Part 2- San Saba

Sorry to have two parts, but got off track.

The defense is getting better, but have pretty good idea that Defensive Coordinator Matt Anastasio looks for better. Senior Watson and sophomore River Smith along with outstanding Jaxon Rhea are playing so strong in the middle of the line. Linebackers Ricky, Hayden and Fitz Kennedy are sure bets every down. And sure am warming up to this secondary. Briggs Green, and Caden Bauman are making hands. Jackson Dillard has three interceptions. Coy Kelso got one against San Saba. Players like Daniel Sandoval, Hudson Godfrey and Brock Fly are getting good playing time. And feel safe when Sam is at cornerback, as well as Bush anad Aiden.

New week, new team. Travel this week to Ballinger. Ballinger is a good football team. 11-2 last season, and the only team to beat State Champion Jim Ned in 2020. Ballinger in the late 1960s’ was in Llano’s district. 3-3 over all with the Bearcats. The Big Red is always tough on their home field. Another team that thinks they owe Llano one. Ballinger is picked to win their 3-A District, and returns their very good quarterback.

Llano can finish September undefeated. That would be nice. Long trip to Ballinger, so a joyful trip home, too would be nice. Good practices, and sound football, and Llano will be 4-1.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Jackets Pound 5-A Austin Crockett 37-7

The Llano Yellowjackets beat 5-A Austin Crockett 37-7 Friday night at Homecoming for Llano. The win put the Jackets at 2-1 for the season, and was the 8th straight win for Llano at Jacket Stadium. The Jackets travel to long time rival San Saba this Friday night playing at San Saba.

The Jackets are playing better. And that is the key. Fewer mistakes each week, few penalties, better tackling, better blocking and more heads up play. Llano exchanged punts with Crockett the first two series. But with 8:01 in the first quarter senior quarterback Maddox Green hit junior Ross Prokop for an 11 yard TD catch. Jackson Dillard kicked good and Llano lead 7-0.

The old adage that defenses are ahead of offenses at the beginning of seasons. True to form in Llano. The defense held Crockett to 22 yards of offense in the first quarter, and a heads up play by Isaiah Bush with his first varsity interception saved Llano from the play before in which Llano fumbled a punt on the 20 yard line. Llano then drove 76 yards on 11 plays to take a 13-0 lead after the first quarter. Strong runs by Carson Kuykendall, Maddox and junior Miguel Hernandez kept the attack balanced. Catches from Maddox to Sam Sueltenfuss for 13 yards, four more by Jackson, and the final 3 yard TD to Sam for the score.

The Jacket defense is playing at mid season form. No one player playing harder than the others. The defensive line is outstanding, lead by junior Jaxon Rhea and senior Zach Watson. The linebackers clean up every play. Two year starters Ricky De La Torre and Hayden Manahan along with new starter Fitz Kennedy can’t be out worked.

And the secondary. Sam and Isaiah, along with Caden Bauman and Briggs Green are making statements and are sure tacklers. Junior Ryan Turner is making a hand. This group could be very good. Newcomer Bryce Mize makes plays. Sophomores Tanner Howell, Donavan Simmons, Cole Franklin and Dylan Kennedy are going to be good. Junior River Smith is making plays in the line. So many are stepping up. And there are others, but this is what a fan can now expect. A Jacket team that improves, with new names and faces being counted. Improvement each week is the key. Llano has seven very tough weeks ahead. Getting better is the only way to keep taking that next step up.

Love seeing the special team hustle from Aiden Guido, Coy Kelso, Cole Franklin, Brock Fly, Jenin Bastyens, Aiden Henderickson and Ryan. All work hard on teams that get little attention until something goes wrong. Also saw hard play from junior Daniel Sandoval…good player. And good play from Kaden Raborn in the defensive line. Very good back-up player.

Llano went ahead 20-0 in the second quarter when Miguel carried twice for 36 yards, and Carson sprinted in from 7 yards out.

Fitz Kennedy stopped an 8 play Crockett drive with his first varsity interception in the third quarter. Ricky got another sac. Simmons made a stop for no yards. And the offense ran the ball in the third quarter. Miguel behind the blocking of Jaxon Lange and Ross Edwards gained 64 yards in the quarter on 6 carries. Carson had 47 yards on 4 carries and another TD, with help from offensive lineman Sandoval, Zach, Simmons, Hudson Godfrey and sophomore Dylan Kennedy.

Another great catch by junior Coy Kelson in the corner of the end zone for a 4 yard TD catch from Maddox. Second week in a row for Coy with a great TD catch and gave Llano the final score of 37-7. On to San Saba.

