Jackets Dump the Burnet Bulldogs
For the Llano Yellowjackets to beat the Burnet Bulldogs Friday night was such a relief to many that this game became like a special moment. Head football Coach Matt Green said it best in his interview with sports legend Art Dlugach after the game. “This game was like the San Saba game in 2020.” A defining moment. Winning against an equal team. Winning when maybe you did not play your best game. And finding it at the end to see a path to victory. The 29-21 win by the Jackets was special.
Llano extended its win streak at Jacket Stadium to 12 games.
LLano improves to 2-0.
The Jacket offense, for the second week in a row had over 560 yards of offense (568).
The Llano Yellowjackets began the game with a very smart 6 play, 75 yard drive that saw 4 first downs. Senior Carson Kuykendall carrying the ball 3 times for 22 yards, senior Miguel Hernandez for 14 more, and a reverse run by Jackson Dillard for 11 more. Then junior quarterback Briggs Green found senior Ross Prokop for the 26 yard TD reception. Senior Bryce Mize completed the perfect series with his 7th straight extra point and a Llano 7-0 lead.
We knew this wasn’t going to be easy when on the second play from scrimmage, the Bulldogs struck for a 53 yard TD strike, tying the score.
An exchange of punts and Llano again combined with Green and Ross. A 52 yard TD reception and Llano lead 13-7. The Jacket defense again stopped Burnet. Strong play came from senior linebacker Ricky De La Torre. Senior defensive end Jaxon Rhea and lineman Bryce Mize were so strong in the line. Senior Isaiah Bush was all over the field, and senior linebacker Hayden Manahan was in on 3 tackles in a row. Junior Fitz Kennedy and Ulisses Martinez made several outstanding plays.
Llano, on the third play of the second quarter, scored from 22 yards out when Miguel Hernandez darted into the end zone. Good blocks by Coy Kelso, and Parker Parrish cleared the way. The 20-7 score felt safe of a moment. But on the Bulldogs next series, 7 plays later and in the end zone and 2 points on the end put the score at 20-15. This was concerning. Llano had now committed 40 yards in penalties.
Llano put the offense back on the field. Briggs, Carson, Miguel, Jackson and junior Alex Kachura all contributed to the 11 play drive, down to the 7 yard line, where Bryce came in and kicked the 24 yard field goal and Llano was ahead 23-15. On the next series, senior Brock Fly, Ricky, junior Braeden Hatfield and junior Charlie White combined to stop Burnet again. Burnet punted. Llano, starting from their 15 yard line drove 73 yards, but were unable to extend the lead when Bryce missed his first FG of the season.
When Llano kicked off to Burnet in the third quarter, few would have expected Burnet to put together an 11 paly drive that resulted in a 30 play pass to connect for the TD and the score was now 23-21! Burnet had gone to their passing game, and it worked.
After the Jackets were unable to move the ball, Dillard punted for a 50 yard kick. On the second play, senior Caden Bauman intercepted for Llano and Llano had the ball on the 40 yard line. Miguel ran three times for 28 yards, Carson three times for 13 more, and Briggs for 10 more. Carson’s one yard TD run put the Jackets up 29-21. That was the end of the scoring, but not the end of the game.
Llano put together an 11 play drive, but with fourth and long, Briggs threw his first interception of the season. Starting from their 25 yard line, Burnet was on the March. It started to rain.
Burnet ran the football with large gains of 16 and 29 yard runs by senior running back Jose Rodriguez. The Jacket defense had been ready to play the pass as with their previous success. Rushers from Llano, senior Kyle Gilliland, Jaxon , senior Parker Parrish and Bryce were pushing up field, and the swift Rodriguez zipped right by. Yet, when Burnet drove down to the 9 yard line, they threw the football four straight times. The Jacket defenders, of Bauman, Hatfield, Bush, Hayden, Ricky, and senior Ulisses Martinez ( 2 interceptions in two games) and junior linebacker Fitz Kennedy played like they were coached. Thank goodness Burnet forgot about Rodriguez. The Jackets held, and won the game.
The Jacket’s big 5, the offensive lineman of seniors Jaxon Lange, Ross Edwards, Hudson Godfrey, and Daniel Sandoval, and junior Dylan Kennedy are playing as good as a unit can play, and they will get better, and more polished. These 5 lineman do stir the drink. Yoemans effort.
The Jackets play in House Park Friday night against a 5 A school that has over 1,600 folks in high school. Austin Crockett was picked to lose by 21 points last week to Bastrop Cedar Creek. Crockett won by 16. The Cougars have 19 starters back from last season. This will be the Jackets biggest test. Crockett will play their best game against Llano. Llano beating the 5 A school last year 37-7 was humiliating to the Cougars. The Cougars will not be surprised this year. The Jackets will have to play their best game. Running, passing, blocking, tackeling. Oh, and those penalties. 200 yards against Burnet maybe a school record, although thank goodness, that is one stat I do not keep. 200 yards in penalties against the Cougars, and Llano might lose by 30 points. But Jackets prevail in their first game ever in the storied, House Park. Llano by 6.