Jackets Beat # 4 San Saba in Barnburner

The Llano Yellowjackets played in one of the most exciting games in the history of Jacket football Friday night. In the 2020 Homecoming Game, the Jackets played one of the top 3-AAA Div. II schools in the State. Ranked # 4 in the State, the Armadillos came in the contest having won 16 of their last 17 games. Harris Polling had put the “Dillos as a 4 point favorite.

If going down to the wire has any meaning, maybe this game is the poster child. With 2:27 left in the fourth quarter, San Saba had marched down to the Jacket 4 yard line, and kicked the field goal to go ahead 31 to 21.

On the kick-off Llano got the ball on the 40 yard line. Junior quarterback Maddox Green completed a pass for 6 yards to senior Trevor Cowan putting the Jackets with a fourth and 4 decision. Case Kuykendall came into the backfield, and ran for 16 yards and a first down. Then junior quarterback Maddox hit senior Quincy Prince for a 10 yard gain to the 28 yard line. Green again to Prince into the end zone and a catch that will be in every highlight film. 28 yard TD !! Interference by San Saba did not matter. Quincy came down with the football. Diego Perez kicked his fourth extra point of the game and the score was 31-28, San Saba.

Now…what to do….few choices. On side kick. 1:16 left in the game. Diego lined up. It had to be perfect. And perfect happens seldomly. On side kicks are practiced by everyone. Every team. So few times it works. Kick has to go 10 yards , but then not to be covered by the receiving team. The ball has to take a slow two bouncer, then it bounces high. Very high. About the 10 yard marker. That is when the opportunity comes when the kicking team can rush down and cover the ball before the receiving team pounces. Diego kicks…one bounce…two bounces…the the ball goes head high to all. And senior safety Aiden Cuthbertson comes flying down the field and up he goes and catches the ball and secures it for Llano. Perfect.

Llano’s ball on the 45 yard line. Case moves out wide. Two defenders move over to cover the player San Saba believes to be the one Maddox will go to. The Safety too takes a few steps over to Case’s side of the field. Maddox throws incomplete on first down. Second down, Maddox to senior Jared Beasley on a great sliding catch just pass the first down marker and out of bounds. Clock stops. Llano now has the ball on the 34 yard line. Maddox to Quincy for 10 more. First down on the 24.

Maddox scrambles, but with his eyes down field. Case is covered. But Quincy with one cornerback to get by goes to the middle of the field and Maddox fires. Quincy catches and drives pass defenders into the end zone. Touchdown!!! Diego kicks good. 35-31 score, with 44 seconds to play.

Llano kicks a scrib kick, and San Saba covers on the 30. But on first down, senior Lance Pierce breaks the Armadillos’ heart, as he steps in front of the San Saba receiver and intercepts to end threat with 4 seconds left. Llano is now 4-0. San Saba 3-1.

Llano’s win was a team effort if there ever was one. The offensive line blocked well enough (not perfect yet) to give Case and Maddox time to throw. Both quarterbacks ended the night 8 of 18 each. Case and Maddox have 15 TD passes between them for the season. Pretty good line blocking.

I think Llano coaches figured early two things. San Saba could do two things. They could run the football, and they could stop the run. Except for Cases’ runs of 16, 25 and 39 yard runs, Llano generated only 10 more yards running by Austin Hulon, Abel Prince, Bode Gann and Maddox, with 7 runs generating minus yards. Besides that, Hulon and Abel were needed badly on defense. Could not wear them out running against a very strong defense line.

San Saba had a tremendous running attack, with Sears and Shahan pounding the football. Both very large backs. Austin and Aiden from the safety positions were the last resort many times, and pulling these large ball carriers down was yeoman’s work…every play. Luke Keller and Abel at cornerbacks had just as hard a game. The line and linebackers had their hardest and maybe best games, but fighting the ‘Dillos offensive lineman too, was work against the big and strong ‘Dillos. San Saba had a great running attack Over 250 rushing for San Saba.

Senior middle linebacker Mason Baker, Guillermo, Cade, Lance, Hayden Manahan, Jackson Rhea, Hulon, Michael Silva, Ricky de la Torre, Trevor, Dillon Milum, and Zane Toney-Fielding played their hearts out. Tremendous effort, and everyone played their parts. But maybe no one more than Aiden Cuthbertson. This senior showed up to play.

