Vickers All State 4 A II

Braxton Vickers,  Llano High School senior, and LHS record holder in many catagories, including passing for 9 games in a 12 game season for over 200 yards…passing for 2,799 yards in 2019, 36 TD passes in a season, as well as leading the offense to scoring 36.16 points per game, most ever in school history.

Braxton was voted to the second team All State team by the Texas High School Coaches, known as the Padillo Coaches Poll.  Head Llano football coach Matt Green submitted Braxton’s eye popping statistics, and proof was in the puddin….outstanding season by an outstanding young man.

As far as I have been able to find, Braxton is the first LHS quarterback to get such recognition.  So many great LHS quarterbacks in the past…Leroy Finstemaker (Rice), Sherman Bauer (TCU), Shelby Wright ( Tarleton State),  Preston Rabb ( West Texas State), Layton Rabb ( Midwestern),  Cade Fly, and Bradley Kassell ( North Texas State, later the NFL).  Bradley likely came the closest to this recognition, but research says he made All State on defense…one of the best safeties in school history.  Bradley played linebacker in college and in the NFL.

Should information come forward about other LHS quaterbacks getting recognized on this level, be sure I will print it here.


Pre-Season Schedule:           Record Against Teams We Play:   New District:      Past Record:

Gatesville                                              3-5                                         Comfort                2-0

Sonora                                                   5-6                                          Lago Vista           2-2

Austin Crockett                                    Never Played                       Blanco                  4-2

San Saba                                               30-31-2                                   Lulling                 4-0

Ballinger                                               3-3

S.A. Somerset                                       Never Played

Saying Good By To 4-AAAA

The Llano Yellowjackets for the first time in 30 years will start playing schools near the same size as Llano.  Llano had the State Champion in its district 6 times.  Bandera in ’02, Wimberley in ’05, Liberty Hill in ’06 and ’07.   Wimberley again in ’11, and Cuero in 2018.  Four times Llano’s first game in the State Playoffs was against the eventual State Champion:  Rockdale in 1976, Cameron in 1981. Sealey in 1995.  La Grange in 2000. The Jackets played Gatesville in 2000 and Friendswood in 1973, both State Champions.  Burnet, in Llano’s district went to the State Championship game three times, but did not win…1991, 2002, 2003.  You might begin to think that the path to becoming a State Champion…had to go through Llano.   See you in 13-3AAA, Div. I.


Posted in Play to Win | 2 Comments

2019 All District Jackets

OFFENSE: 1st Team:  Quincy Prince-WR- Unanimous-Jr.

Donaven Arrellano- RB- Unanimous-Sr.

Heath Godfrey- OL- Sr.

2nd Team:   Braxton Vickers- Quarterback- Sr.

John Roberts- TE- Sr.

Jared Beasley- WR- Jr.

Case Kuykendall-WR- Jr.

Matthew Whitley- OL- Soph.

DEFENSE:  1st Team: Cade Ligon- DT- Unanimous- Jr.

Jacob Cruz- DE- Unanimous- Sr.

Justin Yocum- DB- Unanimous- Sr.

2nd Team: Jansen Morris-DE- Sr.

Mason Baker- ILB- Jr.

Logan Duggar- ILB- Sr.

Guillermo Davilla- DT- Jr.

Quentin Franklin- OLB- Sr.

Aaron Brown– OLB- Sr.

Honorable Mention:         Luke Hicks- OL- Jr.

Jose Villa- OL- Sr.

Luke Keller- DB- Jr.

Ryan Warner- OLB- Sr.

RETURNING Award Winners:  7 returners will be seniors.  Whitley will be a junior playing in the 2020 season.











Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Move to Class 3-AAA Brings New Challenges

The UIL announced new realignment numbers over the past week, and the Llano Yellowjackets will move from 4-A to 3-A in classification.  Llano High School has had a high of about 535 kids in the four grades over the past 6 years, to a low of 494 kids, the number Llano turned in to the UIL in this past October.  The low number, or cut off line for 4-A, Division II announced was 515.  The Jackets fall under that number, thus the move to the Class 3AAA, Division I.

So…where to go from here?  The UIL will announce in the first few days of this coming February the new district in which Llano will play in over the next two years.  All sports, both girls and boys will participate in the new district.  Speculation is fun, and everyone has an opinion of where Llano could be placed. So, I will give some options that the UIL will make their decisions from.

We could go to any of the three districts listed below, or, the UIL could create a new district out of teams that seem in a displaced location, or to even up the number of teams in a district.

