Jackets Right Ship, Beat Chiefs 41-21

The Llano Yellowjackets beat the San Angelo Lake View Chiefs Friday night 41-21 to cap off a 4-1 pre-district schedule.  The visiting Chiefs were down 31-7 at halftime and the Jackets finished with a 3-0 record playing on their home field.

Llano has this week off…open date….so thought I would throw out a few observations…this week…and next week,  take a look at some impressive stats.  Sometimes I have a hard time talking about stats.  Being an individual thing, not a team thing…But…exceptions being:  Jackets averaging 41 points a game.  Nice….Defense allowing 20 points…very good…but District becomes a different animal.

Start with Braxton Vickers…our senior quarterback has been nothing but solid.  All catagories are running well ahead of school records.  Best part of his passing game is for the most part, has 9 receivers that are capable…very capable.  Some dropped passes…but over-all…think Quincy Prince, Donaven Arrellano, John Roberts, Jared Beasley, Jacob Bubenik, Justin Yocum, Randall Murray can all be game changers.

Vickers had pass completions of 14, 35, 69, 29,and 55 yards Friday night.  But most impressive is Vickers 67 completions this season. Have averaged over 18 yards per catch.  Very impressive and exciting number.

Love that Donaven Arrellano is making the running game important.  Over 500 yards in five games.  Makes the passing game go.

And due to the success of both running game and passing game, the offensive line is playing very good.  Seniors Heath Godfrey, Jose Villa, Lewis McTighe, and Edgardo Resendiz are playing solid football.  All can run block…look strong….they are getting better each week. Juniors Dalton Enberg, Luke Hicks, and sophomore Matthew Whitley are all solid. So proud of this group.

Defense has a new star every week.  So Many.  But will mention just two for now.  Senior Jacob Cruz is my biggest  surprise.  A great bookend to monster Jansen Morris  on the defensive line.  Jacob makes big plays after big plays and jumps up and lines up again.  Great energy.

I have to say something about Justin Yocum.  Might say he was not too happy with a couple of plays he had Friday night.  Not to rub it in, but a fumble in the first quarter on a running play,and then another fumble on the kick off in third quarter.  I watched closely Justin the whole game.  His body language told me much.  It was not “oh poor me”.  Justin is a two year starter, and me thinks his heart is very large.  I watched as he searched for an opportunity to “Make it up” to his team.  Waiting for that special moment.

Late in the fourth quarter, Lake View was driving again.  No one wanted the Chiefs to score again.  Starting on their 20 yard line, down the  field the Chiefs marched.  One first down.  4 more yards.  Two first downs.  6 more yards.  Another first down and now on the 5o yard line.  Chiefs quarterback throws to the near sidelines.  And out of no where to be seen, Justin steps in front of the pass and down the sidelines he flies.  I do not think I have ever seen a Yellowjackets run so fast. It was a blurr…Quincy or Jared or Aaron would have had no chance to catch Justin flying down the sideline to the end zone. Only a cheap helmet tackle by the Chiefs defender stopped Justin.  It looked like Justin had his head taken off.  But, no he jumped up and”his point was made”.  A great play, to end the threat.  “Had I been the Llano Head Coach”….I would have lined up with the few seconds left in the game, and made Lake View pay for such a cheap play.  I would have tried to score again.

Head Coach Matt Green lined up his offense…and took a knee to end the game.  A class act, by a class guy.  Thank you Coach Green and your great staff, for being who you are.

Oh…back to Justin…great players…make great plays.


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Lago Vista Ambushes Jackets 42-28

The Homecoming Game at Lago Vista was well planned.  The Vikings rolled the visiting Llano Yellowjackets 42-28 in a game that was nearly close.  But the Jackets seemed from the get-go, to not be engaged.

Maybe because do everything junior Case Kuykendall broke his collarbone on the first play from scrimmage.  Maybe that let the air out of the ball for Llano.  Case was leading the Jackets in reception yardage and touchdowns.  A touchdown waiting to happen everytime he touched the ball.  Maybe that is what happened.

