The Llano Yellowjackets’ first half against the Hondo Owls Friday night just about doomed any chance of a comeback. And while the first half for Llano was not good, the comeback and and complete change of energy showed promise that cannot be dismissed.
Hondo took the opening kickoff and in 9 plays scored with just 7:04 left in the quarter. 82 yards rushing, 8 passing and the Owls had 4 penalties that they overcame for 30 yards. Llano’s first series of the season was three and out. A fumble by the Owls set the scene with the Jackets on the 18 yard line. Took senior Dalton Moore one carry to score and we were tied 7-7 after Diego Miguel kicked good.
Hondo was on the march again. the quarter ended with the Owls on the Jackets’ 12 yard line. Hondo had run 19 plays for 147 yards rushing and one pass completion for 7. 6 plays were for more than 13 yards each. The Jackets had four plays. for 19 yards.
Jacket defenders were playing hard. Mason Baker, Presley Lynch, Kendall Downey, Drew Cooper, Mason Brooks, Logan Duggar, Tyler Lindell, and multiple plays by Quentin Franklin. But something happened about mid way in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, the Jackets started coming to life. Senior quarterback Cade Fly threw to sophomore Case Kuykendall in the flats and Case went 65 yards to score, until a yellow flag brought it back on holding. Cade on the next play hits a streaking #1, junior Quincy Prince over the middle and with speed to burn, Quincy was standing in the end zone for a 75 yard TD. The score was tied 14-14.
Again, in the second quarter, Hondo will have the ball 17 plays, the Jackets 12. Llano was 3 for 6 passing. Cade had a nice 33 yard run. Mason Brooks had two carries for 18 more. But Hondo rushed for 110 yards on 15 carries and scored with 1:23 left in the half.
Ryan Warner played great in the quarter. As did Justin Yocum, Lynch, Ethan Tisdale , and Christian Kirby. Franklin and Moore combined for a sac on the elusive Hondo quarterback, Brandon Garcia.
The second half looked and felt like a different game. Downey had a quarterback sac. Cooper was more aggressive and caused havac. And Cade found old reliable, senior Brooks Keele for a 12 yard gain. The turn around was Llano ran 16 plays, and Llano’s defense held Hondo to 10 plays, and a minus 19 yards rushing. Again, Guillermo Davila, Franklin, Warner, Jacob Cruz, Lynch, Downey, and Cooper played aggressive football. And at the end of the third quarter, with :02 left in the quarter, Garcia rolled out to his right from the 9 yard line, pitched out to his running back. Was not perfect, and junior Ryan Warner took it on one bounce and with two big steps was in the end zone. The score was 21-20. One thing I failed to mention, the Jackets had 30 yards in penalties in the quarter. Hondo had 35.
The Jacket defense held again with Cruz, Cooper and Downey making stops. Punting from their 34 yard line, Case Kuykendall caught the football with 3 Owls coming right at him. A juke here, and juke there, a race to the sidelines. Case makes the corner, and down the left sidelines he sped. 66 yards and Case puts Llano ahead. Llano failed at making 2, but the score was 26-21 Llano.
The Jackets could not get Hondo off the field on the next set of downs. The Owls ran the ball 8 times and three first downs. Forcing a punt from the 48 yard line, Llano took over on the 18. With about 4 minutes left in the game, Llano needed about three first downs. Cade got the first one by hitting Keel for a 17 yard gain up to the 31 yard line. But in the next three plays and only 4 yards, the Jackets punt.
Cade punted ball and it was rolling to the 4 yard line. The three yard line. The two yard line. The one. It looked like a Jacket was about to stop the ball from going into the end zone. but a slip and he too, with the ball crossed into the kill zone. And, as luck would have it, something I guess was said. 15 yards tacked on. Hondo now had the ball…not at the one yard line, but on the 35!!. A 69 yard punt by Cade. Hondo has the ball. But another Jacket 15 yard penalty, a 22 yard run by Garcia, and the Owls were on the Jacket 22 yard line. Garcia runs again for 11 more. Clock running. And a dart of a pass between three Jacket defenders and the game had changed in a matter of moments. Hondo had won with :04 left in the game, 29-26.
We must learn from our mistakes. 40 yards of penalties in the fourth quarter. 113 for the game. Every Jacket knows where the mistakes were made. Give the Owls credit for not giving up. Give the Jackets credit for such a strong turn around to take the lead, after such a poor and slow start.
This still can be a very good Jacket football team. The defense played very well for the most part. Yet, they were on the field for over 65 plays. The Jacket offense but 40. This week the Jackets will be working on their running game. Only about 78 yards rushing.
Llano has skill folks. Will need to get the ball, somehow more to Brooks, Moore, Case, Quincy, and Keele. All are very good play makers. Other will emerge. Senior quarterback Cade Fly will lead this season. And it starts this Friday night in Lulling.-
For some crazy reason, of late, the Jackets have played better on the road. Must be the food. Lulling made the playoffs last year in 14-3A, D1. The Jackets have won the last two contest against the Eagles, both playoff games.
Llano will win with a defense that can swarm. But must play every down. No plays off should be their new calling card. And the offense can start sooner. Offensive lineman. I thought you played better than advertised. But now you step it up. And Jackets….penalties are a killer. Discipline , discipline, discipline…Beat The Eagles.