3-3AAA, Div. I:              10- 3AAA, Div. 1                      15-3AAA, Div. 1

Wall                                      Cameron                                 Jourdanton

Eastland                               Rockdale                                 Marion

Jim Ned                               Troy                                           U.C. Randolph

Breckenridge                       Little River Academy            San/A Cole

Clyde                                      Jarrell                                      Cotulla

Early                                                                                         Lytle

Karnes City

Other changes could come into play.  Comfort is also now classified 3 AAA, Division I. They too could move into one of these districts.  Most speculation sees the Jackets moving into the eastern district, 10-3AAA.  Manor Tech moved our of 10-3AAA, up to 4 AAAA, so that leaves an uneven number there.  6 teams in a district is ideal, so everyone has 5 district games.

Travel is some consideration, but do not think it is heavily weighed by the UIL, as two years ago “our district” took in Cuero, a good 110 miles trip.  I’m sure Cuero did not like it either.  Cameron is 129 miles from Llano.  Rockdale 111 miles. Troy 110 miles.  Going West, Eastland is 136 miles.  Breckenridge is 158 miles.  Jim Ned 145 miles.  Going South, Karnes City is 162 miles.  Cotulla 194 miles!!!  So, going east might be easier on kids and families traveling late basketball nights.

In State play-offs going on today, of the above teams, only Troy is still playing.  For many years, this 3-AAA district has been one of the strongest.  Cameron and Rockdale both have won state championships over the past few years.  Troy may this year.

The Llano girls programs may benefit the most by moving to 3AAA.  Having to play the likes of Liberty Hill in past years has been tough.  Liberty Hill turned in over 1,300 kids in the four grades.  2 1/2 times more than Llano.  Now the Panthers move up to Class 5 AAAAA.  Wimberley moves to Division I.  Likely back into district with Burnet and Lampasas.

So, speculate all you like…but come February, we all will know.  And a new challenge will face the Jackets.

Next week will talk some on the returning players for the 2020 season.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Seniors Can Be proud of 2019

The let down after the last football game every season is not measured in feet and inches, but in miles….just as there are few better feelings than beating Hondo, or Brady or Cuero…nothing worse than the last game.

Every team in 4 AAAA, Division II gets the same feeling every year, except one.  Last year, only Cuero was happy at the end of the season.  Llano had disappointments, but those games cannot overcome the joy of a very good season.  Accomplishments that no other Yellowjacket teams have ever had.

Just to mention a few.  Highest scoring Jacket team in history.  434 points. Over 36 points a game.  Yardage…4,729 -, second most ever…EVER!!! And while most players rarely see their names in print, that should not matter.  These senior lineman can go forward to know how special their  team was.  And you had a big hand in it all.   Heath Godfrey, Lewis McTighe, Jose Villa, Jacob Bubenick, and Edgardo Resendiz blocked for Llano’s best.  Do not like to bring this in the mix, but I am unable to better describe it.   In 1967, I was a senior tight end.  Randy Scott was our tailback.  The entire offensive line wanted Randy to get to 1,000 yards.  A 1,000 yards rushing 51 years ago was very special. We worked on it every game.  And Randy’s  name is in the record books today.  I still feel pretty darn proud that as a lineman blocking for Randy, that I helped get to that magic benchmark.  BBQ ICON, Terry Wootan was the starting center. John Krauss and Billy Whitson were our guards.  Joe (Joe’s fame) Lawley, and Steven Dansby were the tackles.  We accoplished something pretty special in 1967.  You accomplised something even more special as a team, in 2019.

The 2019 defensive line was so good.  The grunt workers…No better than Jacob Cruz, who was able to stay healthy all season, and lead the team in sacks.  So quick…great, great senior year.   But when well, Jansen Morris was unblockable.  Missed a few games, but still one of the leading tacklers on the team.  Another great senior season. Hard to replace Jansens’ play. Utility players like  Matthew Ibanez played strong and with great effort when occasions arose.  The Jackets have two great juniors coming back next season in Guillermo Davila and Cade Ligon to continue the tradition of these very good defensive lineman.

Jacket linebackers were some of the best ever.  Seniors Ryan Warner, Logan Duggar, Aaron Inge, Juan Flores, and Quentin Franklin all were tops.  Ryan made so many big, big plays.  Logan so quick to the ball, and don’t forget his TD return of a blocked field goal against Lake View. That is now in the record book.  Flores became so valuable when many times injuries forced Juan to play.  There was no drop off.  Aaron Inge too became a big contributor in district play.  Great play anywhere player.  And two year starter Quentin Franklin, a “high breed” linebacker who rushed the passer…great career ….so many big plays when Llano had to have them.