If it is…then it is a bad excuse.  Do not let me lighten the load.  Goodness…Case is going to be missed. But this team is one that has the makings of being special.  And one player is not a special team.  Llano’s let down was across the board.  Never would I have ever dreamed that our defense would give up over 500 yards of offense, and allow 42 points.  Never would I ever have thought that Donaven Arrellano would get only 12 yards rushing. after getting 178 yards the week before.  I thought our offensive line was really starting to get good.  Get it together.  and Getting tough.  I had hoped dropped passes would come to a trickle. And we would halt anymore penalties.  We would be priming ourselves to get better everyday, and every practice.  Because we all know…it does not get easier from here on out.  And to meet the goals set forth by this team a month ago, getting better is an everyday thing.

I have no idea how good Lago Vista is, but I do know they can win state if they play teams like Llano every week.  The Jackets must wake up.  This Lago Vista game must be a wake-up call.  Llano must go back to playing with the fire and grit it had the first two weeks of the season.  It must go back to every defensive player being in on the tackle.  Every play must be played at full speed.  That speed of play.  That attitude of everyone being responsible for every play has got to be the rallying  cry.  Leadership must step up.  The seniors must realize this is it.  There are no more next years.  6 weeks now is crammed full of all your dreams.  You have the talent.  You are smart.  Make the Lago Vista your turning point.  Make it your realization that you can beat every team left in the regular season.  But winning is a play to play thing.

Lake View is a 4 A school as is Llano.  They too, took it on the end of the nose Friday Night.  They too have talent.  14 starters back from last season. I bet Lake View players  are looking in the mirror awful hard Saturday morning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               No one told you this was going to be easy.  But special teams adjust.  Special teams bear down harder.  Cream rises to the top with special teams.  Now is the time for the Jackets to rise up.  Look in the mirror.  And see what you can be.  The next 6 weeks can be the best time of your lives.  Make the most of it.

Not to be all potty mouth…just a few stats from the Lago Vista game:

Jacob Cruz, Jansen Morris, Luke Keller, Quentin Franklin, Joseph Reed, Randall Murray all had good plays…good moments.  Both Aaron Brown and Justin Yocum had interceptions.  Jared Beasley had 154 yards in receptions.  Quincy Prince had 105.  Braxton Vickers now has thrown for over 200 yards in four games, with 322 yards Friday night.  Princes’ 91 yard kick off return was a team effort, and the speed helped.  Edgardo Resnediz,  Cade Ligon , and Aaron Inge  played hard.

Prediction:  Llano 42  Lake View 15

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2-0 Jackets Roll Lulling 59-14: Brady Next

The 2019 Llano Yellowjackets pounded Lulling 59-14 Friday night in Llano, improving their record to 2-0 for the young season.  The Jackets were ahead 19-0 after the first quarter, and lead 49-0 at halftime.  10 Jackets either caught passes, or ran the football.  Senior quarterback Braxton Vickers was 10 of 13 passing, with three dropped passes.  His 268 yards passing is the second week in a row Braxton has passed for more than 200 yards.  Case Kuykendall had 5 of the catches for 140 yards, including a 64 yard catch for a TD.  Case has 234 yards catching the football in two games.

Junior Jared Beasley had a one handed catch from Vickers in the second quarter on a 50 yard toss and score.  And earlier in the quarter, Vickers hit senior Quincy Prince on a 43 yard strike and a touchdown.  Case had two rushing TDs, and again, senior Donaven Arrellano was the top rusher for Llano with 83 yards. Seniors Jacob Bubenik and John Roberts also had catches.  Seniors Randall Murray and Aaron Brown carried the football much of the second half.  Senior Justin Yocum now has averaged over 7 yards a carry in two games.  This all leads to knowing someone else is doing a good job.

The Jackets offensive line has made most all of this possible.  These Jacket lineman are playing very good , and the season is early.  All will improve, but the protection is great.  And the run production shows great effort from these offensive lineman.  You will not hear their names on the load speaker at the games. Most of us do not know their names.  But I bet Yocum, Roberts and Prince know who they are.  Heath Godfrey, Dalton Enberg, Lewis McTighe, Jose Villa, Bubenik, Luke Hicks, Edgardo Resnediz, Mathhew Whitley, and Cade Ligon are the unknown players. One fine group with great hustle.