No easy task against 14th ranked Ballinger this week at Jacket Stadium. Llano is 3-3 all time against the Bearcats. Ballinger was in Llano’s district a few years back. 1966 and 1967!! Just tough old West Texas kids. They are 4-0, and will also, give the Jackets all they can handle. No one said this was going to be easy. But the Jackets proved this week they could play with anyone. Proved it to themselves. The most important people in the room.

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Llano Pounds Dogs; San Saba Next

The 2020 LLano Yellowjackets jumped on host Bandera Friday night early, and never let up. The 52-0 win was a nice pay back from last season when a good Bulldog team beat a good Llano team. Llano moves on with a 3-0 record, playing the #4 ranked San Saba Armadillos in Jacket Stadium this Friday night.

The Jackets did their best to keep their cards close to the vest Friday night, not going early to Quincy Prince or Jared Beasley in the passing game. Senior quarterback Case Kuykendall guided his team with a rushing attack and only one pass attempt in the first quarter. Case scored first from 49 yards out on a scat-back patented run for a 7-0 lead after Diego Perez kicked his 12 consecutive extra point of the young season. There was but 2 minutes 14 seconds gone in the game.

Senior Austin Hulon continued his assault on defenses with his take no prisoners running style. But as the game progressed, junior Abel Prince took his turns, as did Junior Bode Gann, Mason Baker, and Jake Self. All ran hard. Case finished the game with 161 yards rushing.

Eventually we got to see the likes of Quincy taking a 25 yard TD pass from junior quarterback Maddox Green, and Case hitting fleeting wide receiver Jared Beasley for a 50 yard strike. The offense continued the attack. Bode ran a TD in from 17 yards out, and Austin went in from 4 yards in the second quarter. Mason Baker found the goal line in the third quarter. Diego had 4 Touch backs in the first three quarters. Such a blessed weapon. No kick off returns. Oh…and senior Trevor Cowan had his first varsity catch, a 22 yarder for a first down in the first quarter.

Concerns still exist. Junior Zach Watson, along with senior Luke Hicks were seen together on the bench while talking over their injuries. The offensive line still held up Senior center Dalton Enberg is the workhorse, as with fellow lineman Matthew Whitley and Sophomore Rose Edwards. Senior Colin Mayes gets better every game. Jesus Chacon and #68 ( I will find out who you are by next week ) also contributed. Everyone finding their roles.

I often spoken about roles. Loved seeing senior Zane Toney-Fielding get his chances at kicking extra points and kick-offs. He may not beat out Diego, but so good to know he his ready and available. Good job.

Special Team Plus Players: Aiden and Hayden! Great effort.

The defense is good. Very good. But a real test this week against a very good San Saba team. The Armidilloss are 16-1 over the past 17 games. But the cornerbacks of Luke Keller and Abel Prince look secure. Luke got his first interception this season, and decided to just go ahead and take it 45 yards for the TD. Great heads up play. Second week in a row the defense has scored. Odd statistic ….Defensive lineman Cade Ligon leads in the team in tackles, along with cornerback Abel Prince with 23 each. Guess no one told Cade he was a down lineman. And those under classmen!! Hayden Manahan (Sophomore), Jackson Rhea (Sophomore), and linebacker Ricky de la Torre( Sophomore) are superb. The leadership from the seniors still leads the parade. Mason, Lance, Michael Silva, Guillermo Davilla, Anthony Ysais are just getting better. Great leadership. And not to forget senior DB Dillon Milum. Having strong senior year. Still so many tackles made by Aiden Cuthbertson from the safety position. Austin Hulon getting playing time also at safety. I just love the shutout.

San Saba will be no Bandera. From all accounts, this team is for real. Quarterback Shahan is an athlete. His Grandfather, Keith Shahan was a spectacular athlete. I played against him from 1962 thru high school. Good athletic family. Their top defensive player, Logan Glover is a pre-season All-State pick. I think this is right, but let me know if not. Llano last played San Saba in 1995. Very bad blood here for many years. San Saba often beat Llano when Llano could least afford a lost. Llano beat San Saba many times when they were down,…badly. Stopped playing because such dislikes. I love the renewed contest. Great old rivalry, that needed to continue. This time, San Saba is not down. But a Jacket win sure could reignite the old flames.