Jacket secondary was so strong, so solid…few ever times were we beat deep.  Speed at the corner came from senior Justin Yocum.  A special player that contributed on offense, and special teams.  Loved his hard play every game.  Tough guy, and one of the best in years at the corner.  Joe Reed came on strong as the season progressed.  Made a ton of tackles, and really made a difference in how strong and dependable the secondary developed into.  Randall Murray too made a difference, and picked up the effort as the season moved along.  Very solid open field tackler…quick…so good…And last but not least, safety Aaron Brown…maybe the most talented player on the team…best safety in many years to play for Llano…made tackle after tackle behind the line of scrimmage.  Was never beat deep that I saw…and so valuable when he helped out of offense…speed was WOW…with his catching of passes as a sophomore,and this season, see his name in the record books…great player that made great great plays.

Enough said about the records, but Braxton Vickers had his hand on most…Most yardage passing in a season (2,799) …most TD passes in a season…and career (36)…top 7 games in the top 30 games  passing all time…9 of Baxton’s 12 games started, were for over 200 yards…most yards passing in a play-off game (399).  And he had help in senior running back Donaven Arrellano who surprised many with very good speed.  Got the State Play-off game started against Devine with a 50 yard run on the second play, and had he not gotten hurt, would have passed the 1,000 yard mark for the year.  Over 1,000 yards rushing for his career.

The injury of senior John Roberts was a very tough loss for Llano, but his play was superb before that injury.  Wish him all the best.  And these seniors will be remembered.  I’ve been told that being remembered is one of life’s greatest wishes. Jacket fans everywhere will do just that.  And looking at the record book fifty years from now, someone will say,….”man, those 2019 Yellowjackets must have been pretty darn good”.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Jackets Downed by Sinton in Area Game 41-33

The Sinton Pirates outscored the Llano Yellowjackets Friday night at Gustafson Stadium in San Antonio to advance in the State Playoffs.  The score of 41-33 is not misleading, as the teams scored each time putting the game closer as it went along.  Mistakes on both sides gave opportunity to the other. Llano recovered an onside kick, and recovered a fumble.  Sinton intercepted a Jacket pass late in the game, and forced three punts in the first half.  The score was 27-21 at halftime.

The Jacket’s defense faced two very good running backs that broke many tackles.  Sinton had 9 runs of over 10 yards. And completed 10 passes of over 10 yards.

The third quarter was good for Llano.  The defense forced a fumble and then held Sinton on three series of downs and allowing only 89 yards.  Llano scored late in the third quarter, on a record breaking pass from senior Braxton Vickers to junior receiver Quincy Price for 95 yards. Junior Diego Miguel kicked his third extra point of the night and the score was 27-27. The fourth quarter was not as good to Llano.

Early in the fourth quarter, Sinton scored on a ten yard run. Llano got the ball back.  Braxton completed a 10 yard pass to junior Jared Beasley, and a 29 yard pass to junior Case Kuykendall, but was still forced to punt.  Llano’s defense held on Sinton’s next opportunity.  Great plays by seniors  Quentin Franklin, Jacob Cruz, Joseph Reed and junior Luke Keller.  Sinton punted. The Jackets had completions to Case for 13, and 21 to senior Donaven Arrellano.  Donaven ran for 3 and Case picked up 8 more. But on first down, an interception by Sinton resulted in a return for a touchdown.  The 41-27 score looked tough to overcome.  Llano never quit, and after the kickoff, Braxton completed three straight passes to Jared for three first downs and 40 yards. Then he hit a streaking Quincy over the middle for a 27 yard TD strike, putting the score at 41-34 with 29 seconds to play.

The Jackets played their hearts out.  Never any oh heck….but it was always a great second effort to get back into the game.  Mistakes are part of the game.  Llano just made several more than needed to win this game. Llano finishes the season with a 7-5 record.

The sting of this  loss will last a long time.  Especially for the seniors.  Many seniors had their best games.  Linebacker Logan Duggar was one that was outstanding.  Senior safety Aaron Brown played outstanding on defense, but had a very productive offensive game, carrying the football 7 times for 54 yards, and catching two passes for 37 yards and a TD.

Jansen Morris, despite injuries, was so good, many times running down backs from behind.  Great effort.  Senior Ryan Warner at linebacker too had his best game. Such a dependable linebacker over the past three years.  Justin Yocum, senior cornerback made outstanding play after play.  It was tough guarding the tall Sinton recievers, and making tackles up on the line of scrimmage.

