The 2012 Yellow Jackets carry a 2-2 record into this Friday’ nites’ game against a very long-time rival, the Fredericksburg ‘Billies. The Jackets are host for the Homecoming game. This should come as old hat, as the Jackets have seen three Homecomings in a row at away games. Playing back in Llano should help inspire the Jackets to play four full quarters.
Llano has played very good at times this season. And they played very good Friday night against Boerne , at times. It just was not consistant good play. When the offense finally fired up, it put 27 points on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, the defense limited the Greyhounds to three plays and 7 yards. What happened to Llano in the other three quarters is explained in two words. Gang tackeling.
Against Wimberley and against Bangs, Llano gang tackled. When a hand was on a runner, it was no time before someone else was there. The past two weeks we have gotten away from that single aspect of the game. When everyone on the defense wants to be in on the tackle, you will have very little of the spinning out and breaking for long runs. Boerne’s 185 pound Bryce Collins had a career night on runs after the first hit. Collins had eight runs for 165 yards, and Llano had a hand on him in the backfield many of those runs. Llano was in position. The players were where they were supposed to be but just did not make the plays. Gang tackling will stop a lot of those second moves, those spin-outs, and those big gains after the first hit. Llano must go back to that kind of effort. Gang tackling has nothing to do with nothing except expectations of ones self. Every defensive player takes responsibility of making sure he is in on every single tackle. When he is not, he makes sure is in on the next play.
Can’t put this all on the defense, although great effort was on display by senior Nick Bornholt, Wil Siegenthaler, Carter Tatsch, and Mason Ladd. Still, most improved football player to date is senior Zach Morgan. Also, junior Gilberto Arredondo had a good game. Still love the great effort every week from David Durham on special teams. One last note of observation. No one is loafing here. Old bad habits are very hard to break. This team can be very good. But each player must take it upon himself to improve every single day at practice.
Effort on offense is different. It actually takes more thinking. But few watching Llano can say that senior Rhett Brooks does not give 100% every play. When plays have stopped, Rhett is still churning. Much of this is on Rhett. But effort downfield by senior Devin Mayne blocking, Jacob Beasley blocking, and Ryan West ‘s effort are reasons as well. Need to also mention that while playing sparingly, but with great effort, is 240 pound freshman Colton Center. The more he plays, the better he gets.
Layton Rabb had his first interception of the season, and this is not to pick on Layton….one interception in four games…that is very strong ability of taking care of the football. Good receivers in Mayne, Matt Center, junior Sawyer Stiles, Wil, junior Kralen Dickerson, Rhett, senior Kasidy Pitcox, and senior Allen Lucas all help make Layton a high percentage passer.
Senior Taylor Stewart at center plays hard every play. As does Russell Webb. And the Jackets may have found some real relief for running backs Storey Tatsch and Rhett. Senior Allen Lucas can run the football. Super effort, and he puts an energy on the field that at times becomes a real spark in this offense. One Friday night soon, this Jacket team will put it all together, and that night will be something very special to see.
Llano got behind 21-0 against Boerne. This would have been an easy time for the Jackets just to take a knee. And when Llano came back after the half, the Jackets had two long drives. One for 11 plays, that resulted in not making it on fourth down. The Jackets came right back with an 18 play drive. 18 plays is unheard of in one drive. Too many chances to make a mistake, yet, the Jackets finally scored, opening the fourth quarter. But, so did Boerne. Again, it looked bleak. The Jackets kept fighting. This is character in the making. Llano did not quit against Boerne, and any team facing this 2012 squad would do well not to think it is in this team to ever stop fighting.
Since the first time that Llano played Fredericksburg in the 1920s, the Billies have owned the Jackets. It’s a very lopsided rivalry. But the Jackets have beaten the Billies in 3 of the last four contests. And more to the point, the Billies are a big 3-A school. With a new reenergized coach they are getting better. They were better last year, and beat Llano. They will be better this year. But so are the Jackets. Llano by 14.