One of the Jackets oldest rivalries is San Saba. For decades we were in the same district. The over-all record of 32-32-1 indicates many tough and revengeful games. In the late 1960s’, San Saba’s Coach, John Baskin took the Armadillos to the quarterfinals. Always a very competitive program. But then about 3 years later, San Saba had a record of 4-6. And the school board fired Baskin.

Baskin took the offensive coordinator job in Llano under head Coach Ken Gray in 1973. They had played together in college at Howard Payne. In 1973 Llano went to the quarterfinals with a 9-3-1 record. Two years later Ken Gray left to Coach the offensive line of the Denver Bronchos’, and Baskin was moved up to the head coach in Llano.

Baskin beat San Saba every year for about 6 years. Over one 3 year period of play, Llano scored over 160 points against the ‘Dillos. Baskin still is one of the best coaches Llano has ever had. And his record proves that out. When John moved to Llano, he brought his family. “Johnny B”, his son, was in the eighth grade at the time. Johnny B won 4 straight 800 meter District Championships, as well as winning the State Championship by 40 yards his junior year in Memorial Stadium. in Austin. Johnny was All-District 3 years, and All West Texas and All Central Texas. Johnny did not play basketball. He ran track at Angelo State University four years and was on the National Championship Team. And Friday night Johnny B was inducted into the LHS Hall of Fame. His Mother and Dad live now in San Antonio. Johnny B coached for 30 years, and has just retired last year. He came to the Llano San Saba game last year.

Oh me. That darn revenge thing. I have an idea that the Armidillos will be looking forward to Friday night. Llano travels to the “graveyard”. Yes, it really was a cemetery at one time. Some still think it still is!! San Saba has a good program, and a very good Coach. After what happened in the game last year, you can expect playing hard by the ‘Dillos will not be a problem. Llano will have to play tough and smart. And we will. See you in San Saba.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Jackets Play Solid Against Sonora

The 35-12 victory Friday night was an excellent start in righting the ship for the 2021 Llano Yellowjackets. The win at Jacket Stadium was a big lift for an offense that struggled the first week of play, and enforced the confidence of a defense that has a chance to be very special. The Jackets would have a hard time duplicating the play of the first half of play. Llano lead 22-0 at halftime, and scored 13 more points in the second half, with most every Jacket getting playing time. Sonora was held to less than 30 yards of offense in the first half. The Jacket offense had nearly 300 yards of offense.

Took only the second play of the game for senior quarterback Maddox Green to find junior wide receiver Sam Sueltenfuss on a down and out pattern, in which Sam slipped the tackle and took it to the end zone. Pretty sure this was Sam’s first varsity TD reception, and Maddox’s first TD pass this season. Line play came into the formula, with junior Jaxon Lange, and seniors Matthew Whitley and Zach Watson protecting Maddox.

The defense controlled the game. Junior linebackers Hayden Manahan and Ricky De La torre were on the ball carriers all night long. Junior defensive end Jaxon Rhea and Zach Watson were beast in the defensive line. Junior River Smith helped Llano to drop the Broncos for 7 plays and loss yardage, as well as pressuring the quarterback and a Jacket interception by junior Jackson Dillard put Llano back in business on the 49 yard line. From there junior Carson Kuykendall and junior Miguel Hernandez ran the ball 8 straight plays that set up a Jackson Dillard 25 yard field goal. Llano lead 15-0 with 6:36 to play in the first half.

Llano continued to dominate. Miguel caught a 9 yard pass, as did Sam for another TD and an 18 yards from Maddox. Continued good line play made the offense click. Sophomore Tanner Howell saw action as did junior Daniel Sandoval and sophomore Dylan Kennedy. Junior Ross Edwards, a starter as a sophomore dominated all night. Junior Hudson Godfrey had a good solid night. Double duty by Zach Watson solidifies a good line….and getting better.

The Jacket offense found its footing. Maddox completed passes to five receivers for 238 yards and 4 Td passes. Junior Ross Prokop had two catches and 23 yards…Sam 2 catches, 74 yards and two TD catches, Carson three catches, a 29 yarder for a TD, Miguel 3 catches and 28 yards, and with his first varsity catch, junior Coy Kelso made a great grab for 33 yards and a TD. Again, solid line play gave Maddox the time he needed.

The run game worked too. Carson lead the Jackets with 94 yards rushing and now has 195 yards receiving in two games. Miguel had over 70 yards rushing. But it was Miguel who brought every fan to their feet when he took the kickoff on the 9 yard line and went 91 yards for the Jackets and a 28-12 third quarter lead. This run goes into the record book.

