The loss to Brady in two sets of offensive overtimes was shocking and hurtful. That is how I felt taking one on the chin from an old nemesis in our neighbors to the Northwest. Playing toe to toe for 4 full quarters with the score at 7-7, but one small error at the end left the score at 20-17, Brady.
Haunting is the only word that comes to mind. And I leave out the players name on the last play of the game for a simple reason, I did not catch who it was. On the last play of the game, Llano lead 17-14. Senior quarterback Joe Scott Pace rolled out and threw to a receiver out in the right flat. Out of the corner of my eye, a Jacket defender was closing fast. I knew it was a Jacket interception. Timing looked perfect, felt perfect. But the ball was a finger tip higher than Llano’s defender. Going for the ball is not what Llano has seen in recent years. Usually Llano defenders have played it safe….waited for the receiver to catch the ball, or just tried to make the tackle. The Llano secondary now is playing the football. And I love it. Proof by the Jackets picking off 3 Pace passes this week, and now 8 for the season. It has risk involved. And maybe the last play of the game Friday night may have been different had our defender been more careful. But for my money, give me that defender of Llano’s every play this season. He is a warrior. And I want him on my team. If you are going to loss, loss by trying to win. Play to win every play.
Overall, the defense put in a good ball game. Allowed 348 yards, but only 288 in regulation play. You will usually win holding a team under 300 offense. Needless to say, junior Cody Miller had another remarkable game, picking up a loose ball and returning it nearly 50 yards for Llano’s first score, and then picking off two more passes, giving the young safety four on the season. Senior Lance Reven at linebacker is just so solid. Jalen Bauman, freshman Ray Dixon, and senior Trevor Penny had best games according the stats. Junior Juan Mungia has really stepped up his game. Stetson Watson is a great pass rusher. Hope to keep seeing Cody Harp keep getting better…could really be a force on defense. And wrote down Clayton Masters’ # on several good plays. The secondary is the most improved, with senior Aaron Moss, Tommy Yelvington, Casey Wyatt, and Dorian Green all having good games against a quarterback that was pretty good. Pace is a senior.
The offense took a step back. Moss found few holes in the running game, while Penny had 8 carries for 46 years. The Jackets were unable to get the ball to Jalen in the open field. Could not find Kasin Riley enough either. Love the tall rangy tight end and makes a good target in the short passing game. But only 197 yards of total offense will not get you much. Four three and outs, and three intercepted passes made for a long night. Don’t know if senior quarterback Holden Simpson was under more pass rush than usual, as three year starter Colton Center is out 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. Horrible set back for the offense. But before this weeks game, and going back to last season, Holden is right at a 70% accuracy in passing. Fully expect him back in the groove against Fredericksburg this week.
Must say again how comforting it is to have senior David Forrister kicking extra points, and his 27 yard field goal in over time put the Jackets up 17-14. On special teams, Airon Layton is always close to the football. He and center Colin Mayne work hard to get downfield…nothing but hustle and wanting to play hard.
Can’t worry about Brady. Fredericksburg will be a big test. The Billies were 10-2 last season and expect good things by feasting on the Yellowjackets. Llano needs to rebound. Another road trip usually means another Jacket win. Llano has always like to travel for some odd reason. Llano 28- Billie 21.