The Llano Yellowjackets beat 5-A Austin Crockett 37-7 Friday night at Homecoming for Llano. The win put the Jackets at 2-1 for the season, and was the 8th straight win for Llano at Jacket Stadium. The Jackets travel to long time rival San Saba this Friday night playing at San Saba.
The Jackets are playing better. And that is the key. Fewer mistakes each week, few penalties, better tackling, better blocking and more heads up play. Llano exchanged punts with Crockett the first two series. But with 8:01 in the first quarter senior quarterback Maddox Green hit junior Ross Prokop for an 11 yard TD catch. Jackson Dillard kicked good and Llano lead 7-0.
The old adage that defenses are ahead of offenses at the beginning of seasons. True to form in Llano. The defense held Crockett to 22 yards of offense in the first quarter, and a heads up play by Isaiah Bush with his first varsity interception saved Llano from the play before in which Llano fumbled a punt on the 20 yard line. Llano then drove 76 yards on 11 plays to take a 13-0 lead after the first quarter. Strong runs by Carson Kuykendall, Maddox and junior Miguel Hernandez kept the attack balanced. Catches from Maddox to Sam Sueltenfuss for 13 yards, four more by Jackson, and the final 3 yard TD to Sam for the score.
The Jacket defense is playing at mid season form. No one player playing harder than the others. The defensive line is outstanding, lead by junior Jaxon Rhea and senior Zach Watson. The linebackers clean up every play. Two year starters Ricky De La Torre and Hayden Manahan along with new starter Fitz Kennedy can’t be out worked.
And the secondary. Sam and Isaiah, along with Caden Bauman and Briggs Green are making statements and are sure tacklers. Junior Ryan Turner is making a hand. This group could be very good. Newcomer Bryce Mize makes plays. Sophomores Tanner Howell, Donavan Simmons, Cole Franklin and Dylan Kennedy are going to be good. Junior River Smith is making plays in the line. So many are stepping up. And there are others, but this is what a fan can now expect. A Jacket team that improves, with new names and faces being counted. Improvement each week is the key. Llano has seven very tough weeks ahead. Getting better is the only way to keep taking that next step up.
Love seeing the special team hustle from Aiden Guido, Coy Kelso, Cole Franklin, Brock Fly, Jenin Bastyens, Aiden Henderickson and Ryan. All work hard on teams that get little attention until something goes wrong. Also saw hard play from junior Daniel Sandoval…good player. And good play from Kaden Raborn in the defensive line. Very good back-up player.
Llano went ahead 20-0 in the second quarter when Miguel carried twice for 36 yards, and Carson sprinted in from 7 yards out.
Fitz Kennedy stopped an 8 play Crockett drive with his first varsity interception in the third quarter. Ricky got another sac. Simmons made a stop for no yards. And the offense ran the ball in the third quarter. Miguel behind the blocking of Jaxon Lange and Ross Edwards gained 64 yards in the quarter on 6 carries. Carson had 47 yards on 4 carries and another TD, with help from offensive lineman Sandoval, Zach, Simmons, Hudson Godfrey and sophomore Dylan Kennedy.
Another great catch by junior Coy Kelson in the corner of the end zone for a 4 yard TD catch from Maddox. Second week in a row for Coy with a great TD catch and gave Llano the final score of 37-7. On to San Saba.
One of the Jackets oldest rivalries is San Saba. For decades we were in the same district. The over-all record of 32-32-1 indicates many tough and revengeful games. In the late 1960s’, San Saba’s Coach, John Baskin took the Armadillos to the quarterfinals. Always a very competitive program. But then about 3 years later, San Saba had a record of 4-6. And the school board fired Baskin.
Baskin took the offensive coordinator job in Llano under head Coach Ken Gray in 1973. They had played together in college at Howard Payne. In 1973 Llano went to the quarterfinals with a 9-3-1 record. Two years later Ken Gray left to Coach the offensive line of the Denver Bronchos’, and Baskin was moved up to the head coach in Llano.
Baskin beat San Saba every year for about 6 years. Over one 3 year period of play, Llano scored over 160 points against the ‘Dillos. Baskin still is one of the best coaches Llano has ever had. And his record proves that out. When John moved to Llano, he brought his family. “Johnny B”, his son, was in the eighth grade at the time. Johnny B won 4 straight 800 meter District Championships, as well as winning the State Championship by 40 yards his junior year in Memorial Stadium. in Austin. Johnny was All-District 3 years, and All West Texas and All Central Texas. Johnny did not play basketball. He ran track at Angelo State University four years and was on the National Championship Team. And Friday night Johnny B was inducted into the LHS Hall of Fame. His Mother and Dad live now in San Antonio. Johnny B coached for 30 years, and has just retired last year. He came to the Llano San Saba game last year.
Oh me. That darn revenge thing. I have an idea that the Armidillos will be looking forward to Friday night. Llano travels to the “graveyard”. Yes, it really was a cemetery at one time. Some still think it still is!! San Saba has a good program, and a very good Coach. After what happened in the game last year, you can expect playing hard by the ‘Dillos will not be a problem. Llano will have to play tough and smart. And we will. See you in San Saba.