It was not pretty, nor assured, but the Llano Yellow Jackets wore down a weak Bandera team at Bandera Friday night to claim third place in District 13 4AAAA Div. II. The win puts the Jackets into the State Playoffs for the second year in a row and the third time in Coach Craig Slaughters five years in Llano. The 4-6 Jackets have the final week of the season as their “OPEN” date, and will take this week to mend and prepare.
In a nutshell, Llano played sluggish…I guess. The Jackets opened by taking the opening kick-off from the 44 yard line after Bandera did an on side kick to open the game. Senior Travis Wright secured the kick and Llano began an 8 play drive that was stopped on the Bandera 36 yard line. But on Bandera’s first play, a fumble caused by senior Blake Dillard and junior Ray Dixon had Llano back with the ball. Six plays later senior Brent Greenwood scored from 3 yards out. With Mason Greenwoods’ run for two points, Llano lead 8-0.
Again, on Bandera’s first play after the kick-off, Brent Greenwood stepped in front of a pass and had his first of two interceptions for the night. Next a Jacket fumble. Then a Bandera score. The second quarter may go into some kind of record book, but I have not started the “strangest things” book…yet.
Bandera on side kicked again. This time they got the ball. Llano held, but had a 10 yard penalty, one of 9 for the night. Bandera took the ball for three first downs, but were forced to punt. Llano fumbled. Llano forced another punt. But not after Bandera had run 7 plays, 6 for negative yards, and one incompletion. Bandera punted again after very strong line play from Dillard, Dixon, seniors Hunter Roemer, Kegan Greenhaw and linebacker Ian Fletcher. Llano was three and out. Bandera then takes it down on 8 plays for a TD. Llano had two 15 yard penalties on Bandera’ drive. The Bulldogs lead at halftime 13-8.
Llano had run 7 plays in the quarter, 7 yards rushing, and 1 for 4 passing for minus 2 yards. 3 penalties for 40 yards. Bandera ran the ball 17 times for a minus 3 yards. The Bulldogs were 2 of 6 passing for 11 yards. Total: 8 yards in the quarter, but came away with 13 points.
Only with about 3 minutes left in the third quarter was Brent able to get his second interception and Llano was able score with 1:31 left in the quarter to take the score to 14-13. New fullback, junior Josh Soliz caught a screen pass from quarterback Ben Walling and Josh bulldozed down to the 9 yard line and a 25 yard gain. Brent caught a 7 yard pass from Walling that put the Jackets ahead for good.
Llano dominated the fourth quarter. Bandera managed a minus 12 yards rushing, and completed two passes for 15 yards. Llano had over 106 yards rushing on 15 carries, and threw one incomplete pass. Senior John Heflin scored with 3:17 left in the game on a 24 yard burst right up the middle to score. John too added the two point after run, and Llano had 22. John finished the game with 93 yards on 17 carries. Mason carried 22 times and had 113 yards rushing.
This game Llano played down to its competition. But does not matter now. A win is a win. The 4-6 Jackets must start the mental conditioning of being ready in two weeks to play Bi-District. The mental mistakes Friday night were not from lack of effort. The 9 penalties were just horrible. Must be corrected. Taking two weeks off can be a killer, or a produce a big time bust of getting ready to play. The Jackets have a second life. It can be short lived if the next 12 days are not cashed in on. This is a moment the seniors must take charge. Getting win # 5 should be the most important thing you have ever done.
Must mention the offensive line and blockers. Played pretty good. Cameron Hall, a senior is playing at a top level. So too is junior Austin Humphrey. Play of Robert Alcala, Dakoda Trull, Christian Conway, Nolan Keller, Hayden Cowart, and T. Lindell, all have gotten better. Jason Gann, Shane Flint and Anthony Watson block good downfield. Ray, and Jaden Napolez are studs. Great effort. Ian Fletcher is an all district linebacker.
Our secondary is the most improved. Tyler Gann, and Anthony Watson. Keep it up. Brent as the leader. Drew Cooper. And Kyle Cooper has really played great. Keep getting better, and you keep playing.
We will take another look in a few days. But new goals need to be set. Llano can play with many teams. Winning in Bi District is where it starts.