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Jackets 2-0 After Trip to Sonora

The Llano Yellowjackets traveled 135 miles to Sonora Friday night and took a 41-8 contest. Llano scored in its’ first two possessions, had about 210 yards of offense in the first half, and scored its first defensive touchdown of the young season. With the win, Llano evened its over-all record against the Broncos to 6-6.

While Llano did not have the crisp feel of the game last week, a win is a win is a win. I also caught my self saying, ” we can’t expect perfection every week”. The Jackets are a good football team here in the second week of the season. But, soon I will mention, some of the players still are learning each others’ name. I exaggerate, and maybe it is me, but a long ways to go.

Playing away is usually considered harder than playing on ones home field. Coaches know that distraction can create mistakes. Even the smallest mistakes. It was early in last season, when Jacket receivers missed catching the football. I counted 5 touches when the five different receivers did not bring the football in. The smallest thing, from 5 of the best. Distractions.

55 years ago, Llano ISD started putting money in the budget to feed the football players before games, sometimes after the game. The Jackets went to a restaurant here in Llano named “Club Llano”. Every meal was a chicken fried steak and baked potato. I know for a fact, it was the first chicken fried steak many had ever eaten. Except for the occasional fried chicken, deer meat was on the menue…every day at home. It was my first time. Then when we went out of town, and ate at a restaurant, same menue. Chicken fried steak. Distractions. You have got to be aware of such menaces.

About the third game last season, the Jacket receivers found the formula. Catching the football with their hands, and not their bodies. Receiving changed over night. Prince and Case and Jared all became elite receivers. Catching high or low, it was with their hands extended, away from the out reach of defenders. Give offensive coordinator Coach Ryan Priem much credit. Thousands of passes in practice. It takes work. But it has worked. A passing attack over the last 14 games unmatched in school history.

I thought after last season, it would be awhile before Llano had such a tanacious running back as unanimous All District running back as Donaven Arellano. It took about 8 months. Llano has 4 or 5 very good running backs, and actually, some still in the making. But today, don’t get in the way of senior Austin Hulon. No hand tackleing that # 33. Once last night he was knocked backward in the backfield. Straight back at you Bronco, and must have run over 4 defenders before they took him down after a 15 yard gain. Nice blocking too, from Dalton Enberg, Matthew Whitley and Colin Mayes.

Roll playing is a key to success. Bode Gann can do so many things. Mason Baker, wow. Hope Coach Green doesn’t line him up a quarterback. Case and Maddox will have to move to the line. Abel Prince ran the ball. Quick, and fast. And to finish the offense, Quincy ( 2 TDs), Jared Beasley ( Beautiful eyes open catch for TD), Case, Maddox, and two TDs from Baker…all performed. Oh yea, Diego Perez 5 of 5 extra points, 11 for 11 on the season. So dependable.

The defense played good. Playing a team that only runs the football is tough. Sonora had a tough evening fighting off the likes of linebackers Hayden Manahan, Gann, Michael Silva, Ricky de la Torre, and senior Anthony Ysais. Senior Dillon Milum had a very good game. Senior Trevor Cowan had his best game on the varsity. Very strong effort. Sophomore Jackson Rhea and senior Lance Pierce are two folks no one wants to see in a dark alley. Tough young men. And Aiden Cuthbertson was sound at safety. With that Bronco running game, Cade Ligon and Guillermo Davila held their own in the middle of the line. Defense has allowed 24 points in two games. Two fumble recoveries Friday night, one by Jackson, and then “the scoop” TD by Mason.

Prediction: Gatesville fought hard against top 20 ranked Glen Rose Friday night, and were a 34 point underdog. Lost by 11. Look for the Hornets to win 4 games in that very tough 4AAA District….And Sonora will make the play-offs.

Llano has a 16-8 advantage over the history of playing Bandera. But in 2002 Llano played the Bulldogs at Bandera. With a Llano win against the 4-5 home team, the Jackets would make the playoffs. In a two over-time loss, Llano goes home. Bandera won the State Championship. The good 2019 Jacket team last season should have beat Bandera, but did not. Let some distraction happen on the way to Bandera, and bad things can happen. Not a team to go to sleep on. But great chicken fried steaks at Old Spanish Trail Restaurant.!!