Will take more over the next few weeks as I put together the stats for the record books.  So many records were broken. Senior Braxton Vickers stands out first.  But his 399 yards passing against Sinton was outstanding.  His quarterback rating was an outstanding 129.3 for the game. 179 yards to junior Quincy Prince and two Tds, also a record in playoffs.  Not to be overlooked…Quincy had an 88 yard kickoff return for a TD, in the second quarter, his second of the season., to go along with his 17 TD pass catches this season.   Case caught 7 passes for 73 yards, and Jared had 7 catches for 96 yards and a TD.  Case also had 7 rushes for another 36 yards.  Diego Miguel kicked 4 of 5 extra points.

The numbers are ones we have not seen before.  Record breaking points per game.  Offensive lineman can take a bow.  The receivers were the highest ranked for number of entries.  This week will try to get to record books.  Then talk with you in a week or so.  Hope to make some sense out of this wonderful season, coming to an end way too soon.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Gustafson Stadium Has Llano Connection

Amanda Morgan Center graduated from Llano High School in 2014.

Matthew Center graduated from Llano High School in 2013.

Amanda and Matthew dated in high school, and attended The University of Texas together.  Matt graduated in 2017.  Amanda graduated in 2018.  They got married this past summer, 2019.

Amanda works for a world-wide artificial intelligence firm in Austin.  Matthew works for a one of the largest commercial /residential investment firms in the US, working in Austin.

Matthew, with great help from the former Burnet Head football coach, and the former Brownwood Head Coach, Bob Shipley, received an invite to walk on the Texas University football team in 2013. Matthew played for four years, and graduated in four years. earning the prestigious “Darrell Royal” ring at graduation.

Marvin Gustafson  was a lifetime coach and athletic director in San Antonio.  He was the Athletic Director of the Northside Independent School District for 14 years.  Gustafson Stadium was named after Marvin Gustafson.

Marvin Gustafson was Amanda’s Grandfather.

The Llano Yellowjackets play Sinton in the Area State Playoff Game Friday night, November 22, at Gustafson Stadium at 7:30 PM.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

1957 Team Very Special

The 1957 Llano Yellowjackets were very good.  They had a defense that shutout four teams.  They allowed only 111 points all season.  The team played  in a time in which only the district champion made the playoffs.  Lose the wrong game, and basketball began the next Monday.  So Championships were a big deal.  Llano thought and played like it was a champion.  Yet on October 4, 1957 San Saba beat the Jackets 19-7.  Here is a game by game break down of the 1957 season, records recorded in a journal  by Head football Coach Jim Moore.  This Journal is in the Llano Hall of Fame.

GAME 1: Sept. 6, 1957- Evant…Llano 44- Evant 0.  Freshman Henry Hammons, a legend already after a junior high career that some still talk about today. Have been told he was never tackled.  Others said he scored over 50 touchdowns.  But against Evant, in his first varsity football game Henry scored four touchdowns on runs of 45, 12, 7, and 62 yards.  His pal and senior running back Walter Ligon scored three touchdowns on runs of 20, 35, and 33, with a 40 yard run called back.  Senior fullback George Fraser had a 45 yard TD called back, but had 84 yards on 12 carries.  Henry carried the ball only 6 times for 156 yards.  Walter carried 10 times for 130 yards.  Senior quarterback Bill Anderson had one carry for 7 yards.  Llano had 399 yards in three quarters.  Coach Moore notes he “did not get all of 2nd quarter ” recorded.

GAME 2: Sept. 13, 1957-  Llano 33 Junction 7: This week Walter Ligon had TD runs of 6, 21, and a 45 yard TD called back.  Fraser had one TD and kicked 3 extra points.  Henry had a TD run of 4 yards.  Winfred Bauer had a pass interception, and Don Ray Hopson caught a pass for 34 yards.

GAME 3: Sept. 20, 1957-  Llano 0 San Saba 22:  Fraser had 11 carries and 63 yards.  Henry had 36 yards on 8 carries.  Ligon had 15 yards and 8 carries. Anderson had one carry and one yard.  Llano only had 116 yards of offense.

GAME 4: Sept. 27, 1957- LLano 46  St. Edwards 0-  George Fraser had 23 carries, 208 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns, on runs of 30, 17, and 55 yards.  George also kicked 4 extra points.  Don Ray Hopson had a 50 yard TD catch, plus ran back an interception for 50 yards.  Henry had 18 carries and 141 yards.  Anderson carries 5 times for 49 yards. Sandy Hodges had 6 carries and 43 yards.  Bubba Allen had one carry for one yard and a first down.  Sam Oatman carried once for 3 yards, and Olney Wallis carried once for 2 yards.  Llano had 480 yards of offense.