The Jacket defense is outstanding.  I do not want to go much further than that.  I believe in jinxes.  Do not want any part of having an effect on this group of Jackets.  Llano’s defense at this early part of the season are all one could have hoped for.  Not one, but about 15 players are showing what unbridled effort can do.  If the defense can continue to improve, and refine everything it is doing,  I see one special defense, not seen in years. An interception by senior  linebacker Quentin Franklin early in the second quarter set up the Jackets fourth touchdown.  Relentless defensive line play, sprinters speed at the linebackers positions , and secondary play that allowed only two completions.

How good are these Jackets? Hard to say.  Two weaker teams so far.  Things get harder from here on.  And it begins this Friday night at Homecoming, playing long, long time rival Brady.  Brady ruled Llano for so many years.  Then in 1964 Brady beat Llano 64-6 in Llano.  The Bulldogs lined up to try a field goal( a long field goal) in the final seconds of the game.  That moment changed everything.  Llano has had much success against the Bullddogs, but at least 5 times Brady has knocked Llano out of the state playoffs.  They are always such a minace…..  And when least expecting, they beat you. Two times, when Llano had 8-2 seasons, Brady won.  Both years knocked the Jackets from the playoffs.

Brady Quarterback Walker Bauer’s grandfather, Winfred is in Llano’s Hall of Fame.  He played at TCU.  Walker is starting his second season as starting quarterback, and last season he put 28 points on the Yellowjackets. Brady has 8/9 starters back from last season. And was told they are very unhappy that Llano has them as our Homecoming foe.  (This is considered a subtle slight).  The Jackets get better every practice.  They understand the bigger picture, but understand  you cannot take your eye off the ball.  The ball this week being a sound Brady team.  This Brady team can beat the Jackets, if Llano is thinking about anything else but beating the Bulldogs.  Beating Brady at home is special.  The 64-6 was a rallying cry for many years that fired up the Jackets.  I realize 54 years ago means little today.  But old timers still remember.  Still makes us unhappy.

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Prepared Jackets Bounce Hondo

The 2019 Llano Yellowjackets were the most prepared Jacket team I have seen in many years.  Playing 115 miles away on the first game of the season can be a tough task.  Especially when you remember the last two games between these two teams.  Hondo beating Llano, in Llano in the first game of the 2018  season, winning on the last play.  The Jackets returned the favor in the first play-off game last year, winning on a backbreaking 91 yard to pass and run to advance. I feared a long hard night in Hondo.

I was wrong.  The Jackets dominated the District Favorite in 14-4A.  The 16 starters returning for Hondo were stuffed and tared.  Hondo never saw what hit them.  All becasue the Jackets were so much better prepared.  Give Llano Coaches a hand.  They had these 2019  Yellowjackets ready to play not seen…in a long time.

I loved what Llano did on offense.  Braxton Vickers throwing for 220 yards to 5 different receivers.  Case Kuykendall with 94 of those receiving yards on 6 catches…and Quincy Prince with 4 catches and 98 yards.  But I think senior Donaven Arrellano may have stole the show with 99 yards rushing on 19 carries. This balance was run perfect.  No…not perfect.  But it was good.  And an offensive line that played like it was the fifth game of the year.  Lead by Heath Godfrey and Jose Villa.  Both seniors.  Senior Lewis McTighe in his first varsity start was sound, sound.  And juniors Luke Hicks and Dalton Endberg are going to be good.  They aspire for more.