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Jackets Sting Hornets 45-16 in Home Opener

The 2020 debut of the Llano Yellowjackets was a great success. On a game that began at 7:30 PM, and the temperature was a sizzling 100 degrees, and likely 20 degrees hotter down on the field, the Jackets took care of business. The win came near to evening our lifetime record against Gatesville to 4-5. records were challenged. And most important, help came in the form of new varsity players moving up, and making a difference.

I will start with the defense. Llano held the Hornets to 96 yards of total offense in the first half of play. Forced 5 punts, and allowed only one play over 20 yards. Old reliables played great. Up front, All District performers in 2019, Guillermo Davilla and Cade Ligon manhandled the trenches in the middle, often caving down the three interior lineman of the Hornets. What difference makers these two seniors are. But newcomer Lance Pierce brought home the most gold pieces, with 7 solo tackles and was in on 11 assets. Sophomore Jackson Rhea was strong on the other defensive end position. And, man are our linebackers active. Always lead by three year starter Mason Baker at middle linebacker…but with his tutelage, sophomore linebackers Ricky de la Torre and Hayden Manahan played well in their first varsity starts, and each had a QB sack. Senior Michael Silva is nothing but quick. Great varsity debut.

Really love the play of the secondary. Luke Keller just does not miss a tackle at cornerback. Had 6 solos all by himself outside on the edge. And junior Able Prince at the other corner had 3 solos, plus got his first varsity interception. Senior Aiden Cuthbertson lost his junior year to a bad injury. We got to see Friday night what the Jackets missed. Aiden is so solid at safety. Along with senior Austin Hulon at the other safety, Llano looks good down the middle.

Gatesville scored 16 points, but with a solid quarterback, and a very tough running back, take nothing away from the Hornets. I was impressed with their two successful swinging gate extra points. 2 pointers and both successful . Llano could run the same if ever needed, but when you have Jacket record holder and senior Diego Perez kicking extra points, why chance it? Diego was 6 of 6 extra points and a 28 yard field goal to go with his career totals.

The Jacket offense!! Llano had 413 yards passing. The school record was 405, by Cade Fly against Sonora in 2017. Llano completed 26 passes. So did Layton Rabb in 2012 against Boerne, the school record. The Jackets had 6 TD passes. Tied another record. And receiving yards by Jared Beasley (7 catches 167 yards) third best all time in a single game. Case Kuykendall ( 7 catches 105 yards). And school record holder in many spots, Quincy Prince two TDs and 73 yards. Maddox Green, Bode Gann, and Austin Hulon all had catches. The running game was fine, but best was 6 players carried the ball. Senior Jake Self, Gann, Green, Case, Austin Hulon, and Mason Baker taking his turn. Sophomore Miguel Hernandez ran hard, but went out with an injury. (Please get well).

I can’t decide what to do about this two quarterback system. I will need to make new categories in the record books. Junior Maddox Green and senior Kuykendall…each completed 13 passes. Each caught passes. Each ran the ball. Man, what a problem we have. Never would have dreamed this would work. Yet Case had nearly 400 yards of offense by himself. Lined up all over the field. You worry about relationships. Jealously. Conflicts. Who gets the credit? Well, I watched closely. These two players, and all the players were pulling for each other. Like a team.

When you have a special team, there has to be a special kinsmanship. There has to be more than just teammates. I’m talking special. Lots of teams have none of this. But the special ones do. Seniors make it happen. Seniors know this is their last chance. No more second chances. This team can be special. But it takes no egos with it. The 1970 team was that special team. 9-0-1. Co-District Champs. 7 players got the opportunity to play college football. And no egos.

But where I love to see a little fire power, and boostfulness? The guys that gave Maddox and Case and Jared, and Quincy the chance to make plays. The Jacket offensive line. These players know they have to get better every week, for Llano to be special. Lead by seniors Colin Mayes, Dalton Enberg, Luke Hicks (Hurt this week) and tight end Trevor Cowan. Two year starter Matthew Whitley, juniors Zach Watson, and Jesus Chacon, and sophomore Rose Edwards. These “mud hogs” can start with the 6 penalties. Need to lower that number. But still a good start.

Llano plays Sonora this week, @ Sonora. Great team with multiple State Championship banners. Llano is 5-6 all time against the Broncos. They are so tough on their home field. Llano will need every ounce to energy and smartness to win at Sonora. Let’s even that all time record to 6-6!

