PLAY TO WIN by Mikel Virdell

Recording the History of the Llano Yellowjackets for 50 years

Few Yellowjackets football seasons have been approached with so much anticipation as this 2022 season. Over the past two seasons there have been distractions. Cancelled games in both seasons of 2020, and 2021. Worry over CIVID…injuries…but no excuses…the Jackets have won 21 games over the past two years. The most ever. The Jackets in 1994-95 seasons won 19, and again the 1996-97 teams won 19. That 4 year span saw the Jackets win 38 games. The Yellowjackets have won 35 games over the past 4 years under Head Coach Matt Green.

Coach Green has won 40 games in his five years as head Coach. Only David Yeager in 7 seasons from 2005 to 2011 has won more, 43. Only Ken Gray in three seasons, 1973-75 has a higher winning percentage than Green….691% to Greens’ .667%.

The Yellowjackets have won District Championships the last two seasons. Llano has never won three outright District Championships in a row, although they were able to go three years with co-championships! This senior class has goals, and do not think that the District Championship in 2022 is not at the top of the list.

By my last count, the Jackets have 27 seniors. The most ever. Former Llano Yellowjacket Kevin Kelso told me that his senior class had 23. A typical season is 16-18 seniors. Way back in 1967, the Jackets had 18 seniors, and that team went 8-2, losing only to Del Valle (10-0) and Brady(10-0). Can’t find anywhere when the number was over 16 that Llano did not have a winning record.

The Yellowjackets have an 11 game home winning streak. The Jackets play in Jacket Stadium against Burnet September 2. Llano has not beaten Burnet in 21 years.

And so the Week 0 is here. And Llano plays Jarrell, a team the Jackets have never played before. Jarrell is in District 13-4A D11, along with Lago Vista, Wimberley and Geronimo Navarro. The Cougars will be getting ready for a tough district fight and hope to feast on the Jackets. Llano knows how if feels to lose the opening game of the season, and it takes time to recover from an opening lose. Last season the opening lost to Gatesville took the air from Llano and it took time to gets its bearing before Llano recovered to go on and win District.

The 4A Cougars will have expectations, and that beating Llano Friday night should be a good start for their season. We play at 7:30PM in Jarrell. The Jackets also have expectations. That being to win against a larger foe, on the road, in the season opener. That makes for a short ride home.

Yellowjackets by 21.

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