The Jacket defense played lights out from the get go.  Where do I start? The front three of Llano could not be blocked by Hondo’s  front five or six or seven.  Guillermo Villa is all we thought he was. A dominating nose tackle with a motor going all time.  Chased people down from behind.  Returning starter Jose Villa is nothing but solid. Always in position.  And new comer Jansen Morris, with 9 tackles is a beast. Do not think he was ever blocked. Wow.  Hondo had a hard enough time running the ball.  I had them with a total of 74 yards. But the Jackets front three did their main task, keeping blockers off the Jacket linebackers.  The Jacket linebackers are nothing but fast, fast, fast.  Few running backs will turn the corners on these flyers.  In no order, Quentin Franklin, Mason Baker, Logan Duggar, John Roberts, Arron Inge, Juan Flores. ( Ryan Warner injured at this time).  All flew to the ball.  Great gang tackling. And should these 7 upfront fail, we gots more to come.  A secondary as strong as any in recent times.  Luke Keller, Justin Yocum, Joseph Reed, Randall Murray,  Jared Beasley, and returning for his senior year, Arron Brown who had a fumble recovery.  Made tackles all over the field.  I loved it in the last few minutes of the game, the Jacket Coaches put the secondary starters back on the field to preserve the shutout.  These secondary players are a serious group.  Not to be fooled with.  And while the entire defense played so strong, had newcomes like Edgardo Resnediz, Matthew Whitley , Cade Ligon , Jacob Bubenik, Jake Self and Trevor Cowan all come in and contribute. This certainly was a complete team win.  A team prepared to win.

Preparing for a team that on paper looks pretty weak, is a giant killing way to lose your focus.  The Jackets had a great week one (Actually 0). But to not work even harder for the next contest is immature and foolish.  I really think this Jacket team team could become special.  Elite. But you only become elite if you get better every day.  You bare down harder in practice. Yes, harder than last week.  You only become elite if you stay focused, and remember one play changes a game. And you all become the leaders of making every practice play count for something.  Lulling, Cuero, and Navarro all plan on winning this week.  Llano must plan the same.  Working toward becoming elite is a season long task.

Not to forget.  Diego Miguel hit his first three extra points Friday night, but missed on his fourth try.  I’m  glad he got that missed one out of the way.  Jared Beasley came in for the Jackets second half kick offs and done good!

Lulling might have a pretty good football team.  We will find out Friday night if they worked hard this week in practice and decided to come to Llano and put their first game of the season behind them.  Llano needs to play like this game is their last.  An elite team would be thinking that way.

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Let’s Play Three- Hondo Once Again

The 2019 Llano Yellowjackets will play the Hondo Owls for the 3rd time in a 12 month period of time.  Last August Llano got beat with :04 seconds on the clock by a score of 29-26 playing in Llano.  Then the Jackets returned the favor beating Hondo in the first state playoff round in overtime on a 91 yard TD pass.  It crushed the Owls hope of a play-off win.  Llano got their first play-off win under third year coach Matt Green.

Hondo, playing at home will be tough.  They always are.  And the taste in their mouths may have stayed their since last November!   Hondo, too is loaded.  16 Starters back from last season.  Finished last season with a 6-5 record.  Experience at quarterback and running back.  Picked to win their 14-4A D 11 District.

The Jackets may have the most speed ever!  But how does that translate to Friday nights?  It should for the offense.  While our quarterback situation may not be settled, in my mind, it is a great place to be.  Senior Braxton Vickers coming off lots of experience guilding the JV last season with lots of success.  Case Kuykendall, a do it all player, and can play and line up at many positions.  Braxton can confuse, lining up at receiver.  Expecting running back Donovan Arrellano to carry a load, running behind all -district lineman Heath Godrey, and experienced Jose Villa, Luke Hicks, and Cade Ligon.   Others will develop.  I understand we will see very experienced Justin Yocum at running back, as well as playing in the secondary.  A very good player last season as a junior.  And did I say receivers?  Record holder Quincy Prince with great speed can go deep.  Averaged over 30 yards per catch as a junior.  Also expect to hear from Jared Beasley, Aaron Brown and Luke Keller.  Our quarterbacks will have receivers.

The Jackets have had great linebackers in the past.  Go back  50 years.  Lloyd Beasley, Larry Stovall.  Go back 25-30 years, Mark Joy, Rick Sturdivant.  Corby Walker, Roy Kent, Randy Reven, Ricky Napolez…all great linebackers.

This season, Llano could have the best three we have ever had.  Could.!  But last season, Mason Baker, Quentin Franklin, Logan Duggar and Ryan Warner had few peers.  Sure tacklers.  All ran to the ball and never stopped.  I felt safe when Llano was on defense.  It has been a few years since I could say that.