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BRING 2020 SEASON ON- Jackets Ready

The 2020 season is here. Everyone seems healthy, and did not appear any injuries came from the scrimmage last night with San Angelo Lakeview.

The Yellowjackets looked good in the scrimmage. I left after Llano scored its 6th TD, and the Chiefs had scored twice. Not to dwell long about the scrimmage, it is worth telling that the Jacket secondary looked good. Very sound tackling by all. Luke Keller is the lone returning starter from last year, and as a senior leads that group. The defensive line put good pressure on the Chief’s quarterback. Returning seniors and All-District Guillermo Davila and Unanimous All District Pick Cade Ligon head up this group. Jacket linebackers will be making a difference. Lead by two year starter Mason Baker at middle linebacker, with good help from Lance Pierce, Bode Gann, Anthony Ysais and senior Trevor Cowan.

Defense has changed. Alot. Going back 20 years when Yellowjacket defensive coordinator Karl McCormack was in Llano, his good defenses were allowing 10, 11, 12 points a game. I saw where Wimberley last season average allowing 26 per game. They were in the State Championship game. High powered offenses with zip like passing attacks have changed much of that. But I do believe the Jackets have an opportunity to be one of the best defenses in many many years.

Oh me..the offense. Where do I start/ Starters returning…Case Kuykendall, Quincy Prince, Jared Beasley…could be the best threesome anywhere….Luke Hicks, Matthew Whitley strong and solid offensive lineman….Other that will start or see plenty of action…Aiden Cuthbertson, Jake Self, Maddox Green, Dalton Enberg, Zack Watson and Colin Mayes. And what is that in our back pocket? No other than school record holder and 10 of 15 career field goals kicker, senior Diego Perez. His 77 of 83 career extra points is too a school record.

We can catch up on school records as the season goes on. But, records are only important at the end of the season, not the beginning. Llano has wished and dreamed about the day the UIL would move the Jackets into 3AAA…the classification where we play with schools closer to our own enrollment size. The Jackets play a solid schedule. And a very tough district schedule. But the season begins with 4AAAA Gatesville Friday night.

Playing Gatesville goes back many years. Our 3-5 all-time record needs to be improved on. I do think the last time Llano played Gatesville was 2000, the year the Hornets won the State Championship. They will be tough, and will have an attitude about playing a smaller school. This is no game to overlook. You talk about “trap” games? This is one.

I know Llano is ready, and Friday night is the test. Playing in Llano will be great for all. Talk to you after Friday night, when the Jackets up the over all record against Gatesville to 4-5.

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Vickers All State 4 A II

Braxton Vickers,  Llano High School senior, and LHS record holder in many catagories, including passing for 9 games in a 12 game season for over 200 yards…passing for 2,799 yards in 2019, 36 TD passes in a season, as well as leading the offense to scoring 36.16 points per game, most ever in school history.

Braxton was voted to the second team All State team by the Texas High School Coaches, known as the Padillo Coaches Poll.  Head Llano football coach Matt Green submitted Braxton’s eye popping statistics, and proof was in the puddin….outstanding season by an outstanding young man.

As far as I have been able to find, Braxton is the first LHS quarterback to get such recognition.  So many great LHS quarterbacks in the past…Leroy Finstemaker (Rice), Sherman Bauer (TCU), Shelby Wright ( Tarleton State),  Preston Rabb ( West Texas State), Layton Rabb ( Midwestern),  Cade Fly, and Bradley Kassell ( North Texas State, later the NFL).  Bradley likely came the closest to this recognition, but research says he made All State on defense…one of the best safeties in school history.  Bradley played linebacker in college and in the NFL.

Should information come forward about other LHS quaterbacks getting recognized on this level, be sure I will print it here.

