From most perspectives, the offense fuels the motor, that makes things goes. Great football teams play on both sides of the football. The Llano Yellowjackets now have a 5-0 record after taking down the # 14 2-AA Ballinger Bearcats at Jacket Stadium Friday night, 34-0. The defense showed up too.
The Jacket offense is averaging over 40 points per game. Great numbers on anyones scale. But the 55 points allowed in 5 games are numbers not seen since the days of defensive coordinator Karl McCormack’s days in the mid to late 1990s’. Under Head Coaches John Parchman, Leon Fueller, and later “Coach Mac”, the Jackets lead with defense. 25 years or so…ago.
I’ve have been saying since last year, few could match Llano’s linebackers. Middle linebacker Mason Baker, a starter for three years has been the leader of such a group. But with graduation, expectations could afford to be lessened. In steps not seen, sophomores Ricky de la Torre and Hayden Manahan lined up next to Mason, and a beat has not been missed. Put seniors Michael Silva in the mix with Anthony Ysalis and you have a tremendous group of linebackers. Then bring in sophomore Jackson Rhea on the defensive line. You would think that would be enough. But Jackson lines up with All District performers Cade Ligon and Guillermo Davila, both seniors. Insert also, senior Lance pierce, who leads the team in total tackles, and has two fumble recoveries and an interception. The line is aggressive and quick. Lined up with any combination of our front 7, you have the makings of …maybe…a great defense.
I said before, I love our secondary. Seniors Aiden Cuthbertson and Luke Keller. Newcomer but old hand and senior Austin Hulon make these seniors a fabalous group. Junior Abel Prince at the other cornerback put athletes at all four spots. All have interceptions this year. But Dillon Milum, a senior, is fighting for more playing time.
With Ballinger backed up on their own 6 yard line in the third quarter, the Bearcats quarterback broke the line of scrimmage. Off trying to get to the sidelines, but with great athletism, cornerback Luke Keller stayed out in front making the fleet quarterback to have to weave back in forth. But he made it to the sidelines. And from afar, came linebacker Dillon Milum out racing all to pull the runner down from behind, after a 74 yard run. No one knew Dillon was fast…too. But to put an end to any threat of a Bearcat score, three plays later, Dillon stepped in front of the of the Bearcat pass, and added an interception to his resume.
Just a mention, but so important. Going down on kick offs and covering punts sometimes is nothing but effort and hard work. Baker, Abel, Michael Silva, Ricky, And Zane Toney-Fielding along with the tackleing machine, Diego Perez, all had great effort on special teams.
The Jackets scored 34 points in the first half Friday. Case Kuykendall had is hand in all five Tds. Two runs, three passes. One to Maddox Green for 35 yards, after a one handed catch, and two by Quincy Prince. A 52 and a 32 yarders from Case. Llano slowed the ball game down after the half. Abel, senior Bode Gann, and Austin had their hands on the running game the second half. Senior Jake Self too got several carries. All sound players in the running game.
The Somerset game this week has been cancelled. If I were Somerset, I would not want to play Llano either.
Two weeks off. Jackets have several players that might can get well. Several just could use a break. The 5-0 Jackets still have a long road ahead. Comfort in our District is next, October 9 here in Llano. Comfort is 5-0. This will be the third week in a row that Llano plays an undefeated team. No one is going to be easy. Getting prepared mentally is just as important as physically being prepared. Fans too, can rest up. Saw Todd Keller before the San Saba game. Had his game face on, and was preparing for a good game. It paid off. We’re all in on this season. But a rest maybe good.