Guillermo Davilla has big big shoes to fill.  The last three years Llano has had monsters on the defensive line.  Davilla returns.  His only duties include sacking the other teams quarterback, chasing down running backs, and keeping blockers off our linebackers.  He can’t do it all, but help can come from returner Jacob Cruz  and Jose Villa.  With a strong pass rush, the secondary can play a little more relaxed.  And hopefully pick off a few passes.  Yocum, Brown and Keller, all with speed, could too, become special.

Last season as an extra point and field goal kicker, Diego Miguel Perez put himself into the Jacket record book in many places.  He was a sophomore.  As a junior, we hope for near the same.  Diego made his first varsity extra point last season against Hondo. Diego missed his first extra point as a varsity player last season against Hondo.  He never missed again

The fun for me is not only watching the players I knew from last season, but getting to know the players that are new.  New to the varsity.  Some new to being a Yellowjacket.  I’m fired up.  I know these players are  hungary.  I think most feel that 7 wins is in the rearview mirror.  These Jackets could be special.  And it will take a special effort to beat a good Hondo team Friday night.  I feel they will.

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10 Days to Prepare- Hondo

The 2019 season began about three weeks ago as the Jackets began working out as a team.  Last Friday night the Jackets scrimmaged Blanco.  A longtime close rival of yesteryear, but the 2019 version of the Panthers produced a fine 10-3 record in AAA.

The Jackets travel to Manor Tech this week to end the scrimmage season.  This Saturday morning, the real season begins.  Llano will play Hondo on August 30th, playing in Hondo. Second best part of this 100 plus mile trip is eating at Hermann and Sons Steak House.  The best part is playing a very good Hondo Owls team that will play Llano like it is a play-off game.  What has been in the past, a “fill-in-game”, Hondo has become somewhat of a rival game, due to most part in Llano beating the Owls in over-time in last seasons first play-off game.  The Owls beat Llano in the first game of last season 29-26.

The Jackets are loaded.  As is Hondo.  With 9 starters on offense, and 7 starters on defense back from the 2019 team, the Owls have many players that have long memories. November 2019 was a long time ago.  Hondo is picked to win their District 14-4A,Div. 11.

I too…the season begins after the Manor scrimmage.  Already began putting together article before the Hondo game.  Statistics from last season.  Players that have made a name, and new players that will be difference makers this season. And how does Llano stack up?  Loaded I said.  Yet still picked by Texas Football to be a 4th place team in 13-4A, Div. 11.  Yes, State Champion Cuero will play in Jacket Stadium this year.  We travel to Wimberley and Navarro.

Will only speak of one Jacket today.  Aiden Cuthbertson.  Brought up last season as a safety and a Sophomore.  He was a difference maker in District play.  Could have been a starter on both sides of the ball, this his junior season.  But an injury has derailed that path.  Likely out all season.  He will be missed.  But my expectations are, Aiden will have a great senior year.  See you in 2020.

The Jackets have very large jerseys to fill.  Record breaking senior quarterback Cade Fly has graduated.  Three year monster on the defensive line, Drew Cooper, too.  Last year’s stars such as Kendall Downey and two way starter Mason Brooks.  Tyler Lindell, and Presley Lynch, and receiver and record book entree, Brooks Keele…all gone.  Jason Stark, Joe Pagany and Ethan Tisdale and Christian Kirby…gone. Kaleb Dodson, Thomas Adams, Iver Godo, Alex Shaw, Ethan Eastwood,Dylan Inge…gone. But not forgotten.

To me, this is get ready mentally week.  Play hard against Manor, and come out well.  Play with few mistakes, but don’t dewell on them long.  Watch lots of film on Hondo.  Know their tendencies. Likely to be much the same as 2018.  Because being mentally ready for Hondo can set the table for this 2019 season.  Llano may be loaded.  but as Head Coach Matt Green said, it must translate out to the field on Friday night.  Being loaded doesn’t count for much if you are not prepared.