The Jacket defense took no prisoners. Solid play by so many. junior Isaiah Bush had a solid game. So did Caden Bauman from his safety position. Cole Franklin, another new defensive back had several real good plays. Sophomore Fitz Kennedy had several tackles and was very aggressive. Jordan Coronado is making a real hand at linebacker….I think…he lines up too fast for me to tell where he is!!! Sophomore Briggs Green is one to watch.. A play maker coming on. Junior Ulisses Martinez looked good at cornerback, and sophomore Donavan Simmons made a tackle for a loss. Brock Fly at linebacker was in on several stops. Kaden Raborn got into some plays and as a senior will provide valuable backup help. As will Jenin Bastyens at defensive back and receiver. Junior Remington Hipp and senior Aiden Guido saw action and gaining experience will pay off for both. And expect to see more from junior Ryan Turner and sophomore Charlie White.

Llano is 1-1 going into Homecoming. We have have never played Austin Crockett before The 14-5-A school….I expect Llano to have a good game against a much bigger school, but not one with a lot of success. Crockett will have players that are seasoned and have played much better competition thru the years. They likely see Llano as an opportunity to get a win. The Jackets cannot let their guard down. Getting better every week is so important, and the Jackets again face a district that down the road that will very very tough. The Jackets have so many sophomores and juniors. Stopping to rest will not work on this level. Beating Crockett is a step in getting better.

Posted in Play to Win | 1 Comment

Gatesville Slaps Down Jackets

4-A Gatesville took advantage of the Llano Yellowjackets 4 turnovers and inability to get into the end zone to take the 2021 season opener 27-7 played in Gatesville.

The Jacket defense stopped the Hornets on the first drive of the game when sophomore Jordan Cornando recovered a fumble. Senior quarterback Maddox Green quickly completed a pass for 9 yards and a first down to junior Ross Prokop to the 28 yard line. Another completion by Maddox to junior Sam Sueltenfuss for 6 yards. But Llano ran out of downs.

The defense stepped up again. A sack by junior Jaxon Rhea cost the Hornets 10 yards. Sophomore Fitz Kennedy, junior Hayden Manahan and junior Caden Bauman were all in on tackles. Linebacker and junior Ricky De la torre defended well on a long Hornet pass completion, and the defense forced a punt. Llano was looking good at this point.

The quarter ended with no score. The Jackets recovered a fumble on the first play of the second quarter. A 4 yard run by Carson Kuykendall. And on third down, Carson broke for the longest play of the night with a 40 yard run up the middle, down to the 19 yard line of the Hornets. The next series of plays took the wind out of the Jackets. Two runs for lost yardage, and a 30 yard field goal try by Jackson Dillard was a little wide right.

Gatesville came right back down the field, and with 3:09 left in the half, kicked their own 21 yard field goal good for a 3-0 lead. Gatesville scored again with only :45 seconds left in the half. The 10-0 score at halftime looked do-able.

Llano came out strong in the second half. A pass completion from Maddox to Carson for 7 yards. Carson had runs of 7, 6, 3, 18 and 8 yards to set Llano up on the 5 yard line. Miguel Hernandez ran two times for 4 yards, and Carson ran it it from the one. Score was 10-7.

The teams exchanged interceptions on the next two series. Sophomore Briggs Green with help from a good pass rush from Jaxon, Brock Fly, Zach Watson, Isaiah Bush and Fitz pulled in the pass on the Jacket sidelines. The next set of downs by Llano saw an interception that produced another score for the Hornets, making the score 17-7. The good; 6 receivers: Sam (5), Ross (4), Carson (1), Coy Kelso (2), Jackson (2), and Miguel (2). Good Pass Rush: Llano had four sacks: one each by Jaxon, Fitz, Hayden and Briggs. The offensive line played near good. Jaxon Lange, Matthew Whitley, Daniel Sandoval, Ross Edwards, Dylan Kennedy and Hudson Godfrey. The passing by Maddox being 15 of 28 showed good protection.

The not so good: Four turnovers. 8 penalties. The fourth quarter proved fatal. 3 of 10 passing, and an interception. Only 15 yards rushing. Everyone must improve on these numbers.

Sonora visits Llano this week. The Broncos made the play-offs last season in 3-A, Div.II…and return 8 starters on offense and 8 on defense. Revenge will be on the Bronchos agenda. Llano will be righting the ship. Less penalties, less missed tackles, no drop passes, and blocking must improve. Llano had plays that looked like the “break-thru”….but then fizzled. 25 Freshman, sophomores, and juniors and this team. The Gatesville game was a good tough game by a pretty good football team. Our 7 seniors have been here before. Now their leadership is needed. And lead they will with a home victory over Sonora Friday night.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Gatesville Game Tough One Out the gate

The week is here for the first game of 2021. Could not come at a better time, and thank goodness. I think many of us have talked about and lied to each other about the 2020 team so much that now we need new material. On the field comes the 2021 Jackets.

