Stealing the 3-peat phrase from someone else, The 2022 Llano Yellow Jackets won the District Championship Friday night, beating a good Blanco team 17-6. The Jackets are now 9-0, and 5-0 in 3 AAA District 13 play. The Jackets have this week off, and finish play on November 4 at Jacket Stadium against Ingram Moore. Llano leads the District by 2 full games, and will represent the District as the number one seed in Bi-District play the following week.

It was a tough game playing in Blanco. Several Jackets came out of the game due to injuries, and the off week comes as a welcome relief. At least 6 Yellow Jackets might not play this week, had Llano a scheduled game. But by the last regular season game against Ingram, all players look to be ready to go. although some may still be held out due to being extra cautious.

The Jackets winning three district championships in a row has never been done. We have won two. We have won two out of three. We have won a district championship and two co-district championships, and even a tri-Championship. But never three out right CHAMPIONSHIPS, and as Coach Matt Green said, “not sharing with anyone”. Llano is 30-4 over the last three years, with one more regular season game to go. In the decade of the 1990s’, Llano had a great run. In 1994, Llano won 10 games. In 1995, 9 games. In 1996, 8 games. And in 1997, 11 wins. The best three seasons of 1995-1997 Llano won 28 games.

In 1973, ’74, and 1975, Coach Ken Gray took Llano to two district championships, and Llano came in second in 1974, losing only to Burnet in district play. Llano was 14-1 against district foes those three years. The next year, 1976, with Coach John Baskin as Head Coach, Llano won district again. Future Player of the Year in Division III, at Tarleton, State, Llano’s quarterback was LHS Hall of Famer Shelby Wright. Llano lost to Rockdale in Bi-District 10-9. Rockdale went on to win the State Championship in 1976.

All I can say, is many have come before you. None have accomplished what you have accomplished. We all know the season is not over. But take a deep breathe, and know that everyone is so proud to have followed your deeds. It is a good time to be alive. It is a great time to be a Yellow Jacket.

The win Friday night was expected to be tough. Blanco has been strong all year, and with a small blip, should enter the play offs as the number 3 seed in our district. It looks to me that Randolph will be the number 2 seed, and has earned the position with great play. Randolph should end the regular season with an 8-2 record. Marion also could finish with an 8-2 season. Lulling too is having a nice season, and still has a chance to make the play offs. Coach Green mentioned a few weeks back that 13- 3AAA is going to be a force in the play offs. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but would be nice for all four teams to advance.

The Yellow Jacket defense has played lights out in district play. Thru 5 games, has allowed only 39 points. Allowed none in the second half of play in the last three games. While both the Blanco quaterback and the Blanco running back were very good athletes, I never felt we were threatened. Each player on the field just seems so confident. When three year starter Ricky De La Torre at linebacker went out of the game, senior Cole Franklin took his spot, and had his best game as a Yellow Jacket. Isaiah Bush lead the team in tackles. Hayden Manahan made another strong push for defensive player of the district, and even came into the game and carried the football for a key first down. Brock Fly had a super game., with an interception. Kyle Gilliland, Bryce Mize, and Jaxon Rhea dominated the line of scrimmage. And you can’t forget about those turnovers the Jackets cause. Ulisses Martinez and junior safety Braeden Hatfield. Both now have 5 interceptions for the season. And towards the end of the game, none other than junior Fitz Kennedy ends any thoughts of a threat from Blanco with an interception from his linebacker position.

We’ll take the week off here too. Next week, I’ll talk about the district a bit more, and the playoff picture may be more clear. But for this week, enjoying the 3- peat!!

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