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Gearing Up For 2019 Season

It may be only August 7, but football is in the air.  Maybe not fall weather, but football weather.  Hot, and more hot.  Have seen many of the Jackets thru the summer.  Look slim and trim.  And working out at 6 AM will make them better and more disciplined. The 2019 Jackets have a great opportunity, that being a team that could break many barriers  And over the next few weeks we will talk about those barriers.

But today, if you will indulge me for a moment, will reflect on “the good old days”. I remember vividly the August two a days. In 1964-67 practice began at 8 AM.  Full pads.  Shorts and shoulder pads were a reward, like maybe at the end of the week.  Practice for both practices were 2 1/2 hours.  Two water breaks.  10 minutes.  Each player got two salt tablets and 6 ounces of water.  Go measure out 6 ounces of water!  Most had a hard time getting the salt tablets down. Many never tried, but when the coaches found you did not take them, you ran extra.  Afternoon practices began around 5 PM,and lasted at least 2 1/2 hours. Two cups of 6 ounce water, and the four salt tablets.  I know, it sounds crazy to me now too.  But then, it was what everyone did.  Our Coaches reminded us often that the Brady Bulldogs were doing the same, and likely not complaining. So there was little com-plaining in front of the Coaches.

Looking back, do not know how the Coaches  kept from killing a few players.  But no one died.  Just what everyone did.  After practice most all ran to the Burger Bar.  It had swamp cooler air conditioning.  Cool air.  Most drank cherry Dr. Peppers, but Coaches preached that we were making it hard on ourselves by drinking such poison.  Carbonated water was bad for you.  But I do not remember anyone dying from Dr. Peppers. The salt tablets could kill you.  We all knew that for sure.

My Dad, Corkey Virdell put air conditioning in our home when I was a senior.  Before that, my two brothers ( Micky and Mark) and I slept on cots in the back yard when school let out out in May and did not go back into the house to sleep until September.  We thought it was cool. It was cooler.  It was crazy, but when we got in from morning practice, friends went to each others homes to lay around until afternoon practice.  And we played football in the backyard. Between practices.  It’s what everyone did.

For some good reason, it always rained in August.  Every year I was in high school, there was a hurricane in the Gulf, and up thru Del Rio it would come.   Bringing hard rains, and at least one cancelled practice.  Players kept the Coaches informed of the most recent weather forecast. Not for sure if they appreciated it, but it was part of what we did.

My four years at Llano High School were the best times of my life.  I was with my friends, and I was around Coaches that I thought were the smartest and coolest people that I had ever known.  I knew they worked us hard to make us better. And they talked about life, and goals, and being true to oneself.  The hard work was secondary.  Life was perfect. And football practice was just what we all did.

My comments over the 47 years writing “Play To Win” have many times mentioned to the Jackets to enjoy the ride.  Absorb every minute.  It is the best time of your life.  And when it is 104 degrees and you think you cannot go on….sure you can. For 100 years Llano Yellow Jackets have been doing the same.  No one said it would be easy. But it will be life changing.  And you are with your friends, and learning from Coaches that Care about you, and want the best for you. And beating Brady and other guys that you out-worked.  Just remember, Wimberley is doing the same.  So enjoy the ride.  This is the best part of life.

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2018 All District Team Continues

While Llano had 8 Yellowjackets make the First Team All District team, maybe just as important are the 11 Yellowjackets that were listed on the second team.  The strength and depth shows why Llano has taken a very positive move in the right direction.  More and more better players, and all get noticed by opposing coaches.  Coach Green can not vote for his own players.  The teams that Llano played against in district play is how one gets that nod.  You had to impress more than just mom, dad and girlfriend.

Cade Fly made plenty of noise over the past two seasons.  Starting 22 games put Cade at fourth most at quarterback in history of Llano.  His 3,812 career yards is second all time.  His 405 yards against Sonora in 2017 is the most yards in a  game ever for a Jacket quarterback.  His 238 yards passing  this season against Hondo in Llano’s overtime win is a playoff record.  Cade had 8 games in his career of over 200 yards passing. And this season his 2,091 yards is second most ever in one season, surpassed only by Brian Edwards in 2001 with 2,164. Cade tied the season touchdown passes with 19.  Ties at the number one spot with Bryan Hill and Brian Edwards. And Cade ended his career with 35 TD passes, and number one all time.  A great player.  Many other places in the record book, and his name will live a long time there.