I thought after the first game last season, that Gatesville was a good and young football team. Llano jumped in early and never let up. Gatesville was playing hard at the end of the 45-16 romp. I expect nothing less from the Hornets and former State Champions ( 2000). Last season Gatesville went 4-6, fighting back from an 0-10 record in 2019. Gatesville made the play-offs last season in a district that had Salado (11-2), and China Springs(10-3) in a tough 4-A District. Their high school enrollment of 851 is nearly 350 greater than LHS.

The Jackets return 6 offensive starters, and 4 return on defense. The nine seniors will be leaned on heavily. All contributed last year. More will be expected in 2021. Senior starters will be lead by quarterback Maddox Green. Maddox was 2nd team All-District at wide receiver last season. Able Prince too was second team All-District at running back. Able ran on the State qualifying 4 X 100 record breaking relay team. The school record had stood for 55 years.

Matthew Whitley anchored a very strong group on the offensive line. Matthew was All-District first team last season. Zach Watson at 255 pounds was great as a junior, and was Honorable Mention All-District. He and Whitley will carry much of the leadership role. Senior Kaden Raborn returns and also may see time on defense.

Bode Gann returns at running back. His quickness and speed will be needed badly. A tough runner. Seniors Jenin Basteyns, Aiden Guido and Gunner Ivy all can make strong contributions.

Seniors like the 9 above all have a roll. Coaches find their rolls. And sometimes the players figure out ways to make themselves valuable. Their senior season is the time to step up.

It looks like Llano will have about 24 freshman, sophomores and juniors on the team. The over-all makeup is the Jackets are a young team. May take more than a few plays for everyone to feel comfortable and then feel confident. Building that team confidence begins this Friday night in Gatesville.

Posted in Play to Win | 2 Comments

Practice, Scrimmages Important for 2021

The scrimmages with Mason and San Angelo Lake View can make all the differences in the world for the 2021 Jackets. Llano has 6 offensive and 4 defensive returning starters from last season. Each returner is a very strong football player in the realm of experience. Some players are ready from Week 0. Sometimes it will take a few weeks. One of the best examples are the two Jacket junior linebackers, Ricky De La Torre and Hayden Manahan. Last season I only knew their numbers on the uniforms. By District play their confidence had swelled. By the time of the first game in the play-offs, these two linebackers were to be feared. Have rarely seen such growth and confidence from two players. That experience must move now into leadership roles for younger players. Ricky and Hayden had that coming from three year starter Mason Baker at middle linebacker last season.

So often practices can seem like time lost to players. But again, practice made Llano grow so much last season. You could see the confidence grow. Being successful in a hard practice moves then over to what and how you respond in games. There are reasons for everything. It helps when you have intelligent football players, that can see the big picture. Football intelligence and IQ intelligence are not always the same.

The scrimmage with Lake View is a good strong test. Our lineman will be against players as big and as strong as them. Our secondary will see real speed Thursday evening.. This is the kind of competition Llano needs. When you think that the Jackets are breaking in 10 to 14 new starters, every down of experience is badly needed. Lake View made the play-offs last season in 4A. The scrimmage will be a good test for all.

If you can believe next Friday night Llano plays the first game of the season. Not to look to far ahead, but the scrimmages are for the purpose getting ready for the first game. This week I have so much to say, but I would be a week early. This week is for the purpose of getting better. Work hard in practice, have a good scrimmage, and then lets talk about Gatesville. See you in San Angelo.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Let’s Kick Off 2021 LHS Football Season

The Llano Yellowjackets will kick off the 2021 football season Friday night with a scrimmage at Jacket Stadium against close neighbor, the Mason Punchers.

Llano is coming off the most successful season in football history. The 13-1 record is unmatched, with only the 1997 11-1 record coming close. Forever, or until Llano matches the 2021 record, or when the Jackets travel deep into the play offs (5 Games deep) will that new high bar not be compared.

It just comes with the territory. Three first team All-State players in Case Kuykendall, Cade Ligon and wide receiver Quincy Prince have graduated. But every one of the the other 17 seniors contributed. Not just some. To a player, the seniors were the best ever. Every single one. 15 seniors received post season recognition on the 13-3A Div. 1 All District team. Most ever in school history. The Bar is high. But what an opportunity for this 2021 team. You have to reach high up in the tree to get the sweetest peaches. Expectations are high. And I expect this 2021 team to add to the Jacket legacy.

