The loss to Liberty Hill was disappointing because Llano had as good of a football team as the Panthers. Yet, mistakes compounded by inconsistant play resulted in a more composed team that out lasted the Jackets. LLano’s 10-7 half-time lead could have been the story of the evening, but the Jackets never had great plays by their play makers at the right times.
Big plays, good and bad, was just the awaking call. After a Llano interception on the opening drive of the third quarter after four straight completions is the inconsistancy that was the killer. When the Panthers took the lead, it was catch up the rest of the way as the Jackets tried to match up with a team that has beaten the #3 team, Cuero, already this season. There is no shame in getting beat by a well coached and a determined Liberty Hill team. But life leaves many regreats, and this will be one that the Jackets let get a way.
The reasons Llano lost include two interceptions, bad snaps on the kicking game, and very poor tackeling in the second half. That gives a little credit to all. Another missing link for the Jackets is not getting the ball to its’ play makers. Senior Sterling Jameson carried the ball twice, and caught two passes. Sterling is a difference maker. And senior Justin Saverance touched the ball 9 times. If these two seniors are not involved in at least 20 plays, don’t expect another win this season. Their speed is unmatched in our district. If they can’t get opportunities, others can’t be expected to carry the load. Llano ran the football in the first two quarters 21 times for 59 yards. The second half produced 65 yards rushing on 9 carries, 65 on the long run of senior quarterback Preston Rabb.
No doubt the Jackets were able to produce some drama. The 82 yard TD pass from Rabb to speedster Saverance was great pass, throw, and outrun all. The 65 yard sprint by Rabb with 1:59 left in the game gave hope to a comeback. The perfect pass from Rabb to sophomore Matthew Center for the 15 yard TD deep in the end zone was just like the Coaches drew it up. Yet, the best play stands out as the first quarter was about to end. Llano had the ball on the 30 yardline, facing fourth and five. Rabb two stepped back, hit tailback sophomore Rhett Brooks about 6 yards pass the line of scrimmage, and down the middle of the field he went for a Jacket 7-0 lead. The Liberty Hill Panthers had no answer for the play. Brooks outran everyone, and it took the defense by surprise. A retired Liberty Hill Coach set behind me at the game. He had a walkie-talkie, and he was very upset with whoever at the other end about the Panthers no idea what to do about that play the next time it was run. He need not worry, Llano never ran the play again.
LLano’s effort was winning football. Beating Liberty Hill would have taken a game without major turnovers. Beating Burnet will take the same. Seniors Matt Ratliff, Travis Lawrence, Davis Hill, Michael Rusche, Kenneth Smith, Zach Berry,Sterling, John McKay, Preston, Raven Harron, Ian Mayne, Jordan Cavness, Justin, and Taylor Osbourn, have one last opportunity to make a dramatic mark by labeling their team. Last home game, against the hated Burnet Bulldogs. What a win would mean forever, for this senior class. Should Llano win the next two games, the worse they could end the season would be as tri- champs.
LLano’s defense held Liberty Hill to 73 yards on 24 plays in the first half. Gang tackeling, very intense play every play, and no plays taken off. The defense knows what this means. Play two full halves, and the Jackets will be 6-3.