MORE ON LHS MOVE TO 3-AAA DIV.I

Pre-Season Schedule:           Record Against Teams We Play:   New District:      Past Record:

Gatesville                                              3-5                                         Comfort                2-0

Sonora                                                   5-6                                          Lago Vista           2-2

Austin Crockett                                    Never Played                       Blanco                  4-2

San Saba                                               30-31-2                                   Lulling                 4-0

Ballinger                                               3-3

S.A. Somerset                                       Never Played

Saying Good By To 4-AAAA

The Llano Yellowjackets for the first time in 30 years will start playing schools near the same size as Llano.  Llano had the State Champion in its district 6 times.  Bandera in ’02, Wimberley in ’05, Liberty Hill in ’06 and ’07.   Wimberley again in ’11, and Cuero in 2018.  Four times Llano’s first game in the State Playoffs was against the eventual State Champion:  Rockdale in 1976, Cameron in 1981. Sealey in 1995.  La Grange in 2000. The Jackets played Gatesville in 2000 and Friendswood in 1973, both State Champions.  Burnet, in Llano’s district went to the State Championship game three times, but did not win…1991, 2002, 2003.  You might begin to think that the path to becoming a State Champion…had to go through Llano.   See you in 13-3AAA, Div. I.

 

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2019 All District Jackets

OFFENSE: 1st Team:  Quincy Prince-WR- Unanimous-Jr.

Donaven Arrellano- RB- Unanimous-Sr.

Heath Godfrey- OL- Sr.

2nd Team:   Braxton Vickers- Quarterback- Sr.

John Roberts- TE- Sr.

Jared Beasley- WR- Jr.

Case Kuykendall-WR- Jr.

Matthew Whitley- OL- Soph.

DEFENSE:  1st Team: Cade Ligon- DT- Unanimous- Jr.

Jacob Cruz- DE- Unanimous- Sr.

Justin Yocum- DB- Unanimous- Sr.

2nd Team: Jansen Morris-DE- Sr.

Mason Baker- ILB- Jr.

Logan Duggar- ILB- Sr.

Guillermo Davilla- DT- Jr.

Quentin Franklin- OLB- Sr.

Aaron Brown– OLB- Sr.

Honorable Mention:         Luke Hicks- OL- Jr.

Jose Villa- OL- Sr.

Luke Keller- DB- Jr.

Ryan Warner- OLB- Sr.

RETURNING Award Winners:  7 returners will be seniors.  Whitley will be a junior playing in the 2020 season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Move to Class 3-AAA Brings New Challenges

The UIL announced new realignment numbers over the past week, and the Llano Yellowjackets will move from 4-A to 3-A in classification.  Llano High School has had a high of about 535 kids in the four grades over the past 6 years, to a low of 494 kids, the number Llano turned in to the UIL in this past October.  The low number, or cut off line for 4-A, Division II announced was 515.  The Jackets fall under that number, thus the move to the Class 3AAA, Division I.

So…where to go from here?  The UIL will announce in the first few days of this coming February the new district in which Llano will play in over the next two years.  All sports, both girls and boys will participate in the new district.  Speculation is fun, and everyone has an opinion of where Llano could be placed. So, I will give some options that the UIL will make their decisions from.

We could go to any of the three districts listed below, or, the UIL could create a new district out of teams that seem in a displaced location, or to even up the number of teams in a district.

3-3AAA, Div. I:              10- 3AAA, Div. 1                      15-3AAA, Div. 1

Wall                                      Cameron                                 Jourdanton

Eastland                               Rockdale                                 Marion

Jim Ned                               Troy                                           U.C. Randolph

Breckenridge                       Little River Academy            San/A Cole

Clyde                                      Jarrell                                      Cotulla

Early                                                                                         Lytle

Karnes City

Other changes could come into play.  Comfort is also now classified 3 AAA, Division I. They too could move into one of these districts.  Most speculation sees the Jackets moving into the eastern district, 10-3AAA.  Manor Tech moved our of 10-3AAA, up to 4 AAAA, so that leaves an uneven number there.  6 teams in a district is ideal, so everyone has 5 district games.

Travel is some consideration, but do not think it is heavily weighed by the UIL, as two years ago “our district” took in Cuero, a good 110 miles trip.  I’m sure Cuero did not like it either.  Cameron is 129 miles from Llano.  Rockdale 111 miles. Troy 110 miles.  Going West, Eastland is 136 miles.  Breckenridge is 158 miles.  Jim Ned 145 miles.  Going South, Karnes City is 162 miles.  Cotulla 194 miles!!!  So, going east might be easier on kids and families traveling late basketball nights.

In State play-offs going on today, of the above teams, only Troy is still playing.  For many years, this 3-AAA district has been one of the strongest.  Cameron and Rockdale both have won state championships over the past few years.  Troy may this year.