GAME 5: Oct. 4, 1957- Llano 7, Mason 19.  George Fraser had 128 yards on 25 carries, and kicked one extra point.  Henry had 6 carries and 28 yards and a 3 yard TD run.  Hodges had 8 carries and 35 yards.  Anderson had 3 carries and 9 yards.  Hopson carried 2 times and 3 yards.  Carl Ray Martin carried once and lost one yard.  Llano only had 202 yards of offense. Mason went on to win the district championship.

GAME 6:  Oct. 11, 1957- Llano 34  Rising Star 0- Fraser had 17 carries and 165 yards,  two TD runs of 14 and one yards, and kicked four extra points.  Henry had 11 carries and 118 yards, with a 6 yard TD run.  Bill Anderson carries 3 times for 22 yards, and a 13 yard TD run, plus ran back a punt 80 yards for a TD.  Sandy Hodges had 4 carries for 43 yards, and Martin 4 carries for 13 yards.  Llano had 316 yards of offense.

GAME 7: Oct. 18, 1957- Llano 46  Burnet 21- George Fraser had the game of a life-time.  7 TD runs of 2,2, 8, 1, 5, 45 and 2, plus 3 extra points, for a total of 45 points, today still a school record.  George had 36 carries and 317 yards.  An average of 8.8 yards a carry. Henry carried 15 times for 94 yards. He also kicked an extra point. Anderson had 3 carries for 17 yards.  Sandy Hodges had 5 carries and 6 yards.  Carl Ray Martin one carry and two yards, and Ligon 2 carries and 9 yards.  Hopson caught one pass for 25 yards, and one run for 23 yards.  Llano finished with 470 yards.  Coach Moore notes that after this game, Fraser had 1081 yards, and Hammons had 657 yards.

GAME 8: November 1, 1957-  LLano 19, Cross Plains 18- Fraser had two TD runs of 4 and 14 yards, and one extra point, with a total of 141 yards on 22 carries.  Henry had one 86 yard run for a TD, and finished with 119 yards on 11 carries. Anderson had 9 carries for 4 yards.  Hodges had one carry and 7 yards.  Ligon 4 carries and 16 yards. Hopson had one pass reception for 10 yards.  Llano had 297 yards of offense.

GAME 9: November 7, 1956- Llano 53, Santa Anna 0- Fraser had 4 TDs, on runs of 7, 72, 87 and 7 yards.  George kicked three extra points, but a school record of 356 yards on 27 carries is pretty darn special.  Don Ray Hopson had his best night, catching 3 passes for 79 yards and two TDs, for 9 and 43 yards.  Henry had 15 carries and 62 yards, plus 2 extra points.  Carl Ray Martin had a 96 yard punt return for a TD.  Anderson had 2 carries for 16 yards, and had a 33 yard punt return.  Ligon had 4 carries for 33 yards. And Hodges had 6 carries for 20 yards.  The Jackets had 563 yards for the night.

GAME 10: November 15, 1057- Llano 52  Goldthwaite 26- George’s final game as a Jacket saw two TD runs of 5 and 20 yards, and one extra point.  He had 29 carries and 177 yards. Henry had two TD runs of 6 and 6 yards, and one extra point.  He had 18 carries and 128 yards.  Ligon, in his final game after an injured plagued year had two TD runs of each two yards, and 16 carries and 115 yards.  Anderson carries four times for 53 yards, and Hopson had one TD of 35 yards, one extra point and 3 carries for 88 more yards.  Llano had 561 yards of offense.

The four  players herein mentioned the most are all legendary.  Three are in the LHS Hall of Fame.  George Fraser is considered by many the greatest running back in LHS history.  His 1800 plus yards rushing in his single year is only surpassed by the great James Grantham, nearly 4 decades later. His 21 touchdowns and 22 extra points are in the record books. George’s 45 points in a single game still are # 1.  The disappointment is no records before 1957.  If we can ever find solid numbers for George’s sophomore and junior seasons, they would likely put his name all over the school record book.  Yet his legacy will still last forever in LHS lore.  George accepted a four years scholarship to Texas Tech where he played for four years, and received his degree.  After a career living in the Houston area, George retired back to Llano where he now resides with his beautiful wife Patsy.

