The Llano Yellowjackets will kick off the 2021 football season Friday night with a scrimmage at Jacket Stadium against close neighbor, the Mason Punchers.
Llano is coming off the most successful season in football history. The 13-1 record is unmatched, with only the 1997 11-1 record coming close. Forever, or until Llano matches the 2021 record, or when the Jackets travel deep into the play offs (5 Games deep) will that new high bar not be compared.
It just comes with the territory. Three first team All-State players in Case Kuykendall, Cade Ligon and wide receiver Quincy Prince have graduated. But every one of the the other 17 seniors contributed. Not just some. To a player, the seniors were the best ever. Every single one. 15 seniors received post season recognition on the 13-3A Div. 1 All District team. Most ever in school history. The Bar is high. But what an opportunity for this 2021 team. You have to reach high up in the tree to get the sweetest peaches. Expectations are high. And I expect this 2021 team to add to the Jacket legacy.
Coach Matt Green was named 3AAA Coach of the year in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine. First time ever by a Yellowjacket Coach. Coach Green and his staff return for the 2021 season. The “culture change” that Coach Green spoke about several years ago has begun. The change really began to change in the 2019 season. And it was about expectations. You could see the results on the field. The Jackets expected to win. And the 2020 season every game, Llano expected to win. No longer “hoping to win”…..or wanting to win. The Jackets entered every game expecting to win. The culture on the LHS campus is every single team now expects to win every game. Every contest.
With 20 seniors in the rear view mirror, Llano looks ahead. With what many might think of as a young team with little experience, that is not the case at all. The juniors and sophomores have all won since they were 7th graders. The seniors are veterans. Their leadership will be invaluable. The Jackets return two of the best junior linebackers Llano has ever seen. Hayden Manahan and Ricky De La Torre as sophomores were down right mean. The offensive line returns Zach Watson, Ross Edwards and Matthew Whitley. Tremendous lineman. And no one will be more appreciative than senior Abel Prince at running back, and senior quarterback Maddox Green. Both of these highly skilled players will be stirring the drink this season, but not without the yoemans help of Zach, Matt and Ross. Jaxon Rhea as a sophomore was dominating on the defensive line. The young junior will make very team we face have to address him and find him on every play. Forgetting where Jaxon is will make teams pay.
Very good players returning for 2021. Many others that got playing time on the varsity in 2020 will add to the experience. Expectations are high. Next week we will start filling in blanks on so many other Jackets. We scrimmage in San Angelo on the 19th of August, a Thursday. And then travel to Gatesville for the season opener, August 27th. Gatesville will be a bear. Great first game for Llano.