The 2019 Llano Yellowjackets were the most prepared Jacket team I have seen in many years. Playing 115 miles away on the first game of the season can be a tough task. Especially when you remember the last two games between these two teams. Hondo beating Llano, in Llano in the first game of the 2018 season, winning on the last play. The Jackets returned the favor in the first play-off game last year, winning on a backbreaking 91 yard to pass and run to advance. I feared a long hard night in Hondo.
I was wrong. The Jackets dominated the District Favorite in 14-4A. The 16 starters returning for Hondo were stuffed and tared. Hondo never saw what hit them. All becasue the Jackets were so much better prepared. Give Llano Coaches a hand. They had these 2019 Yellowjackets ready to play not seen…in a long time.
I loved what Llano did on offense. Braxton Vickers throwing for 220 yards to 5 different receivers. Case Kuykendall with 94 of those receiving yards on 6 catches…and Quincy Prince with 4 catches and 98 yards. But I think senior Donaven Arrellano may have stole the show with 99 yards rushing on 19 carries. This balance was run perfect. No…not perfect. But it was good. And an offensive line that played like it was the fifth game of the year. Lead by Heath Godfrey and Jose Villa. Both seniors. Senior Lewis McTighe in his first varsity start was sound, sound. And juniors Luke Hicks and Dalton Endberg are going to be good. They aspire for more.
The Jacket defense played lights out from the get go. Where do I start? The front three of Llano could not be blocked by Hondo’s front five or six or seven. Guillermo Villa is all we thought he was. A dominating nose tackle with a motor going all time. Chased people down from behind. Returning starter Jose Villa is nothing but solid. Always in position. And new comer Jansen Morris, with 9 tackles is a beast. Do not think he was ever blocked. Wow. Hondo had a hard enough time running the ball. I had them with a total of 74 yards. But the Jackets front three did their main task, keeping blockers off the Jacket linebackers. The Jacket linebackers are nothing but fast, fast, fast. Few running backs will turn the corners on these flyers. In no order, Quentin Franklin, Mason Baker, Logan Duggar, John Roberts, Arron Inge, Juan Flores. ( Ryan Warner injured at this time). All flew to the ball. Great gang tackling. And should these 7 upfront fail, we gots more to come. A secondary as strong as any in recent times. Luke Keller, Justin Yocum, Joseph Reed, Randall Murray, Jared Beasley, and returning for his senior year, Arron Brown who had a fumble recovery. Made tackles all over the field. I loved it in the last few minutes of the game, the Jacket Coaches put the secondary starters back on the field to preserve the shutout. These secondary players are a serious group. Not to be fooled with. And while the entire defense played so strong, had newcomes like Edgardo Resnediz, Matthew Whitley , Cade Ligon , Jacob Bubenik, Jake Self and Trevor Cowan all come in and contribute. This certainly was a complete team win. A team prepared to win.
Preparing for a team that on paper looks pretty weak, is a giant killing way to lose your focus. The Jackets had a great week one (Actually 0). But to not work even harder for the next contest is immature and foolish. I really think this Jacket team team could become special. Elite. But you only become elite if you get better every day. You bare down harder in practice. Yes, harder than last week. You only become elite if you stay focused, and remember one play changes a game. And you all become the leaders of making every practice play count for something. Lulling, Cuero, and Navarro all plan on winning this week. Llano must plan the same. Working toward becoming elite is a season long task.
Not to forget. Diego Miguel hit his first three extra points Friday night, but missed on his fourth try. I’m glad he got that missed one out of the way. Jared Beasley came in for the Jackets second half kick offs and done good!
Lulling might have a pretty good football team. We will find out Friday night if they worked hard this week in practice and decided to come to Llano and put their first game of the season behind them. Llano needs to play like this game is their last. An elite team would be thinking that way.