For all of the great effort by the Llano Yellow Jackets Friday night against power house Geronimo Navarro, the good effort does not make us feel any better. Navarro is a combined 42-4 over the past four seasons. They average over 40 points per game and nearly 500 yards per game on offense. Llano’s play in the 21-7 lose was closer than the score. And the Panthers likely have no interest in playing Llano again. Still, disappointment could be seen on every players face and posture.
The 7-7 halftime score tells some of the story. Navarro had about 75 yards total offense at halftime, and finished the game at about one-half of their regular production…this coming on their home field. I can easily say that this Jacket defense is the best I have seen in a decade. Our front down lineman are relentless. Seniors Daniel Sparks, Ray Dixon, Josh Soliz, Austin Humphrey, and a player really coming on strong, Dalton Bauman. Our linebackers are unmatched with anyone we play. Ian Fletcher and Luis Coronado are just great. No other way of putting it. Add in the wonderful play of Tyler Lindell, Logan Duggar, Christian Kirby, Quint Pincelli, Donavan Arellano, Mason Brooks, and Cameron Johnson. The play is just so good. And our secondary is so improved. Tyler Gann and Aaron Brown are playing at all district levels. Gage Cox makes play after play. Jacob Cruz and Ethan Tisdale great role players. Ethan had 3 tackles on one drive. Brooks too had multiple tackles. Presley Lynch, Kendall Downey, Kaleb Dodson, and the return of Drew Cooper have helped to make this defense memorable and fun to watch. The confidence they have after 7 games has put this defense in a position of not being intimidated by anyone. This group is becoming hardened and tough.
Play of the offense is a finer tuned violin. For this multiple offense to work, timing needs to be near perfect. At many times, it is. When the offense gets off just a bit, it becomes hard to keep a drive going. Three Jacket drives were for 8 plays or more. The Jacket TD was only 6 plays, but blame Cade Fly for that. He took it to the house the final 44 yards before halftime to even the score at 7-7. Reliable Diego Garcia kicked true, again.
A funny side note is I , and many others talk about the offense and the defense as if they were two different teams…but in many instances, these players are one and the same. Dixon, Sparks, Brooks, Brown, Fletcher, Dakota Trull, Dodson, Keller, Thomas Adams, and Hayden Cowert have all seen playing from both sides. It is not like you can play real hard on one side of the ball, and rest on the other. At times Llano is carrying over 35 players on the varsity. This added depth is and will be needed. Llano has several injuries now…all are needed back.
Other than the (L), Llano is playing hard tough football. And it gets no easier this week. But I would think after how Llano played Navarro at Navarro, the Jackets see the Wimberley Texan game as an opportunity. The Texans have easily beat the Jackets over the past several years. No doubt they will not be taking Llano serious. It should be an insult to the Jacket players not to be considered relevant. The Texans were #6 rated in the State last week. The Texans are coming to Jacket Stadium Friday night. Sure would be a good time for the Jackets to show how good of a football team they have become.