Coach Matt Green was named 3AAA Coach of the year in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine. First time ever by a Yellowjacket Coach. Coach Green and his staff return for the 2021 season. The “culture change” that Coach Green spoke about several years ago has begun. The change really began to change in the 2019 season. And it was about expectations. You could see the results on the field. The Jackets expected to win. And the 2020 season every game, Llano expected to win. No longer “hoping to win”…..or wanting to win. The Jackets entered every game expecting to win. The culture on the LHS campus is every single team now expects to win every game. Every contest.

With 20 seniors in the rear view mirror, Llano looks ahead. With what many might think of as a young team with little experience, that is not the case at all. The juniors and sophomores have all won since they were 7th graders. The seniors are veterans. Their leadership will be invaluable. The Jackets return two of the best junior linebackers Llano has ever seen. Hayden Manahan and Ricky De La Torre as sophomores were down right mean. The offensive line returns Zach Watson, Ross Edwards and Matthew Whitley. Tremendous lineman. And no one will be more appreciative than senior Abel Prince at running back, and senior quarterback Maddox Green. Both of these highly skilled players will be stirring the drink this season, but not without the yoemans help of Zach, Matt and Ross. Jaxon Rhea as a sophomore was dominating on the defensive line. The young junior will make very team we face have to address him and find him on every play. Forgetting where Jaxon is will make teams pay.

Very good players returning for 2021. Many others that got playing time on the varsity in 2020 will add to the experience. Expectations are high. Next week we will start filling in blanks on so many other Jackets. We scrimmage in San Angelo on the 19th of August, a Thursday. And then travel to Gatesville for the season opener, August 27th. Gatesville will be a bear. Great first game for Llano.

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

Llano Yellowjackets 2021 Football Schedule

Friday August 13th- Scrimmage with Mason, in Llano @ 7PM

Thursday August 19th- Scrimmage with Lake View in San Angelo @ 6:15PM

1st Regular Season Game: Friday August 27th @ Gatesville @ 7:30 PM

September 3rd- Sonora @ Jacket Stadium @7 PM

September 10- Austin Crockett @ Jacket Stadium @ 7:30 PM (Homecoming)

September 17th- @ San Saba @ 7:30 PM

September 24th- @ Ballinger @ 7:30 PM

October 1- Temple Lake Belton @ Jacket Stadium @ 7:30 PM

District Play Begins

October 8th- @ Comfort @7:30 PM

October 15th- Lago Vista @ Jacket Stadium @ 7:30 PM

October 22nd- @ Blanco @ 7:30 PM

October 29th- Luling @ Jacket Stadium @ 7:30 PM

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

2021 Llano Yellowjackets

Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment

2020 Yellowjackets Honored

All-District 13-3A D 1

District MVP- Case Kuykendall (U)

Defensive MVP- Cade Ligon (U)

                                  Offensive MVP- Austin Hulon

1st Team Offense:    Wide Receiver- Quincy Prince (U)

Wide Receiver- Jared Beasley

Tight End- Trevor Cowan

Center- Dalton Enberg

Offensive Lineman- Matthew Whitley (U)

Offensive Lineman- Luke Hicks

1st Team Defense:  Defensive Lineman-Guillermo Davila (U)

Defensive Lineman- Jaxon Rhea (U)

Inside Linebacker- Mason Baker

Outside Linebacker- Lance Pierce (U)

Defensive Back- Aiden Cuthbertson

Defensive Back- Luke Keller

2nd Team Offense   Running Back- Abel Prince

Wide Receiver- Maddox Green

Offensive Lineman- Ross Edwards

2nd Team Defense  Inside Linebacker- Michael Silva

Outside Linebacker- Ricky De La Torre

Kicker- Diego Perez

Honorable Mention     Inside Linebacker- Hayden Manahan

Offensive Lineman- Zach Watson


1st Team Quarterback- Senior Case Kuykendall

1st Team Wide Receiver- Senior Quincy Prince

1st Team Safety- Senior Aiden Cuthbertson

2nd Team Defensive Lineman- Senior Cade Ligon

2nd Team Linebacker- Senior Lance Pierce


1st Team Defense- Cade Ligon

3rd Team Wide Receiver- Quincy Prince

Honorable Mention- Quarterback Case Kuykendall

Kicker Diego Perez

Linebacker Mason Baker

Linebacker Lance Pierce

** (U) Designates Unanimous Choice




Posted in Play to Win | Leave a comment