Semi-Finals Welcome 13-0 Jackets

The 2020 Yellowjackets are tilling new turf, as they beat District Rival Lago Vista for the second time this season in the State Quarterfinals game in Leander’s Bible Stadium Friday night 31-25.

The Jackets along with Blanco and Comfort form one of the toughest 3-AAA Districts in the State.  Lago Vista was picked to win District 13, 3-AAA, Division 1.  The Jackets prevailed back in October by the score of 44-27.  But the whole world knew the Vikings would be one tough game in the Quarterfinals game.

The Vikings scored on their first possession, going 67 yards in 8 plays and lead 7-0.  Llano’s senior Austin Hulon took the kick-off and got the ball out to the 35 yard line, but a holding penalty set the Jackets back to the 20.  One play, and senior quarterback Case Kuykendall took it to the house!  80 yards around the left side and with Diego Perez kick, the score was tied.

The Jacket defense had their work cut out for them.  Vikings senior quarterback Adrian Hernandez was as good Friday night as he was back in October.  But over the course of the game, Jackets caused 6 turnovers with fumble recoveries by seniors Luke Keller, Mason Baker, Guillermo Davila, and sophomore linebacker Ricky de la Torre.  Luke also had an interception in the second quarter to stop a Vikings drive.  And the last play of the game, with the Vikings trying a long pass to win, was prevented when deep safety Quincy Prince intercepted to preserve the first ever Quarterfinal victory for the Jackets.

This game was nearly as hard on Jacket fans.  One estimate was at 1,300 Llano people sitting on the visitors side as Lago Vista was the home team.  I think maybe Friday night Llano had that 12th man, as enthusiasm was at a peak, with gasping breathes on and off.

Junior Abel Prince scored from 2 yards out for the Jackets second TD, and Llano was ahead at halftime 14-13.  The second half was heart stopping.  Lago Vista took the second half kick0ff, and in 8 short plays, scored and was ahead 19-14.

Llano responded.  Taking the kick-off and on the 33 yard line Austin and Case carried the ball.  Then Case hit Mr. Reliable senior Jared Beasley on a third and 7 for 12 yards and a first down.  Case went back to Quincy Prince on an out pattern and 13 yards and a first down.  Abel was next with an 11 yard reception down to the 14 yard line.  And into the end zone went Case for the 14 yard TD. The extra point was blocked, and Llano was back ahead 20-19.

Luke recovered a fumble at the end of the third quarter. But not before the Vikings had driven down to the Jackets’ 35 yard line. Key saving stops by senior Aiden Cuthbertson and a loss on the quarterback by senior Cade Ligon slowed the drive.  Llano’s ball on the 22.  78 yards looked a long distance away.  Llano needed to burn some time off the clock.

A 17 play drive might be good!!!  Another completion to Quincy for 8.  Austin carried the ball 5 times and three first downs.  Case carried 4 times and a first down.  Back to Quincy and 14 yards and a first down.  Back to Jared and 9 more yards and another first down. The Jackets were sitting on the 6 yard line on fourth down.  Take the points!!!  Diego comes in and kicks the field goal good, and Llano lead 23-19.

Chasing Hernandez and the Vikings was not over.  Lance Pierce and Jaxon Rhea, Michael Silva and Abel knew this show was not over.  After the kick off, the Vikings covered 74 yards in only 6 plays…and the score was now 25-23 Vikings.  Super effort by Abel blocked the extra point.  4:47 left in the game.

Abel brought the kick off out to the 25 yard line.  75 yards away.  Case hits Quincy for 17 on the first play….the seats were getting cold.  Everyone on Llano’s side were standing. I think I saw a lot of praying.  But the Jackets were playing football at its best. Case losses 2 yards…Yeks…but another completion to Quincy for 9 yards.  Third down….Case to Beasley for 7 and the first down.  Austin gains 6.  Next Abel carries for 4 more and the first down.  Ball on the 38 yard line.

Earlier in the game Case had hit junior Maddox Green streaking across the middle for a 21 yard gain.  Same play, same outcome, Green down to the 13 yard line and a first down…oh my.

Case for 7 yards on first down.  Same play…4 more.  Ball on 3 yard line.  3rd Down…Abel takes the ball up the middle.  Down he goes…and the Vikings go bananas, saying Abel had fumbled….but Abel was so quick to his feet pointing that he was down, and all  the referees agreed…Heart attack give me one more play…And with a first down by Abel, Case scored standing up and the Jackets were ahead 29-25.  Not enough…Llano went for 2, and Case found Quincy on the side of the end zone…good!!!…31-25.

:33 seconds left…a short kick gave the Vikings the ball on about the 48 yard line…I do not know…My hands were shanking so bad I could not write, so I laid pen and paper aside…Three straight incomplete passes, and the last one ended in Quincy’s hands in the end zone.

Have to give so much credit to the Jacket defense…Defensive coordinator Coach Anastasio had a game plan to limit the damage the very good offense of the Vikings would do.  Held  the Vikings to about 300 total yards.  This defense…Cade, Guillermo, Jaxon, and Lance up front.  Mason and his linebackers…Silva, Sandaval, Anthony Ysais…and the two sophomore, Ricky and Hayden Manahan…so fast and aggressive….Hayden had about as good a game as you can have…14 tackles…and love this secondary…Aiden and Austin at safety…Luke, Abel at the corners…strong help from Dillon Milum and sometimes Trevor Cowan.

Love seeing sophomore Jackson Dillard helping in the kicking game..still thinking maybe Diego will be able to kick off at full strength soon….his three extra points and his field goal was the point difference in this game.

Offensive coordinator Coach Priem had the offense going just in time…over 430 yards by the Jackets…and we had 33 seconds left over!!  One paper said that Case was a one man show.  What I love is how Case is the first to congratulate every time someone helps make a play…goodness…think how much Case loves knowing he has Quincy, Jared, Maddox and Trevor to throw to…no drops in the Vikings game, and 15 of 24 passing.   Those outside outs have become deadly for Llano.  Great route running by all.  And he gets to hand off to Austin, Abel, Jake Self, and Miguel Hernandez…bruising bunch…man..what a supporting cast.

Oh yes…the offensive lineman…lead by senior center Dalton Enberg and senior Luke Hicks…juniors Zach Watson, Sandaval, Matthew Whitley and Jesus Chacon.  And Sophomore Ross Edwards have carried this show…. this is a great offensive line.

Next on the menue.  Hallettsville…ranked #3 most of the season. Likely they have the best running back in the State.  Jonathon Brooks.  Nearly 800 yards rushing the last two games.  The Brahmas came from behind Friday night to beat Columbus 23-21 Friday night.

This will the Jackets greatest test. Coach Matt Green came to Llano, and needed to change the culture here.  That really does not refer to physical conditioning, although that is part of it. Every Coach believes he works hard. This change is about….above the shoulder pads.  It was shown by Jacket fans Friday night.  We expected to win.  And the players…was never any doubt in their minds they were going to win.  Llano expects to win Thursday night in Georgetown, against a very good team.  Everyone that is part of Jacket Nation expects to come home with win # 14.