At halftime in Lulling I was thinking how much more I thought the Jacket defense had improved. Improved from an attitude stand point. Aggressive, all out pursuit. Gang tackling. Playing with heads up and seeing action as it happens. I wrote about this last year when Llano had one of the best defensive front fours in recent memory. Most of those players were seniors. But Drew Cooper was a junior.
Playing hard every play on defense is not a sometime thing. To be good, you take no plays off. To be very good, you push harder every play, and everyone around you sees that kind of “never let up”. Drew Cooper had that last year. He carries it over this year. And at this early part of the season, it is hard to see this seasons front four on defense being the run stuffers those were last year. But a different kind play has started to take shape.
The front four is smaller. Drew at times plays on the inside, not defensive end. I see Kendall Downey moving inside. Then junior Quentin Franklin lines up outside. Guillermo Davila plays several places. Jacob Cruz gets tackles from everywhere, so I can’t see where he line up! I bet these four guys are outweighed by 100 pounds from last seasons front four. But quick? My, my. Do these players know how to be a menace. And they do so in such a nasty and aggressive way, that the Jacket linebackers make most of the tackles.
Drew gets some of this credit. This senior leads by example. A great example. The Jacket defense, so far this season, plays like Drew.
Junior Ryan Warner, Sophomore Matt Baker, Junior Logan Duggar, Junior Jacob Cruz, senior Tyler Lindell, senior Kaleb Dodson all, are playing good. This group I think, competes against itself. Everyone of these linebackers expect, and want to be the top tackler on the team. This is just fun to see.
The secondary at this point in the season is tackling as good as I have seen it in years. When they get to the ball carrier, then just do not let go. Senior Presley Lunch, junior Justin Yocum, senior Dalton Moore, junior Quincy Prince, senior Mason Brooks, sophomore Dylan Inge, senior Christian Kirby, and senior Thomas Adams. Please keep this up. Great effort all.
I had senior quarterback Cade Fly passing for 143 yards, on 12 of 23 passes. 3 touchdown runs. Mason Brooks is the workhorse carrying the load up the middle and a touchdown. Dalton runs very tough. Ethan Tisdale good reliable receiver with 2 catches. But, Cade has few favorites. 8 Jackets caught passes Friday night. Dalton with 3. Downey with 2. And on first down and 30 yards for a first down, Cade hit Case Kuykendall for a big 46 yard gain and a first down, all the way to the 15 yard line. I see good things in this offense. Consistency could make it dangerous. Penalties still slow it down.
Sophomore Case Kuykendall got our show rolling Friday night when on the first play, he outran everyone on a 64 yard romp and a Diego Miguel extra point had Llano ahead 7-0 with but 14 seconds off the clock. I like playing when we are ahead.
Love the effort from the guys playing on our special teams. Hustle and effort is all it takes. Brooks Keele, junior Donaven Arrellano. Warner. Lynch. Cooper. Kirby. Dodson. Senior Joe Pagany. And Case returning punts. Senior Iver Godo kicked his first varsity extra points. Now 2 for 2. He and Diego both nice to have.
For many, this week is a very important game. The Brady Bulldogs. One of the Jackets oldest rivalries. Over-all record is 26-26-2. That means it has been very close. But nothing…nothing is better than beating Brady…in Brady. Just a touch of a reminder. In 1964 ( 54 years ago) In Llano, Brady was ahead 64-6. With seconds left in the game, Brady drove down, and called time out. Then lined up to kick a field goal. They missed. But few ever forget such shameful behavior. I will continue to remind.
See you in Brady.