The loss to #3 Navarro Friday Night was a game in which one old coach said you must always be looking for silver linings. The 31-0 loss was not that bad. As I watched I was thinking of every little silver lining I could find.
Here are a few. Llano’s defense held the high powered Panthers to 14 points less than they had scored against any other opponent. If you think this was not important to Navarro, why then was their first team quarterback and running backs still in the game until the end, and the Panthers threw the football as many times in the fourth quarter as the first three quarters combined. Navarro wanted those points. Llano held.
Our defense can play with most people. The last four series of downs that the Panthers had the football, they gained 113 yards on 27 plays and the Jackets held them out of the end zone. Great play from our secondary, lead by seniors Cody Miller , Wyatt Casey, John Heflin, Mat Agee and Airon Layton. Junior star Brent Greenwood got a key interception with help from a deflection from sophomore Ian Fletcher. Fletcher had one of his best games. Wyatt Bauman continues to lead and guild this defense. The defense has improved by 10.6 points a game from last season. A 25.3 points allowed is third best in our district, with Wimberley above us by less than 2 points a game. A real turn-a-round for the defense and Wyatt leads on every play.
Our defensive line gets better. Sophomore Ray Dixon is the real deal. He plays hard every play. His best effort now comes against an 8-2 Crystal City team. Ray gets help from junior Hunter Roemer and junior Blake Dillard. Blake’s sack for a 10 yard loss was a tone changer. Kegan Greenhaw, a junior at 160 pounds is playing more and more confident. J. Sliz had good plays, as did Juan Mungia. Roberto Alcala is playing very good. Love it when the big guys go in at the 2 techniques. Cameron Hall and Colton Center make teams adjust their blocking, as a different look when 175 pound Hunter lines up over a guard. Love it as we seem to blitz more. Ian and Blake and Brent are quick and good at it. Make no excuses, but Llano played one of the best teams in Texas last Friday night. I expect Navarro to at least win our Region.
The offense continues to struggle. We had 12 plays of one yard or less. That means 40% of our rushing downs went no where. Sophomore Ben Walling completed a screen pass to sophomore Mason Greenwood for 12 yards, 9 yard pass to Mat Agee, and another to Mat for 5 yards. The other two completions were for loss yardage. Llano crossed the fifty yardline two times. Llano’s offensive line must play better. And we can against Crystal City.
In 1998, Llano was 5-5 and we made the playoffs. But we had to play the #1 team in the sister district. Pearsall was 10-0, and ranked in the top 10 in the state. Llano was given no hope to win, and my memory tells me the Jackets were a 30 point underdog. The weather was bad all over the State, except here in Llano. The Pearsall coach called LLano Coach Karl McCormack and offered to play in Llano. Coach Mac was delighted. Llano won by 20.
Men, you have one game left in your lives that really matters. For 48 minutes you bring every ounce of effort and skill that you have learned and worked for since the 7th grade. The University of Alabama coach, Lou Saban tells his players that football last only 7 seconds, average time of one play. You play only one play at a time. And anyone that has worked for 6 years can muster up the supreme effort to do their utmost best for 7 seconds.
Then you might get another chance to play one more play. 7 seconds. All to have a lifetime of memories. The State playoffs are so special. You have been given an opportunity. You have history on your side. Llano has always played best when they had to. You have to now, just for yourselves. Crystal City is pretty good. Large team. But Navarro beat Wimberley by 31 also. Devine beat Crystal City 40-8. If, and a big if, …we can block for 7 seconds as hard as you can, my money is on Mason to break a long run. 7 more seconds. Another long run. and after 48 minutes, the Jackets will have a win, and a memory that no one can ever take away.
LLano 20 Crystal City 7