The 12-0 Llano Yellow Jackets beat Goliad Friday night In Pieper Stadium (San Antonio area) 21-0 to record their second shutout in as many play off games, and prepare for their Regional game this Friday with Industrial, again to be played in San Antonio.
The Goliad Slot T offense that had scored 120 points over the past two games came into the Area contest ready to test the record setting Jacket defense. The shut out of such a high scoring offense was unprecedented in Jacket history. Llano had only one previous shut out in play off history before Llano took down Cotulla 44- 0 two weeks ago. The 21-0 win Friday night was an exclamation mark for this great Llano defense.
The Jacket offense got the game off to a great start, when the Jackets took the opening kick off and drove 11 plays to score with 7:30 left in the first period. Senior running back Carson Kuykendall got 11 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Junior quarterback Briggs Green completed passes to Ross Prokop for 17 yards and 15 yards to Jackson Dillard. Three plays, three first downs. On the next series, Llano had a fourth and one…and gambled and went for the first down. Carson made it.
One first down, Briggs was sacked for a 12 yard loss. But on the next play, Briggs hit Ross for the 12 yards and Llano had third down on the Goliad 23 yard line. Briggs hit Carson coming out of the backfield for a 7 yard gain. Fourth down on the 16 yard line. Briggs hit Dillard in perfect stride for the TD. Senior Bryce Mize …..again kicked true, and Llano lead 7-0.
In the first quarter, Goliad had one very good play, with a 50 yard pass completion. The other 10 plays in the quarter resulted in the Jacket defense allowing a total of 13 yards. Tremendous play by the down lineman of the defense. Senior Jaxon Rhea had his most impressive game of the year, causing all kinds of turmoil and havoc for the vaulted Goliad running game. Mize and senior Kyle Gilliland too had lock down games. There was no running against the Jackets. Before the final series of the game, I had the Jackets allowing negative yardage in the run game. These guys scored 120 points the previous two games!!!
Along with Jaxon, Kyle and Bryce, junior Jonathan Vaughn had several key plays. Coming up from the secondary was Charlie White and Isaiah Bush. Junior Braeden Hatfield was in on 7 tackles, plus had the games lone interception in the fourth quarter to stop any hope that Goliad may have had in making a come back. It was the Jackets’ 24 interception of the season….a school record never kept, but will be now.
The defense has so many play makers. Seniors Caden Bauman and Brock Fly. Senior Ulisses Martinez and junior Dusty Miller. And those linebackers. Hayden Manahan and Ricky De La Torre…both seniors playing well beyond their years. Russel Nelson and Remington Hipp contribute so often. Jackson Hoot, a junior has become a big time player. And junior Fitz Kennedy…always making the outstanding play every week….What an effort…so proud….
The Offense just went out and churned out the clock. Llano had drives of 11, 9, 11, and 8 plays to keep the ball from the Tigers. Then Llano’s defense gave the offense the ball from two fumble recoveries and the Hatfield interception. Because Llano’s offense kept the ball for extended periods of time, the Jacket defense was always fresh. I said last week, this offensive line could win this game for Llano. The offensive line did their part. Seniors Ross Edwards, Juice Lange at center, Hudson Godfrey, Brannen Green, Aiden Smith and super blocker, Daniel Sandoval kept the offense going. Juniors that showed they belonged were Hunter Brown, JJ Vaughn, Frank Machuga, Donaven Rodriguez, and Dylan Kennedy. All going to be future greats. And downfield blocking, so over looked, it best when Coy Kelso, Parker Parish, Gavin Anderson , Luke Turner and Cole Franklin are on the field.
12-0…Only one other Jacket team has a better resume. Llano went to the Regional finals in 1973, 2007, 2020, and this year.
A short story.: In 1998 Llano came in second in District play, when only two teams went to the State Play offs. Llano had to play Pearsall, a District Champion, ranked in the top 10, and they were 10-0. Llano was 5-5. The State of Texas was in a monsoom…a flood, especially in South Texas. In 1998, few schools had all weather fields. Most fields were standing in 6 inches of water. Llano and Pearsall could find no place to play. Llano head coach Karl McCormack told me he was sitting at his desk, when the phone rang. It was the head coach of Pearsall, and he suggested they play in Llano, since Llano was dry. Coach “Mac” told me he fell out of his chair. Then recovered, and stammered to say “yes” they could play in Llano
Stories still recall….several charted busses showed up early in the day to Llano. The LHS parking lot was covered in Bar-B Que pits. The Llano square was covered in visitors. Never saw so many happy people. I spoke with one group. They felt like they had the team to win State.
Llano won 41-26. Beat a team that was averaging 31 points a game. The Jacket defense held Pearsall to 201 yards of offense.
The Llano quarterback was senior Zack Vassar. He later coached with Llano’s offensive coordinator Ryan Priem at Athens a few years back. Coach Matt Green had met Zack at that time.
Llano played Industrial the next week. Industrial was 10-1. Llano was now 6-5. Industrial won in over-time, 19-16. This is the only time Llano had played Industrial.
Industrial has won 20 games over the past two seasons, the same as Llano. They are considered a good offensive team. Llano will be trying to win # 13, to equal the most wins in school history. Our defense will keep it close. Our offense will control the ball, and the clock. Friday afternoon at 1 PM. Heroes Stadium, San Antonio. Llano by 13.