The week is here for the first game of 2021. Could not come at a better time, and thank goodness. I think many of us have talked about and lied to each other about the 2020 team so much that now we need new material. On the field comes the 2021 Jackets.
I thought after the first game last season, that Gatesville was a good and young football team. Llano jumped in early and never let up. Gatesville was playing hard at the end of the 45-16 romp. I expect nothing less from the Hornets and former State Champions ( 2000). Last season Gatesville went 4-6, fighting back from an 0-10 record in 2019. Gatesville made the play-offs last season in a district that had Salado (11-2), and China Springs(10-3) in a tough 4-A District. Their high school enrollment of 851 is nearly 350 greater than LHS.
The Jackets return 6 offensive starters, and 4 return on defense. The nine seniors will be leaned on heavily. All contributed last year. More will be expected in 2021. Senior starters will be lead by quarterback Maddox Green. Maddox was 2nd team All-District at wide receiver last season. Able Prince too was second team All-District at running back. Able ran on the State qualifying 4 X 100 record breaking relay team. The school record had stood for 55 years.
Matthew Whitley anchored a very strong group on the offensive line. Matthew was All-District first team last season. Zach Watson at 255 pounds was great as a junior, and was Honorable Mention All-District. He and Whitley will carry much of the leadership role. Senior Kaden Raborn returns and also may see time on defense.
Bode Gann returns at running back. His quickness and speed will be needed badly. A tough runner. Seniors Jenin Basteyns, Aiden Guido and Gunner Ivy all can make strong contributions.
Seniors like the 9 above all have a roll. Coaches find their rolls. And sometimes the players figure out ways to make themselves valuable. Their senior season is the time to step up.
It looks like Llano will have about 24 freshman, sophomores and juniors on the team. The over-all makeup is the Jackets are a young team. May take more than a few plays for everyone to feel comfortable and then feel confident. Building that team confidence begins this Friday night in Gatesville.