The Llano Yellowjackets fell to San Diego in the Area game last Friday night at Matador Stadium in Seguin. The final score of 35-27 reflects a close game, but with the Jackets taking the lead only once, when the Jackets went ahead 21-20 with 7:38 in the fourth quarter after a Jackson Dillard interception and an unbelievable return to the end zone where nearly every San Diego player had an opportunity to stop Jackson, but to no avail.
I have been keeping statistics for 49 years. I have never seen stats like this game.
Let’s walk thru a few numbers:
Llano kicked off to San Diego where the Vaqueros marched 61 yards in 13 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. San Diego kicked to Llano’s Sam Sueltenfuss who headed up field and then to the sidelines, where he was crushed to the ground with a dislocated elbow, and lost the football. The Vaqueros traveled the short 17 yards to the end zone on the first play of the second quarter. Score 14-0. Llano had yet run an offensive play.
At this point, San Diego had run 21 plays. San Diego had 14 points. The Jackets had allowed 76 total yards, for an average of 3.6 yards per play.
The second quarter was just as strange. Llano took the kick-off, and with the running of junior Carson Kuykendall, marched down the field in 10 plays to score. Junior Miguel Hernandez went out for the game after a targeting call and Miguels 8 yard run. Jackson hauled in a 5 yard reception from senior quarterback Maddox Green, and Carson scored from 3 yards out. Score 14-7 San Diego with 8:32 left in the half.
The Jacket defense held on three plays and forced a punt. Llano’s ball on the 48 yardline. 10 yards on a run by Maddox. 11 more Yards on three runs by Carson. Ross Prokop makes a catch for 14 yards and a first down to the 28 yardline. And the offense stalls out, so in comes junior Bryce Mize and trys a 27 yard field goal but is off just a mite.
Llano ran 21 plays and had 97 total yards. San Diego ran 28 plays and had 89 yards, for 3.18 yards per play. Really very good defense, and the Jackets average of 4.6 yards per play is all winning football.
Had you asked defensive coordinator Matt Anastasio before the game if holding San Diego to 89 yards of offense in the first half was OK? Bet he would have jumped on it.
The slow the game down formula for the Vaqueros worked very well. In the third quarter Llano made a first down after the kick-off and Carson got 22 yards on three runs. But a loss play and an incomplete pass forced the Jackets to punt. San Diego put together another slow series of plays. And 14 plays later scored and took a 20-7 lead. The Vaqueros converted on 4 third down plays. Still outstanding play from the Jacket defense. Senor Zach Watson did yoemans work in the middle of the line. Senior Matthew Whitley made several stops. Seniors Aiden Guido and Jenin Bastyens were in on key stops. Llano ran 8 plays in the third quarter. The defense held the Vaqueros to 61 yards in the third quarter.
Carson ran the ball 6 times for 40 yards beginning in the fourth quarter. Ross had a 12 yard catch from Maddox. Bryce kicked good and Llano closed the gap to 20-14 after Carson’s TD. Then on the next series, Dillard comes up with the play of the game and again Bryce kicks good. Llano leads 21-20.
So…the worst thing that can happen….San Diego runs the kick-off back for a TD and takes the lead back 28-21. An exchange of punts puts the game in the final minutes. And San Diego breaks a long 53 yard TD run and takes a 35-21 lead with 1:29 left in the game. Jackets never stopped trying. Maddox completes a 40 yard pass to junior Caden Bauman and the next play hits Briggs Green for the final score of 35-27. Junior great Jaxon Rhea was helped off the field in the first part of the fourth quarter. Maddox and Carson were moving slow. Tough physical game, and played hard by all. And a hard one to get over.
For the record, Carson had over 300 yards rushing in two play-off games. Maddox 4 TD passes. Sam had 149 yards and two TDs in the Marion game. A tribute to excellent line play.
8-3 is a very good season. By a team that kept the home field winning streak in tact to three seasons and 14 in a row.
The seniors won 21 games in two seasons. Most in school history. Other great senior classes were the 1994 and 1995 classes and they won 19. As did the 1996 and 1997 teams with 19 wins. Two District Championships. Traveling in pretty elite company here. Our small but special senior class have set the bar high. The seniors and this year’s team were fun to watch. Looked so forward to every Friday night. And as time goes forward, the seniors will too, see how special they were.
Of great note: Head Coach Matt Green won his 40th game as head coach over 5 years. He is just behind Coach David Yeager who has 43 wins in 7 seasons, earlier in the decade. When you have time, go to the school record book…type in Play To Win by Mikel Virdell…two catagories….School Records and Season records….fun to look back.
Will slowly start working on the record book. Alot will be added, plus still working on going back…way back and picking up numbers and players from the past that had wonderful accomplishments. Let me know when I miss something. And thanks for all the memories.