Kendall Downey played more quietly, but with big impact. Playing both offense  and defense, Kendall was second team all district at both tight end and defensive end.  19 catches for 203 yards.  21 solo tackles and 40 total tackles.  And a very good blocker.  Usually over looked.  Loved how he made great plays at great moments. A great senior that had a great season.

Mason Brooks was all district at Safety on defense.  And second team on offense at running back.  Not to repeat what I said the previous article, but Mason helped make the Jacket passing attack work.  585 yards rushing, averaging 4.9 yards. Tough, tough runner, and good pass blocker for the passing game.  Hard to coach what Mason brought to the game.

Quincy Prince was a catch away from breaking open every game.  His 91 yard touchdown, record breaking catch saved the Hondo Bi District game.  15 catches and 505 yards his Junior season.  His 33.66 yards per catch is a school record that has stood since 1976.  A joy to watch.  Can’t wait until September.  Hard work and getting stronger gives Quincy a chance to become elite.

Brooks Keele has been Cade’s go to receiver the past two seasons.  Brooks 7 TD catches this season and 12 TDs for career ties him second all time with Ned Butler from the 1976-77 season.  45 career catches is 10th all time. 818 career yards is 8th all time best.  A good blocker, and always a menace to opposing secondary players, a big clog in the Jacket attack.  Will be very hard to replace.

Cant’ say enough about how much improvement Llano saw in the play of the defense.  Not just a little.  Improved over 7 points a game over last season, and over two touchdown improvement over just  a few years back.  In this high octane offense days, defense becomes more important than ever.  Everyone scores.  Just how do you keep it close so your own offense can stay in the game.  The Jacket defense kept Llano in most every game.

Few played harder than senior Presley Lynch at safety.  34 solo tackles, and 70 tackles, good open field tackler, and fast.  The Jacket secondary stood out with this senior leading a strong field. Hope Presley passed on some of his secrets to junior Justin Yocum at cornerback.  Justin had 22 solo tackles and 45 tackles.  The Jackets had two first team secondary players, Mason Brooks and Christian Kirby.  These four players were just great.  Man oh man….will these guys be missed. Justin again will need a short memory.

Kaleb Dodson may have been over shadowed by two first team defensive lineman. Drew Cooper and Giuillermo Davilla.  Both super tough in the trenches.  But Kaleb gave no quarter.  17 solo tackles, 39 tackles, tough as they get.  Llano had no weakness in the trenches from any spot.  And just as important, Kaleb, and Davilla and Cooper kept blockers off Llano linebackers. I spoke so much about the 2017 Jacket defensive lineman that were so good.  2018 was just as good.

Linebacker position:  Man oh man.  Everyone has to work together.  The secondary gets help with a strong pass rush.  The linebackers get help when the lineman keep blockers off them.  But this season, our three linebackers more than played their part.  Sophomore All District Mason Baker is a star.  But his two position mates do not carry his water.  Quentin Franklin and Logan Duggar are so good and so aggressive I caught myself praying for a blitz by one of the trio.  They seemed to always make the plays.  Duggar with 49 solo tackles and Quentin with 38 solo tackles and 57 tackles. 2019 looks like it is in good firm hands with all three returning. As a unit, they are so much fun to watch.

Next article in a few days, we will talk about more Jackets. Thanks for reading.

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Jackets and the All-District Team 2018

The All-District team was announced last week.  We put this in Play To Win, Just for the Record.  I’ve been waiting several weeks to begin my articles, but really felt it unfair to make statements that might give false hope to some players.  I really felt strongly that Llano had many of the best players in the District, but, would they be mentioned on the elite list.