Henry Hammons too accepted a scholarship to Texas Tech after his senior year.  Finding LHS records for Henry for his sophomore, junior and seniors seasons so far have been tough.  Still looking.  Yet his freshman year numbers of  892 yards rushing on 108 carries for a 8.25 average per carry will be entered into the record books.  Henry had 13 touchdowns and 5 extra points also his freshman year.  Henry was with his life long buddy George at Tech, but George graduated, and then Henry got hurt.  He laid out for a while, and then transferred to Louisiana Tech University where he was able to continue playing.  Henry too ended up back in Llano, and opened Big Johns’ BBQ at Fuzzy’s Corner.  For many years his business thrived and often one could see George helping at the pit at the BBQ pits.  Henry passed away a few years ago.

Don Ray Hopson accepted a football scholarship to Baylor University.  He played for a couple of years, and then worked in the East Texas area before he retired in East Texas.  Don Ray was recruited as an end, when a time few passes were even thrown.  His great athleticism was recognized by Baylor and he too is long remembered in Jacket history.

The legend of Walter Ligon makes grown men blush.  Tough as they come.  His senior year was off to a great beginning, when in mid season he hurt his knee.  He came back to towards the end of the season to play part-time.  He had 115 yards rushing in his final game at Llano.  His quickness and toughness was recognized by Rice University, where he accepted a football scholarship.  Walter was tough, and took little from others.  Legend tells us he was in a fight near the school and it must have been bad.  Walter was kicked out of school.  I got to know Walter later in life when he was selling real estate in the Lubbock area.  He often stopped by and we talked Llano football. I found him funny and clever.  Walter passed away a few years ago.

Growing up, these four players were god-like.  The best football players ever.  Still today, 62 years later, they are remembered.  I was so fortunate to know these men.  All were more special than just high school football players.  All had productive lives and careers, and families.  Maybe that is why they are all so special.

You can find all of the Llano High School records in the heading of the mast under school records…or you can go to LISD web site and under athletics all can be found also.

Posted in Play to Win | 2 Comments

Jackets Beat Cuero…Iconic WINNNN !

The Yellowjackets win over defending State Champion Cuero Friday night in Jacket Stadium will go down as one of the great wins in Jacket history.  While Cuero is not having a championship season, the Gobblers are and will be a standard held by few in Class 4 A. With 4/4 returning starters back from the State Championship team of last season, this team is loaded with talented sophomore and juniors.  Ranked as high as 16th earlier in the season, Cuero has lost several games by less than a few points.

People reading this maybe for the first time, may question the soundness of beating a team that is not having a great win/loss record.  But as Head Coach Matt Green pointed out Friday night after the game, Cuero still has one of the very best Coaches in the State in Travis Reeve.  Their string of many State Championships goes back over 50 years.  Cuero is one of the best football programs in the State.  Llano had never beaten the Gobblers until Friday night.

I was fortunate to get back to my pickup after the game to listen to the “GREAT ONE”, Art Dlugach with his interviews and comments post game.  Art reminded his listeners that this was the second time the Jackets have beaten a State Champion in the following  year after they won State.  in 2002 Bandera played Llano in the last game of the season.  Winner would go to the playoffs.  Llano played one of the greatest games in Jacket history playing in Bandera…  But in a second over-time, Bandera won.  Yellowjackets on that team such as Jason Smith, Hunter Ratliff, record holder Michael White, Jerrod Virdell, Nick Moratori, Adam Gunter, Theron Oatman, Rhett Butler and Blake Freeman to name a few.  Bandera finished the season with a 5-5 record.  They finished the season 11-5!…. State Champions.  Llano beat Bandera the next season 42-0 in Llano.

Llano played a complete game Friday night.  The defense played lights out against a quick and fast team.  Where to start?  Might start with the Jackets front three down lineman, that produced 7 plays for a loss.  Starters Jansen Morris, Jacob Cruz, Guillermo Davila, junior Cade Ligon and Edgardo Resendiz had “Best Games” all five.  Jansen went down with an injury, yet the pressure continued.  Junior Dalton Enberg too is making plays.  At one point in the fourth quarter, the Cuero quarterbacks had 7 straight incomplete passes. Strong secondary play.  Great pass rush.

The Secondary you ask?  Never has Llano had this kind of speed.  Maybe should not say this but safety Aaron Brown is having an all star season.  Reminds me of the safety play in the vein of past greats Billy Bickett and Chad Wootan. Great open field tackler. And do not believe Aaron has let anyone get behind him all year.  His secondary members with lots of speed and savvy are super player senior Justin Yocum and junior Luke Keller at the corners.  Sound tacklers both.  Both Seniors  Joseph Reed and and Randall Murray have really become  difference makers. Making tackles for losses, and then defending in the lonely secondary..  Seniors having a great year.

