The 2019 Llano Yellowjackets will play the Hondo Owls for the 3rd time in a 12 month period of time. Last August Llano got beat with :04 seconds on the clock by a score of 29-26 playing in Llano. Then the Jackets returned the favor beating Hondo in the first state playoff round in overtime on a 91 yard TD pass. It crushed the Owls hope of a play-off win. Llano got their first play-off win under third year coach Matt Green.
Hondo, playing at home will be tough. They always are. And the taste in their mouths may have stayed their since last November! Hondo, too is loaded. 16 Starters back from last season. Finished last season with a 6-5 record. Experience at quarterback and running back. Picked to win their 14-4A D 11 District.
The Jackets may have the most speed ever! But how does that translate to Friday nights? It should for the offense. While our quarterback situation may not be settled, in my mind, it is a great place to be. Senior Braxton Vickers coming off lots of experience guilding the JV last season with lots of success. Case Kuykendall, a do it all player, and can play and line up at many positions. Braxton can confuse, lining up at receiver. Expecting running back Donovan Arrellano to carry a load, running behind all -district lineman Heath Godrey, and experienced Jose Villa, Luke Hicks, and Cade Ligon. Others will develop. I understand we will see very experienced Justin Yocum at running back, as well as playing in the secondary. A very good player last season as a junior. And did I say receivers? Record holder Quincy Prince with great speed can go deep. Averaged over 30 yards per catch as a junior. Also expect to hear from Jared Beasley, Aaron Brown and Luke Keller. Our quarterbacks will have receivers.
The Jackets have had great linebackers in the past. Go back 50 years. Lloyd Beasley, Larry Stovall. Go back 25-30 years, Mark Joy, Rick Sturdivant. Corby Walker, Roy Kent, Randy Reven, Ricky Napolez…all great linebackers.
This season, Llano could have the best three we have ever had. Could.! But last season, Mason Baker, Quentin Franklin, Logan Duggar and Ryan Warner had few peers. Sure tacklers. All ran to the ball and never stopped. I felt safe when Llano was on defense. It has been a few years since I could say that.
Guillermo Davilla has big big shoes to fill. The last three years Llano has had monsters on the defensive line. Davilla returns. His only duties include sacking the other teams quarterback, chasing down running backs, and keeping blockers off our linebackers. He can’t do it all, but help can come from returner Jacob Cruz and Jose Villa. With a strong pass rush, the secondary can play a little more relaxed. And hopefully pick off a few passes. Yocum, Brown and Keller, all with speed, could too, become special.
Last season as an extra point and field goal kicker, Diego Miguel Perez put himself into the Jacket record book in many places. He was a sophomore. As a junior, we hope for near the same. Diego made his first varsity extra point last season against Hondo. Diego missed his first extra point as a varsity player last season against Hondo. He never missed again
The fun for me is not only watching the players I knew from last season, but getting to know the players that are new. New to the varsity. Some new to being a Yellowjacket. I’m fired up. I know these players are hungary. I think most feel that 7 wins is in the rearview mirror. These Jackets could be special. And it will take a special effort to beat a good Hondo team Friday night. I feel they will.