The Llano Yellowjackets secured a minimum of a tie for the District 13, 3AAA Title Friday night with a win over State ranked # 19 Blanco in a tough contest at Jacket Stadium. The Jackets went 5-0 at home this season, and secured the number one seed in the State Play-offs that begin in three weeks, the week of November 13th.
This Jacket team does not make it easy on the heart. What looked like a walk in the park, the Jackets scored on their first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead with but 10:37 left in the second quarter. But our neighbors, the Blanco Panthers weren’t ready to give the game ball to Llano. Blanco put their high powered offense into gear, and scored on 9 plays to inch closer. The extra point by the Panthers was blocked by junior Abel Prince that would change things significantly later in the game. Next thing we know, Llano fumbles, and the Panthers run it in for a TD. This time, Blanco converts on a 2 point try and the score is 21-14 at half-time.
The first half saw the Jackets at their best. Senior quarterback Case Kuykendall on the second play rounded right end and went 70 yards for the Jackets’ first score. Senior Diego Perez kicked good. Diego would kick all six of his extra points Friday night. Case would complete passes of 18 and 7 yards to junior Maddox Green, as well as an 8 yard catch to Abel. Then Case hit Abel for 19 yards and the TD for the Jackets second score of the game.
Great offensive line blocking continued for the Jackets. Senior Dalton Enberg, junior Matthew Whitley and senior Colin Mayes were hitting on all cylinders. Strong play against a very good Blanco defensive line. Seniors Jared Beasley and Trevor Cowan blocked very good downfield. Blanco was a very good football team. The Panthers still have two more games in District play. I expect them to win both, and carry a very strong 8-2 record into the play-offs.
Senior Austin Hulon had his best game as a Jacket. He scored from 22 yards out to put Llano up 21-0. He had 10 tackles playing safety with super senior Aiden Cuthbertson. In the fourth quarter, Austin took a swing pass from Case, and down the sidelines went the fleet footed back. 90 yards for the TD. I think this ties for second spot in the record book for longest pass reception, bettered only by teammate Quincy Prince from last season. ( I have put a few records into the book this year, but most will be entered in late December!!)
Blanco took the second half kick-off and went 74 yards on 13 plays to get closer. Llano stopped the 2 point extra point try and lead 21-20 This sparked the Jackets. The Jackets scored on their next drive. Runs by Case and Austin neted 14 yards. On first down, into the game senior Quincy Prince, Jacket record holder, after not playing for 1 1/2 games due to an injury. Right back to his old self. Case hit Quincy in perfect stride steaking over the middle for a 23 yard gain, first down, and Jackets set up on the 35 yardline. 28 yards by Case on two runs. Then Abel runs in the last 7 yards for the Jacket lead of 28-20.
The Jacket defense held the Panthers on fourth down. Cade Ligon again topped the team in stops with 11. Guillermo Davilla was strong in the middle. Jaxson Rhea, and Lance Pierce put the pass rush on, holding the Panthers to 137 passing for the game. Linebackers Mason Baker, Ricky de la Torre, Hayden Manahan, and Michael Silva play so strong. Mason got another interception in the fourth quarter to set up Case getting the final TD for the final score of 42-26. Senior Luke Keller along with Dillon Milum and Anthony Ysaia played ever so steady.
The Jackets have taken on all comers. The 8-0 start is topped only by two other Jacket teams with starts at the beginning of the season. LLano plays Lulling this week to close out the regular season. Not kidding anyone, the Eagles have had a rough season, but will be playing their hearts out on the final game on their home field. They have nothing to lose. The Jackets must use this game to get better. To make no mistakes. To take this game lightly would be a serious mistake. Reason is Llano has an off week in the final week of the regular season. Then the play-offs. Getting better each week is how Llano makes this season very special. In a serious atmosphere, and a long road trip to Lulling, Jackets go to 9-0.