The Llano girls programs may benefit the most by moving to 3AAA.  Having to play the likes of Liberty Hill in past years has been tough.  Liberty Hill turned in over 1,300 kids in the four grades.  2 1/2 times more than Llano.  Now the Panthers move up to Class 5 AAAAA.  Wimberley moves to Division I.  Likely back into district with Burnet and Lampasas.

So, speculate all you like…but come February, we all will know.  And a new challenge will face the Jackets.

Next week will talk some on the returning players for the 2020 season.

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Seniors Can Be proud of 2019

The let down after the last football game every season is not measured in feet and inches, but in miles….just as there are few better feelings than beating Hondo, or Brady or Cuero…nothing worse than the last game.

Every team in 4 AAAA, Division II gets the same feeling every year, except one.  Last year, only Cuero was happy at the end of the season.  Llano had disappointments, but those games cannot overcome the joy of a very good season.  Accomplishments that no other Yellowjacket teams have ever had.

Just to mention a few.  Highest scoring Jacket team in history.  434 points. Over 36 points a game.  Yardage…4,729 -, second most ever…EVER!!! And while most players rarely see their names in print, that should not matter.  These senior lineman can go forward to know how special their  team was.  And you had a big hand in it all.   Heath Godfrey, Lewis McTighe, Jose Villa, Jacob Bubenick, and Edgardo Resendiz blocked for Llano’s best.  Do not like to bring this in the mix, but I am unable to better describe it.   In 1967, I was a senior tight end.  Randy Scott was our tailback.  The entire offensive line wanted Randy to get to 1,000 yards.  A 1,000 yards rushing 51 years ago was very special. We worked on it every game.  And Randy’s  name is in the record books today.  I still feel pretty darn proud that as a lineman blocking for Randy, that I helped get to that magic benchmark.  BBQ ICON, Terry Wootan was the starting center. John Krauss and Billy Whitson were our guards.  Joe (Joe’s fame) Lawley, and Steven Dansby were the tackles.  We accoplished something pretty special in 1967.  You accomplised something even more special as a team, in 2019.

The 2019 defensive line was so good.  The grunt workers…No better than Jacob Cruz, who was able to stay healthy all season, and lead the team in sacks.  So quick…great, great senior year.   But when well, Jansen Morris was unblockable.  Missed a few games, but still one of the leading tacklers on the team.  Another great senior season. Hard to replace Jansens’ play. Utility players like  Matthew Ibanez played strong and with great effort when occasions arose.  The Jackets have two great juniors coming back next season in Guillermo Davila and Cade Ligon to continue the tradition of these very good defensive lineman.

Jacket linebackers were some of the best ever.  Seniors Ryan Warner, Logan Duggar, Aaron Inge, Juan Flores, and Quentin Franklin all were tops.  Ryan made so many big, big plays.  Logan so quick to the ball, and don’t forget his TD return of a blocked field goal against Lake View. That is now in the record book.  Flores became so valuable when many times injuries forced Juan to play.  There was no drop off.  Aaron Inge too became a big contributor in district play.  Great play anywhere player.  And two year starter Quentin Franklin, a “high breed” linebacker who rushed the passer…great career ….so many big plays when Llano had to have them.

Jacket secondary was so strong, so solid…few ever times were we beat deep.  Speed at the corner came from senior Justin Yocum.  A special player that contributed on offense, and special teams.  Loved his hard play every game.  Tough guy, and one of the best in years at the corner.  Joe Reed came on strong as the season progressed.  Made a ton of tackles, and really made a difference in how strong and dependable the secondary developed into.  Randall Murray too made a difference, and picked up the effort as the season moved along.  Very solid open field tackler…quick…so good…And last but not least, safety Aaron Brown…maybe the most talented player on the team…best safety in many years to play for Llano…made tackle after tackle behind the line of scrimmage.  Was never beat deep that I saw…and so valuable when he helped out of offense…speed was WOW…with his catching of passes as a sophomore,and this season, see his name in the record books…great player that made great great plays.

Enough said about the records, but Braxton Vickers had his hand on most…Most yardage passing in a season (2,799) …most TD passes in a season…and career (36)…top 7 games in the top 30 games  passing all time…9 of Baxton’s 12 games started, were for over 200 yards…most yards passing in a play-off game (399).  And he had help in senior running back Donaven Arrellano who surprised many with very good speed.  Got the State Play-off game started against Devine with a 50 yard run on the second play, and had he not gotten hurt, would have passed the 1,000 yard mark for the year.  Over 1,000 yards rushing for his career.

