10-0 Jackets Area Bound

The Llano Yellowjackets worried a few Jacket fans Friday night in the Bi-District play against Marion, played at Tivy Stadium in Kerrville.  To put this in Cliffs Note form,  Llano’s Diego Perez kicked off with the first of 4 touchbacks in the first half. The Jacket defense held, lead by Cade Ligon, Mason Baker, Luke Keller, Jaxson Rhea and Hayden Manahan.  Marion punted, and three and out by the Jackets.  Minus 4 yards of offense.

Marion then showed why they were in the play-offs.  6 plays later they scored, with three passes for 56 yards.  Marion ahead 7-0.

Llano- another  three and out. One yard rushing.  Field Goal try not good.  Marion takes  over on their 20 yard line.  Ligon, senior Lance Pierce and Aiden Cuthbertson making plays.  Maroin punted, and senior Austin Hulon caught the punt, but I bet game film will show he was hit before he had a chance to make the play. Marion’s ball, and four plays later the Bulldogs score with :38 seconds left in the first quarter.  Score 14-0 Marion.

Llano had run 6 plays, zero net yardage.  Marion had 112 net yards and 14 points.

Marion held Llano on its first possession in the second quarter, and took over on the 11 yard line.  One first down and then Marion had a fourth down and one.  Jackets held.  Hayden and Ricky de la Torre, sophomore linebackers showed up for the stop.  A game changer. The Jackets needed one play.  Senior Case Kuykendall hit senior Quincy Prince on a 39 yard pass between two defenders and the score was 14-7.  From this point on, with 7:06 left in the second quarter, Llano showed why they were in the play-offs.  Jacket defense held on three plays.  Abel Prince at cornerback, Michael Silva at linebacker, and Guillermo Davilla at two-technique played lights out.

Llano’s Ball.  13 yard run by Case.  Then from the 50 yard line, Abel Prince goes straight up the middle with great blocks from Colin Mayes and Luke Hicks. Touchdown Llano. Score tied 14-14.

Marion had one more good drive left in the tank. 7 passes, and two first downs.  Hayden, Aiden, Dillon Milum, and Anthony Ysais and Abel all had good plays on the defense.  And on another try on fourth down, Marion went for the first down, and again, the Jacket defense held.  Cade had another tackle in the backfield.  Baker, and Pierce really showed up strong….oh…and Llano had the ball just before half.   15 yards by Austin.  Then Case scores from 17 yards out to put Llano going into the dressing from at half up 21-14.

Marion had 176 yards offense in the first half, and 14 points.  The Jackets had 158 yards in the second quarter, and 21 points.  But the real star has to be with the defense…holding it close for the Jacket offense to kick in.  Getting the ball back twice on fourth down, and both times Llano’s offense scored after the defenses’ effort. In the second quarter, the Jackets scored  21 points on 8 plays.

Marion kicked off….Hulon for three yards….Case doing his thing…51 yards for the score with 49 seconds gone in the third quarter. 28-14.  Now Llano had score 28 points in the last 11 plays.  Defense gets its turn.  Bulldogs make a first down.  Llano defenders upset.  Pierce, Cade, Guillermo, and Jaxson force a fourth down try.  Llano defense holds again.   Llano comes right back.  9 Yards by Case. Two pass completions by Case to junior Maddox Green for first downs putting the Jackets on the 24 yard line.  A 21 yard burst by Austin with great blocking again from seniors Dalton Enberg, Mayes, and Hicks.  Junior Matthew Whitley played his best game.  Sophomore Ross Edwards improves every week, a future star.  This offensive line knows what to do, and best part I see, is all are very smart players.  Few penalties. OH…and Case scores from three yards out.  35-14 Llano.

At the end of the third quarter, The Jacket defense forced a Bulldog fumble.  Not good for the Bulldogs.  Abel for 11 on a good run. Case passes to Quincy for 31 yards and a first down.  Austin for 7 more. And Case again….31 yards and another Jacket TD…42-14.

The Jacket defense has taken over this game from the middle of the second quarter.  In the Bulldogs efforts in trying to come back, Ligon and Company were on speed dial.  Sacks by Cade and Jaxson…Aiden a super text book open field tackle.  Passes were unharmful, as Luke and Abel and Austin shut the passing game down.  And not to be completely outdone, junior quarterback Maddox Green  came in and began on the 28 yard line.  Sophomore running back Miguel Hernandez also in the game, as as injury had kept Miguel from playing this whole season.  First play 21 yards with a good block from junior Jesus Chacon.  Maddox passing to Sam S (I need help spelling) , a good sophomore playing now on the varsity. The Jackets too have senior Jake Self and junior Bode Gann helping in the running game.  Both very dependable, and hard runners. Then Maddox throws a perfect pass to a sprinting Quincy Prince for a 55 yard scoring play.  Wow…49-14.  49 straight points…

My Baylor College roommate, Gary Sutton  and a Texas high school football coach for 30 years came to the game. When we were down 14-0, he asked if I was worried?  I looked at the sidelines.  Players were calm.  Coaches were calm.  “What, Me worry?”  NO!!

The Old Coach observed that our defensive line was sure one of the keys to Llano’s end result.  Cade is just an out lights player that is nearly unblock able.  Guillermo is so strong, so often holding up two offensive lineman at a time.  Sophomore Jaxson Rhea  already is so good.  And getting better.  Senior Lance Pierce.  How many hats does he wear?  Runs down opposing runners from behind.  Sacks the quarterbacks.  And the drops back into coverage and plays pass defense, with an interception thrown in here and there.  These players make our great linebacking corp look better.  Mason, Michael, Anthony, Ricky , Hayden and senior Trevor Cowan are all tough and good tacklers. Love the speed of this group.

10 and 0. Tied for the second most wins ever, with the 1994 District Champions.  That team lost to Giddings in Bi-District 22-21.  Finished 10-1. Llano plays Lyford for the Area Crown this Friday night.  The game is in Karnes City, about 165 miles Southeast of here, below San Antonio.  Lyford was picked to win their District, but lost out to San Diego. In Bi-District, against Palacios, Lyford beat a heavily favored team.  Going on stats, Lyford has better numbers than Llano.  More passing and so forth.  Their 6-1 record only shows the Virus has taken a toll in their deep South Texas region.  Being favored in the play offs really is meaningless.  It is who shows up to play, knowing there are no second chances.  Llano has goals that these 20 seniors know are attainable.  Only two teams in our history have made it to the third round of the play offs.  This Jacket team will be the third.  Roll to 11-0.