The Llano Yellowjackets found Beeville a good place to play a football game. In the Area game Friday night, Llano played a very sound football team in the Lyford Bulldogs. Lyford threw the football over 40 times against Llano, the most by any team this season. Llano on the other hand, threw the football the fewest times it has all season. The 7 of 11 passing by senior quarterback Case Kuykendall for 129 yards was efficient. And enough.
Rather do a play by play blow of the Lyford game, will go a little faster for some of you.
Lyford knew they might be outmanned, and thus did an on-side kick to the Jackets opening the game and Llano recovered. With a short field, the Jackets opened with senior Austin Hulon gaining 8 yards from his I-Back position. Case for 6, a 15 yard penalty by the Bulldogs. A fumble by Llano, and the Lyford offense set up on the 22 yard line. Lyford ran twice, and passed 6 times, and on the seventh pass, Austin from his safety position intercepted and ran the ball back to the Lyford 38 yard line. Abel Prince now at the running back position, ran for 21 yards, 2 two yards, 8 more yards and the final 5 for the Jackets first TD. Senior Diego Perez kicked true (as always) and the score was 7-0 Llano with 6:05 left in the quarter.
The teams exchanged punts on the next series, with the Jacket defense getting the Bulldogs quarterback for a 22 yard lose. Luke Keller, Mason Baker, Lance Pierce, Cade Ligon and Guillermo Davilla were the mischief makers.
After another Jacket defensive stop, Llano scored before the end of the quarter in three plays. Case hit Quincy Prince for a 20 yard gain down to the 35 yard line. Again Case to Quincy for 17 more. And Case takes it the final 18 yards for the TD. Llano 14, Lyford 0. Line blocking was solid. Zach Watson and Matthew Whitley, both juniors , and sophomore Ross Edwards are just plain good. Senior Trevor Cowan lining up often at the tight end position is a very good blocker. Case and Austin and Abel think so too!!
The Bulldogs then showed why they are in the Area play offs. The Bulldogs ran for twenty, and then completed a 13 yard pass. Still good energy from the Jackets. Sophomore linebackers Ricky de la Torre and Hayden Manahan both made several stops. But on third down and 12, the Bulldogs scored. 14-8.
The Jackets had a poor series, yet Abel caught an eight yard pass, and Quincy caught a pass for 14 more. The Bulldogs drove for 6 plays, but Mason, Ricky and senior Michael Silva made stops. Then Abel pounced on a loose football and Llano was set up on the 24 yard line. Case ran twice for 8 yards. Abel for 2. Case then broke loose for a patented “Kuykendall” run of 33 yards, down to the 29 yard line. Austin knew he better get his time in, so he took it to the house right up the middle for the final 29 yards and with Diego’s help, the Jackets lead 21-8. Blocks by senior center Dalton Enberg and Luke Hicks sprung Austin. The half ended with the Bulldogs throwing the football 10 times for 7 completions. Senior Aiden Cuthbertson, Luke and Austin defused the situation, with only 41 yards gained.
Give the Bulldogs credit. They came out smoking in the third quarter. A 29 yard completion and a 41 yard completion got two first downs and were sitting on Llano’s 19 yard line. Davila and Cade, along with sophomore Jaxon Rhea were working hard chasing the Bulldog quarterback. Still he scored from 10 yards out and the score with two more extra points was 21-16. Ok, we got this….but wait..
Lyford onside kicks, usually the Jackets best play. The Bulldogs recovered. …Not to get “concerned”. Back on the field goes the Llano defense. Lyford gained 13 yards and a first down. But on fourth and 13, the Bulldogs gained 12! Aiden, Luke, Mason and Lance all stepped up big. Llano settled down. 8 running plays. Case, Abel, and Austin. Blocking sound by senior Colin Mayes and junior Jesus Chacon. Three first downs and from the 37 yard line, again goes Austin for the TD. Diego good…28-16.
Llano scored on the next series, after the Bulldogs failed on a fourth down try. A 30 yard gain with a Case pass to solid receiver Jared Beasley…yet this was not just solid. The one handed catch was spectacular. A wow moment for all…where is the replay screen??? Jared had Llano on the two yard line. Abel takes the hand-off and scores.. Diego kicks…42-16.
Llano ran only 7 plays in the fourth quarter. But sophomore Miguel Hernandez, injured for much of this season, was still wanting to play. Case set up the next play with a pass to junior Maddox Green. A run of 6 yards by Miguel. And from his back field position, and off he went. Blocks by Maddox, Quincy and Abel and Jared and Trevor…Miguel weaved and with great speed scored from 75 yards out. What a run…and what a relief. Great play by so many.
Lots of defense in the last stanza. Carson Kuykendall saw action. Senior Jake Self, a great utility role player with speed had several strong plays. Love the play of Daniel Sandefel. Always hustling. Dalton Milum has played so good. Good solid senior. And seems like he is always around the ball, senior Anthony Ysais. These players are the strong suite of the Jacket team.
Only 16 Class 3 AAA, Division 1 teams left in State Play-offs. At the beginning of the season, District 14, Jourdanton was ranked ahead of Llano. Jourdanton was 10-2 last season. They are familiar with this position. Their 11-1 record this season is very solid. A very strong passing team with a returning quarterback , Cole Andrus. He threw for 2,750 yards last season. Nice accomplishment. These guys are the real deal. And so is Llano.
The 11-0 record equals the most wins in Yellowjacket history. The 1997 Jackets went 11-0, then lost 13-7 to Cuero in the Area game. But both the 2007 and the 1973 teams went three deep into the playoffs. The 9-4 record in 2007, and the 9-3-1 record in 1973 were so special. But, I’ve asked myself for several weeks…”who would I rather play”?. I would not want to play Llano.
Llano has played some very good teams. Undefeated Ballinger, San Saba, Comfort. Our District so good. Blanco just lost Friday night to Vanderbilt Industrial 45-42. Lago Vista beat Orange Grove. So those two play this Friday afternoon at 2 PM. Llano and Jourdanton play at 6 PM.
The game against Lyford this week has helped Llano. Our defense got to see a team that throws on most all plays. The “tired” factor is important, as you chase all the time. But Llano gets stronger as the game goes forward. Our lineman seem to get energized. It is our strength.
Coach Green has our team at a point where we know we can throw the football. Have thrown it as many as 37 times in a game. And now with Case, Abel, Austin and Miguel, we know we can run the football. 327 yards rushing against Lyford. Our offensive lineman can handle any situation. They feel comfortable run blocking. And they all can pass block.
The Jackets are making history. And I’d rather play Jourdanton. Llano rolls to 12-0.