a 35-21 lead with 1:29 left in the game. Jackets never stopped trying. Maddox completes a 40 yard pass to junior Caden Bauman and the next play hits Briggs Green for the final score of 35-27. Junior great Jaxon Rhea was helped off the field in the first part of the fourth quarter. Maddox and Carson were moving slow. Tough physical game, and played hard by all. And a hard one to get over.

For the record, Carson had over 300 yards rushing in two play-off games. Maddox 4 TD passes. Sam had 149 yards and two TDs in the Marion game. A tribute to excellent line play.

8-3 is a very good season. By a team that kept the home field winning streak in tact to three seasons and 14 in a row.

The seniors won 21 games in two seasons. Most in school history. Other great senior classes were the 1994 and 1995 classes and they won 19. As did the 1996 and 1997 teams with 19 wins. Two District Championships. Traveling in pretty elite company here. Our small but special senior class have set the bar high. The seniors and this year’s team were fun to watch. Looked so forward to every Friday night. And as time goes forward, the seniors will too, see how special they were.

Of great note: Head Coach Matt Green won his 40th game as head coach over 5 years. He is just behind Coach David Yeager who has 43 wins in 7 seasons, earlier in the decade. When you have time, go to the school record book…type in Play To Win by Mikel Virdell…two catagories….School Records and Season records….fun to look back.

Will slowly start working on the record book. Alot will be added, plus still working on going back…way back and picking up numbers and players from the past that had wonderful accomplishments. Let me know when I miss something. And thanks for all the memories.

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