On a rain delayed game that began 20 minutes late due to a hard rain, the Llano Yellow Jackets lost more than the game in Sonora last Friday night. Five Jackets came out of the game with injuries that could shape the season. The 28-14 score was a better game than what appears.
By halftime, junior quarterback Ben Walling and sophomore Anthony Watson were on the sidelines with concussion type injuries, only to be determined to see if they can play against Brady this week. Senior Jaden Napolez came in at quarterback, and ran the team in a great effort. The Jackets settled down and ran the football with Mason Greenwood getting 171 yards rushing on 26 carries, and older brother Brent carrying 9 times for 42 yards. The 9th ranked 3-AAA Broncos built a 21-7 halftime lead, and Llano was able to put together a scoring drive late in the game to make it close. Josh Soliz kicked good on both the Jackets extra point tries. Llano was able to do some good things, but give credit where it was due. Sonora has won 41 games the last four seasons, and from this angle, they are headed to double digit wins again.
Llano’s defensive line played well. The rushing attack of the Broncos managed only 110 yards rushing, and the full return of senior Hunter Roemer was noticeable. Junior Ray Dixon continued to dominate inside with effort not seen in years. Senior Blake Dillard. as well as Kegan Greenhaw had good games. Brent and senior Kyle Cooper had good games. Cooper too came out of the game and did not return. Senior veteran John Heflin did not play. These two seniors are badly needed back ASAP.
Llano’s passing game just was non existent, with Walling and Jaden completing just two passes for 12 yards. Certainly the Jackets’ rushing attack for 264 yards with a healthy 6.2 yards per try is winning football. Junior Dakoda Trull, senior Cameron Hall, senior Roberto Alcala with Dixon played hard on the offensive line. Junior Hayden Cowart had his best game. He will keep improving. And so will the offense.
Big plays against the Jacket defense prevented a win. Pass plays by the veteran Bronco quarterback Kaden Cordell that covered 55 yards, 24 yards, 17 yards, 31 yards and 37 yards were back breakers. The passing defense for Llano got a stern test against the Broncos. It will not get easier this week against the Brady Bulldogs…
The over-all record with Brady is 25-25-2. A history that you could write a book about. The strong feelings with Brady go back decades. From a game in Llano in which the Bulldogs were leading in a game 64-6 and with seconds left in the game, lined up and attempted a field goal. Time after time, each team has managed to knock the other team out of district championships and play-offs spots. Cannot tell you how many track relay teams for Llano have been dis-qualified when running in track meets at Brady Stadium It became a joke for years and then…it was not funny. The long story when Llano lead Brady by 12 points in Brady, and then a lightening storm hit. A three hour delay. Brady came back after midnight to send the Jackets home with a loss. Or the time in Llano when the UIL referees never showed up. At 9 PM, everyone went home.
3-AAA or 20-AAAAA, Llano and Brady is a classic rivalry, and no love lost here. The Bulldogs were 7-4 last season, including beating Llano the last two years. Their entire offensive and defensive line return from that team last season. Brady always has speed. Pretty good combination to win. I look at their program names and see Jacoby, Bauer, Zapata, Schertner….all old names with history. Llano last beat the Bulldogs in 2006 and 2007. Former Llano Coach David Yeager told me after the 2007 game that Llano would never play the Bulldogs again!!! Never did tell me why? But, here we are again, facing a two game losing streak with this menace.
Llano can start our winning streak this Friday night. Brady will play their hardest when it comes to Llano. Llano players need to understand the urgency to play Brady like their lives depended upon it. The Jackets schedule will not get easier. Beating a good Bulldog team will right this ship. Beating Brady will prepare the Jackets for the remainder of the season. Beating Brady is important.
Offensive Player of the week: Mason Greenwood
Defensive Player of the Week: Ray Dixon
Llano 27 Brady 21