Who Wouda Thunk It?
The 3-7 LLano Yellowjackets got their mojo back. They beat a team they had no business beating, and did so in a style that hid beneath the surface for 3 months. The much maligned offensive line played better than anyone could have scripted. Mason Greenwood honored the lineman by scratching and clawing for over 100 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards rushing for the season. The coaching staff put together a game plan that gave Llano every chance to win. They surprised when it was not expected. They ran the football 39 times in a 47 play game. And the defense…well the defense was outstanding against a Crystal City team that was averaging over 30 points a game and brought an 8-2 record into the Bi-District contest played in Bandera Friday night.
Cameron Hall, Jose Arredondo, Colton Center, Cameron Brumley, Ray Dixon, Jaden Napolez, Airon Layton, Brent Greenwood, Mat Agee, Cody Miller, Dalton Dewveall, Robert Alcala, Luke Snitkin and Wyatt Bauman all had their hands in this one. After the initial run, Llano picked up about 15 extra yards by lineman and receivers getting in behind the ball carrier and “moving the pile”. It works, and Llano is learning. Mason’s 22 carries and 108 yards were workhorse yards. Senior John Heflin’s 3 carries for 66 yards were speed and surprise yards. Sophomore quarterback Ben Walling added 7 carries for 44 yards and 4 first downs just at the right times when the defense expected the handoff to Mason. Ben kept and went the opposite direction. Brent Greenwood picked up 16 yards on 3 carries, and Cody got 9 on one try and Airon got 8 more on 2 carries.
The 42 points scored were the most in two years by the Jackets. Llano had the first surprised play on the first play of the game, a handoff to Cody on the end around play, but pulls up and hits senior Airon in stride for the 63 yard TD and a Llano lead that it never gave up. Then we passed for two points to senior Dorian Green and Llano was up 8-0 with 17 seconds off the clock. The very next play, the tone was set, as Llano kicked off. Senior Colton Center booted down to the 5 yardline, but a small bobble by the Crystal City returner was all it took and sophomore Nolan Keller was the first downfield to make the stop at the 8 yardline. At that moment players and fans alike knew this was something different. But could we keep it up?
Yep, sure could, and did. The defense lead by senior Wyatt Bauman and junior Brent Greenwood held the Javelina’s on their first series and forced a punt. Ray Dixon, Blake Dillard and Airon had key tackles. Two runs by Mason, and then Ben kept and went 31 yards down to the 11 yardline. A 10 yard pass from Ben to Mason put the ball on the one, where Ben took it in, and Llano was ahead 15-0 after Colton’s extra point. There was 6:19 left in the first quarter.
The Javelina’s are a good football team. Their next try was good. They drove the football 12 plays to get on the scoreboard. Defensive players with tackles were Bauman, Arredondo, Jaden, Miller, Heflin, Center, and continued excellent play by sophomore Ian Fletcher. Robert Alcala may have had his best game. Dillard gets better and is in on more tackles each game. All teams now must account each play of Ray Dixon and Dillard from their defensive end positions. Love the play of junior Kegan Greenhaw when he comes in to relieve Blake and Ray. Motor is turned up high. Jose Soliz, another sophomore is making a name for himself. Very good game. 2 technique #8 Hunter Roemer is really a deal killer on the inside. Hard to block. I would blitz him thru the gap every play!!! (Sorry Coach Slaughter, I sometimes have no control over my thoughts). Juan Mung, a senior really is strong in the middle. Great effort….and the secondary of Wyatt Casey, Heflin, Miller, Airon, Mat, Dalton, played well. Crystal City had to go to their passing game in the second half. Threw the ball 16 times with 9 completions…91 yards..all good with a great pass rush from up front. Heflin and Greenwood had outstanding plays. Cody would have had two more interceptions except for questionable calls by the silent referees. This aggravation was beyond many things I have seen….after every call, all referees meet and talked for what seemed like minutes. Sometimes they just waved off flags and went back to play!!!
Llano last won a playoff game before Friday night was in 2008, beating Glen Rose. This win was special. Do not remember, but have an idea the last time Llano beat an 8-2 team..I need to look that up. But I do know we have beat an 10-0 team. It can happen again. And again, we will be picked to lose by about 70 points. The number 6 team in Div. II, 4-A, Sinton. These guys will be good. But so is Llano. This is your legacy. This is your history. And when I tell you this, it is because Llano reputation goes back decades. No one wants to play Llano. # 1, you never know what you are going to get, but you do know they will hit you, and they never quit. Never. Beating Sinton this Friday night in San Antonio would be right up there with the great accomplishments of Llano football. I know this. I would rather be Llano and have nothing to lose, than Sinton….with everything to lose.
7 seconds…48 minutes….Llano 29 Sinton 21.