Llano’s linebackers are tremendous.  Great tacklers.  Motors never stop.  Speed. These linebackers are setting the bar very high.  Junior Mason Baker, senior Logan Duggar, senior Juan Flores, senior Ryan Warner, senior Quentin Franklin are just so good.  When the Jacket defense is on the field, I feel safe.  Aaron Inge is contributing, as is Anthony Meza, a sophomore.  Love watching these guys play.  Holding Cuero to 16 points was a feat.

When you score 35 points, and your quarterback throws 5 touchdown passes,  something is working.  Senior Braxton Vickers is going to fill the record book.  Usually calm and in control.  Having a great year, and he has help.  Throwing to eight different receivers this season.  Great play coming from junior Jared Beasley ( 3 for 119 yards) ..two TD catches, one for a mere 81 yards to break open the game in the third quarter to put Llano out front 21-16.  Catches by Senior Donaven Arrellano, Brown (4 for 36 yards), senior John Roberts two catches for 7 yards, but one a TD in the third quarter.  And Luke Keller had a catch.  Watched as senior Jacob Bubenik blocked great downfield for Donaven.  Spreading the ball around.  All of the players can score.  All are fast.  This Braxton lead offense is averaging 36.4 points per game.  Maintained…would be a school record.

Another observation.  I think this game with Cuero, junior Quincy Prince became a real receiver.  Sure, he has caught lots of passes, and lots of TDs.  He has won games, and showed great speed and smooth moves.  But after Friday night, I totally trust Quincy.  He caught 8 passes for 165 yards, and two TDs.  But it was not the statistics I saw.  It was the maturity that I watched as Quincy caught every pass with his hands extended out.  He watched the football come into his hands, and not his chest.  Then he displayed is skills. Man, where is the bar?  Quincy and this group of receivers should be confident enough to worry any foe.  Yardage after the catch is off the charts.

All of this and the guys that no one remembers, do all of the heavy lifting.  And usually only Mom, Dad, a few grandparents, and a Coach or two know their names.  Luke Hicks, Heath Godfrey, Jose Villa, Lewis McTighe, and sophomore Matthew Whitley, Enberg, Morris, and Resendiz make up an offensive line that is getting better every game.  These players are the toughest on the field.  Someone hits them in the mouth nearly every play.  Yet they play together, and know what each other faces every play.  This unit is getting strong and confident.   Our record breakers know their names.

I think I have this right.  After the Cuero game, Art ‘s interview with Coach Matt Green…Green said Llano would be in the playoffs, unless Cuero were to beat both Wimberley and Navarro.

Then the winner of the Llano-Bandera would be the fourth team.  Make no plans yet.  Bandera is 6-1, and they have a good program beginning there.  New Coach, new attitude, and new beliefs. Bandera thinks they will beat the Jackets on their home field Friday night.  Bandera will be playing as hard as any team Llano has played all year.  And so will the Jackets play hard.  But key is playing hard from the start.

Penalties prevented Llano from scoring on their first drive against Cuero.  Had 6 for the night.  To win, Jackets must get better.  There are no easy teams to play.  Everyone is playing for their lives.  Beating Bandera is a must. Not a maybe, or a hope so.  A must.  Getting win number 6 is a must.  Senior leadership can make this happen.  This is the time of the year where times are serious.  The mental part is the most important part.  Eliminate the mistakes.  And make very single play count.  Beating Bandera is a must.

Llano 38   Bandera 20

Posted in Play to Win | 1 Comment

Jackets Stumble…Now Must Get Up

There is no nice way to talk about the Navarro game Friday night.  The 55-14 loss was just not good.  Llano never hit on any cylinders. The timing was off, the tackling was poor, and the offense had little time on the field.  The Jackets can right this ship, but now urgency is foremost.

The Jackets had the ball on offense only 3 plays in the first quarter against #10 ranked Navarro Friday night.  The second quarter not much better.  Four straight three and outs took any semblance of timing away from the Jackets.  Effort was there.  Hustle was there.  But not in a way that produced results.  Junior Jared Beasley  showed up big time with two touchdown catches from senior quarterback Braxton Vickers.  Senior Justin Yocum blocked an extra point kick.  And seniors Jansen Morris and Jacob Cruz had lots of tackles.  Lots.

Can’t dismiss the 95 yards rushing by senior Donavan Arellano.  Or first time to carry the football, Mason Baker picking up 39 rushing yards on 3 carries.  Great to see.  His style so different from Donavens’…..may have found something here.