The injury of senior John Roberts was a very tough loss for Llano, but his play was superb before that injury.  Wish him all the best.  And these seniors will be remembered.  I’ve been told that being remembered is one of life’s greatest wishes. Jacket fans everywhere will do just that.  And looking at the record book fifty years from now, someone will say,….”man, those 2019 Yellowjackets must have been pretty darn good”.

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Jackets Downed by Sinton in Area Game 41-33

The Sinton Pirates outscored the Llano Yellowjackets Friday night at Gustafson Stadium in San Antonio to advance in the State Playoffs.  The score of 41-33 is not misleading, as the teams scored each time putting the game closer as it went along.  Mistakes on both sides gave opportunity to the other. Llano recovered an onside kick, and recovered a fumble.  Sinton intercepted a Jacket pass late in the game, and forced three punts in the first half.  The score was 27-21 at halftime.

The Jacket’s defense faced two very good running backs that broke many tackles.  Sinton had 9 runs of over 10 yards. And completed 10 passes of over 10 yards.

The third quarter was good for Llano.  The defense forced a fumble and then held Sinton on three series of downs and allowing only 89 yards.  Llano scored late in the third quarter, on a record breaking pass from senior Braxton Vickers to junior receiver Quincy Price for 95 yards. Junior Diego Miguel kicked his third extra point of the night and the score was 27-27. The fourth quarter was not as good to Llano.

Early in the fourth quarter, Sinton scored on a ten yard run. Llano got the ball back.  Braxton completed a 10 yard pass to junior Jared Beasley, and a 29 yard pass to junior Case Kuykendall, but was still forced to punt.  Llano’s defense held on Sinton’s next opportunity.  Great plays by seniors  Quentin Franklin, Jacob Cruz, Joseph Reed and junior Luke Keller.  Sinton punted. The Jackets had completions to Case for 13, and 21 to senior Donaven Arrellano.  Donaven ran for 3 and Case picked up 8 more. But on first down, an interception by Sinton resulted in a return for a touchdown.  The 41-27 score looked tough to overcome.  Llano never quit, and after the kickoff, Braxton completed three straight passes to Jared for three first downs and 40 yards. Then he hit a streaking Quincy over the middle for a 27 yard TD strike, putting the score at 41-34 with 29 seconds to play.

The Jackets played their hearts out.  Never any oh heck….but it was always a great second effort to get back into the game.  Mistakes are part of the game.  Llano just made several more than needed to win this game. Llano finishes the season with a 7-5 record.

The sting of this  loss will last a long time.  Especially for the seniors.  Many seniors had their best games.  Linebacker Logan Duggar was one that was outstanding.  Senior safety Aaron Brown played outstanding on defense, but had a very productive offensive game, carrying the football 7 times for 54 yards, and catching two passes for 37 yards and a TD.

Jansen Morris, despite injuries, was so good, many times running down backs from behind.  Great effort.  Senior Ryan Warner at linebacker too had his best game. Such a dependable linebacker over the past three years.  Justin Yocum, senior cornerback made outstanding play after play.  It was tough guarding the tall Sinton recievers, and making tackles up on the line of scrimmage.

Will take more over the next few weeks as I put together the stats for the record books.  So many records were broken. Senior Braxton Vickers stands out first.  But his 399 yards passing against Sinton was outstanding.  His quarterback rating was an outstanding 129.3 for the game. 179 yards to junior Quincy Prince and two Tds, also a record in playoffs.  Not to be overlooked…Quincy had an 88 yard kickoff return for a TD, in the second quarter, his second of the season., to go along with his 17 TD pass catches this season.   Case caught 7 passes for 73 yards, and Jared had 7 catches for 96 yards and a TD.  Case also had 7 rushes for another 36 yards.  Diego Miguel kicked 4 of 5 extra points.

The numbers are ones we have not seen before.  Record breaking points per game.  Offensive lineman can take a bow.  The receivers were the highest ranked for number of entries.  This week will try to get to record books.  Then talk with you in a week or so.  Hope to make some sense out of this wonderful season, coming to an end way too soon.

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