Recording the History of the Llano Yellowjackets for 50 Years

Jackets Win Season Opener 48-26

The Llano Yellowjackets took a bus trip to Jarrell, Texas and brought home a needed opening game win with a very good 48-26 score. The Jackets scored first, they scored last and ran up an impressive 572 yards of offense, third most in the LHS record book.

The Jackets scored on the second play of the game when senior Carson Kuykendall went straight up the middle for 48 yards and the first score of the game, and the first of five rushing TDs’ for Carson. The 30 points by Carson ties for second place in the school record book for most points in a game.

Miguel Hernandez had 149 yards rushing on 17 carries and an 8.7 yards per carry in the game. Senior quarterback Briggs Green carried for 59 yards on 12 carries. With Carson’s 225 yards, the three Jackets had 433 yards rushing, #3 all-time best for three backs in one game. Senior Remington Hipp added 33 more yards on his 8 carries. It was a great opening game for the Jacket running backs.

But…the accolades might want to remember the offensive line. This group of four seniors and one junior took it to the Cougar defensive line. Seniors Ross Edwards, Hudson Godfrey, Daniel Sandoval, and center Jaxon Lange played great in their first game of their senior year. Junior Dylan Kennedy takes a back seat to no one. Keep these five healthy, and Carson, Miguel, Briggs, and Remington will have a fun season. Other lineman will be stepping forward, and learning. The offensive line has made a statement. They will be a load for anyone coming forward.

Briggs was 7 for 12 passing and 127 yards. Senior Ross Prokop lead receivers with 3 catches and 67 yards, his longest reception being 36 yards. Jackson Dillard had a catch for 25 yards, and junior Parker Parish had a catch for 28 yards. Miguel had a catch for 7 yards. Again…good pass blocking by the offensive line, along with good blocking by the backs, Parker, and senior Coy Kelso.

Last season I spoke with then junior Bryce Mize. He looked thin and malnourished. Friday night, was a different Bryce. First of all, he kicked 6 straight extra points, which ties for third best single game on extra points. Then he kicked two field goals! 12 points for the game. Bryce plays in the defensive line…not sure what they call that position today, but he is down in the trenches. Long, but very good night for Bryce.

In one sense, the defense had a long night. No one expected the Jackets to give up 26 points. But no one knew about # 5 for the Cougars. Jacques Spradley, a junior, maybe the fastest player I have seen in a very long time line up against Llano. In the Cougars second possession, senior quarterback Andrew Knebel hit Spradley for a quick 65 yard strike and their first score. In the second quarter, Knebel found Spradley again for a 79 yard score! And in the fourth quarter…yep again…Knebel to Spradley for 69 more yards. Take out those three plays, and my records show only 90 other yards by the Cougars.

The Jackets had 7 sacs. Senior Ricky Dela Torre had three, as did junior Fitz Kennedy. Senior Hayden Manahan had one, along with 4 solo tackles. Isaiah Bush had a very strong night being in on 6 tackles. Jaxon Rhea put tremendous pressure on the quarterback all night long, and had many near sacs on Knebel. Cole Franklin had two solo tackles. Junior Braeden Hatfield from his safety position had 3 solo tackles. Juniors Dusty Miller and Charlie White played hard and were in good position all night long. Seniors Brock Fly, Caden Bauman and Ulisses Martinez had good nights. Ulisses had the lone Jacket interception and his first as a varsity player.

Let us say out of 39 plays run by the Cougars, four were not good. This defense is going to be very good. And it will need to be, to beat a Burnet team that comes to Llano with a 13 game winning streak against the Jackets, and not one of these players on either side were born when Llano last beat Burnet. 1999.

In 1997 the Bradley Kassell team went 11-1 losing to Cuero in the area game 14-13. Kassell, at quarterback and defensive back, Billy Bickett in the secondary, and Daniel Benedict in the offensive line all were second team all state players. That season Llano shut-out Burnet 24-0.

In 1998, Llano beat Burnet 29-19. They also beat Liberty Hill 50-0, and Jason Freeman had 170 yards rushing on 30 carries. Zach Vassar was quarterback, and Cummings Smith, Aaron Rode and Justin Methvin carried that team to a 6-6 record. Llano lost to Industrial 19-16 in overtime in the playoffs.

The Jackets 1999 team lost to Burnet to start a long up hill battle. The 1999 team lost by a score of 13-17. Llano beat Wimberley and Liberty Hill that season, but lost to eventual State Champion Sealy. The Jacket finished 8-4 in 1999.

There have been some good games, but never the Jackets winning. And scores like 70-20, 35-0, 49-0, and 64-32 have made the rivalry tough to stomach. One positive note. Under Coach Karl McCormack in 2001, the Coach moved three sophomores (Michael White, Jerrod Virdell & Jose Aviles) up to the varsity to play in the secondary to try and stop the fantastic duo of Jordan Shipley and quarterback Steven McGee. Shipley caught one pass that night, but Llano lost 27-0. (Coach McCormack was fired after that season) In 2006, Llano lost to Burnet, but beat Kerrville Tivy.

It has been interesting. Llano has played Burnet more times than any other team in history. We maintain a 3 game edge over-all in wins. (39-36-2) The Jackets carry an 11 game winning streak on their home field in Jacket Stadium…This Friday, we extend the streak to 12, with a three point win that resets the clock against the Bulldogs.

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4 Responses to Recording the History of the Llano Yellowjackets for 50 Years

  1. Jeff Burk says:

    Excellent synopsis of game 1, Mr. Virdell! Please note Briggs Green is just a junior: we’re REALLY going to need him next year. Nice prediction as well, predicting a 21 point victory over Jarrell. Ready for the Highway 29 rumble Friday night!

  2. says:

    I got this fine, and it was a beauty!…great history, as usual….Burnet will be tough, but it should be an exciting night….


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