Drew Cooper– Senior Defensive end. The best defensive lineman in the district.  A starter for three years, with 29 starts, few made an impact as much as Drew.  A great leader, and a player every team had to coach around.  If they didn’t, Drew made them pay. Due to his play, and the statics that Drew accumulated, I will begin this winter trying to have more statics on the defensive side of the football.  I have many years of stats from Llano’s former head coach, Karl McCormack on the defenses he coached.  The best by any comparisons.  Yet this Jacket team lead by Drew made plenty of noise, and I will try to put the top players in the showcase.  Stats such as “sacks, fumble recoveries, and total tackles”.  It will take some time, but I love working on this. Drew was one of a kind football player. One of the very best in decades in Llano. Caused 3 fumbles, had 7 sacks, and 16 tackles for a loss, plus a total of 65 tackles.

Christian Kirby– Senior, Corner back- a deadly tackling machine, 23 solo tackles, plus speed, made Llano’s secondary one of its’ strongest units.

Mason Brooks– Senior Safety on defense, the Jackets leading rusher on offense with 585 yards, where he was also 2nd Team All District.  Had 30 solo tackles. A sure tackler.  Played his heart out every play. Wonderful team leader.

Mason Baker– Linebacker, sophomore…one of a trio at linebackers that has not been seen in many moons. Mason lead this very strong group, with 54 solo tackles, and 88 tackles. All can sleep well knowing Mason will be back for two more seasons.

Heath Godfrey– Offensive line,  this unit was so much better than years past…just played hard every game, and these lineman, lead by Heath made life better for quarterback Fly and the Jacket passing game. Heath will be a great leader next season as his senior year approaches.

Case Kuykendall– Sophomore, wide receiver, Cade’s favorite target, 512 yards receiving, 172 yards rushing, line this guy up anywhere, and you have a player.  Quick, fast, and dependable.  Two more years to help the Jackets get to the next level.

Diego Miguel– Sophomore, Extra Point man (35 of 36), and field goal experti !!!  * of 8, with a school record 48 yard kick. Diego was  the biggest surprise of the 2018 season.  Not since Grant Morgan has Llano seen a kicker like this.  The Jackets’ future is in a nice place with Diego coming into games  to seal the deals.

In the next week to 10 days will preview the Jackets that also were recognized on the ALL DISTRICT TEAM….working on entries into the record books.  If you see an omission, let me know….might be easier to email me at ….mvirdell@virdellrealestate.com

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2018 Seniors Give Base to Build Future

The 2018 seniors have had time to start reflecting on the success of their seniors year.  Sure, it could have been better, but there will only be one team out of 90 4-A, Division 11 schools that will have no regrets.  Navarro and Cuero play each other this week in game 14 of the season.  Expect a repeat of the district contest.  I hope Cuero wins it all. That would put the number at 7 teams that have been in Llano’s district that went on to win state, should Cuero win.

I am going about things different this year. I am going to post on this site names and numbers that will be put into the record book.  Should I make an error, please let me know.  Also, will still be reviewing the season, and a few more comments about our players, and returning players.

I am planning on adding more categories in the “PLAY OFF” section.  May take a bit.  but One new category will be “Longest Pass/Pass Reception.” 1. Cade Fly to Quincy Prince, 2018, Hondo Bi-District Game, 91 Yards, TD  2. Cade Fly to Brooks Keele, 2018, West Oso Area game, 84 Yards, TD.

In Other Categories;  Most Games Started Career:  Cade Fly 22…should be in top 5.

Most TD Passes Season- Cade Fly: 19   Most Career TD Passes:  35…. Career Yardage with 2017 Yardage…1721 plus 2091…3812…should be second best all time.

In Category of Receiving Yards: Most Yards in a Season, Brooks Keele- 384…add in 2017 for career…1,065 Yards….also Catches Career: 22 plus 2017 catches.

Senior Mason Brooks…2017 season rushing yards 681…2018…585  Total:  1266 yards should be in top 25.

Do Know that Quincy broke a record that has lasted since 1976.  Larry Clutter in 1976 had 10 catches for 313 yards, a 31.3 yard per catch.  Minimum number of catches is 10.  Quincy this season caught 15 passes for 505 yards…a 33.7 yards per catch.  5 TDS. That is remarkable.  Larry will be happy for you.

Still thinking about some defense recognition:  We have interceptions.  Have only scattered tackles and sacs from past…but I guess we HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE.

Diego will have his name in several first place catagories.  But more research….I will post more items later this week.  Thanks for the memories.


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