Jacket defense was worn out by halftime.  31 plays at halftime.  Defense just couldn’t get off the field against the very  experienced slot T offense.  Strong effort from senior Quentin Franklin, Baker and senior Logan Duggar.  Junior Luke Keller played hard.

Maybe we learned something from the Navarro game.  But there is no time to ponder about that.  This week Llano plays the returning State 4 -A State Champion, Cuero.  The Jackets have played Cuero three previous times, one in regular season, and two play-off contest.  Llano is 0-3 against the Gobblers.  The game is in Llano.  But this season may be different.

The Jackets can right this ship with a win over the one win Gobblers.  Cuero will be Cuero.  Always pretty good.  But I do think the Jackets had a bad night last Friday.  And do believe these seniors know they are better than that one game.  They can get back into the play-off picture against a team that is beatable.  The Jackets can run the football.  The team can pass.  And the defense has shown they can play hard and not miss tackles.  This week they must put it all together.  Come out hard in the first quarter. Establish the tone of the game.  I believe Llano will beat Cuero, and forget about the last week, and only look forward to obtaining those goals that were set forth a mere 6 weeks ago.  Winning #5 this week will happen.

Llano 28   Cuero 21.

Posted in Play to Win | 2 Comments

Jackets Getting Prepared for Big Test

The 4-1 2019 Llano Yellowjackets travel to Navarro Friday night to play the most important game of the season.  October 11 opens District 13-4A Div. 11 play, with all six teams begin their quest for the District Crown.

The Jackets at 4-1 look to have their best talent, their best stats, and their best preparedness to beat the “thorn in the side” Panthers.  Navarro played in Llano last season, and were so lucky to leave town with a victory.  The Jackets won everywhere but on the scoreboard.  This year, Llano gets the opportunity to return the favor.

Navarro ended last season with an impressive 10-3 record.  Graduated their three year starting quarterback, but return two great running backs, both with over 1,000 yards last season, running out of their very efficient slot-T formation.  If Jansen Morris, Jacob Cruz, Guillermo Davila and Cade Ligon do not make a tackle Friday night, will be fine with me if they can keep blockers off our linebackers to seal off the running attack.  Seniors Quentin Franklin, Ryan Warner, Aaron Inge, Juan Flores, Edgardo Resendiz, and junior Mason Baker make up a great linebacker crew. Gang tackling will  be the key.  Every play, Navarro has to know the Jackets’ defense has shown up.

The Jacket secondary is formidable.  Junior Luke Keller, and seniors Justin Yocum, Joseph Reed, Randall Murray, Logan Duggar, and safety Aaron Brown all can be game changers. ( Jared Beasley and Quincy Prince are strong backups). But cannot go to sleep watching the running game and allow a streaking receiver run by deep, or a running back slip out into the flats.  This Jacket secondary may be as fast as any I have seen.  Play up to their talent and Llano will win.

The Jacket offense is averaging over 40 points per game.  The running game lead by senior Donaven Arrellano can keep the Jackets on the field. And Llano’s offensive line plays a big part here.  No resting plays. (Know the snap count)!! Every play will count.  As the running game goes, so goes the passing attack, averaging over 200 yards per game.  Great receivers with great speed.  “Watching the ball in all the way” is one way that Coach Priem has been teaching this talented group.  Senior quarterback Braxton Vickers will get the receivers the ball.  Catch the ball, and these guys can deliver.  Score 40 and Llano will win.

Last week against Lake View, junior field goal kicker Diego Miguel  tried a 52 yard field goal.  From the angel of “most” in  Jacket Stadium, it was good.  I guess it missed by a few inches.  I bet there were few attempts last week in the State of Texas of 52 yard attempts.  Shows confidence Jacket head Coach Matt Green has in Diego.  May come down to a field goal.  If it does, would not trade Diego for anyone .

Hope Jackets let Diego try to kick off out of the end zone each time.  Jacket coverage on kick offs a bit off.  But great hustle this season by Flores, Warner and Justin Bubenik are not the issue.  Great effort by these seniors.

Over the past 4-5 years, Jackets play just as well on others teams fields as they do at home games.  Feel this plays no part.  Navarro has not seen this version of the Yellowjackets.   Speed can make the difference.  But I think the Jackets 20 seniors will be the difference.  This game is winnable, and these seniors know it.  If they play smart, and play lights out every play, Llano will win.

Navarro is ranked in the top 10 in 4 A, Div 11.  Harris Poll will likely have the Panthers as a 20 point favorite.  Great

Mikel’s  Poll:  Llano 38   Navarro 28


Posted in Play to Win | 1 Comment