The Yellow Jackets play Burnet Friday night in Llano, game #2 in District play. The 13-10 Jackets are much improved, but taking the next step…that step of beating a good district foe, must come next.
The Yellow Jackets play Burnet Friday night in Llano, game #2 in District play. The 13-10 Jackets are much improved, but taking the next step…that step of beating a good district foe, must come next.
This is a first for me. Writing about LHS basketball…boys basketball. Few can argue that the boys varsity high school basketball team, over the past 20 years has been one of the worst in the State of Texas. Very rarely competitive. That said…please, pay attention.
Bring in a new athletic director, he brings in a “basketball coach”, and presto….a new beginning. The Llano “BOYS” basketball team is 6-2 after last nights defeat of private school Dominic Savio, by a score of 39-34. I know for certain, it has been 20 years since Llano began a season this strong…maybe 25 years. Strength of schedule, not so strong, but you start somewhere. 2012 is where Llano begins.
After winning the San Saba Tournament this past weekend, and now on a five game winning streak, Llano is relavant. That is so important, and for the Jackets to go forward, it is also time for Jacket fans to show up. Llano faces again, one of the strongest districts in the state. But playing hard, and knowing you have a chance to win, is what turning a program around is all about.
The Jackets play in the Sonora Varsity Tournament this coming weekend, may be hard for some of you to attend, but Sonora returns to Llano December 11th with the varsity game at 6:30 PM. That is followed with another home game with a strong St. Michaels’ team on Friday, Dec.14th, at 7:45 PM.
The disappointing night in Brownwood last week sends a fine group of seniors on their way to another world, one they will not equate with Yellow Jacket football again, until life lessons start being remembered. Only a large miracle could have saved Llano from being beaten 41-13 last Friday night, but that still did not prevent the Jacket seniors from playing hard every play, and the game was still up in the air moments before the half ended.
That one aspect of 2012 Jacket football is what this senior class and take from this season…LLano Yellowjacket football became competitive again. Most of the seven losses came after the half, and when depth of the roster and injuries caught up with Llano. Being caught in the tough district of Brownwood, Liberty Hill and Gatesville, all previous State Champions, and you add Lampasas and Burnet, you have four teams that all were in class 4-AAAA. Llano’s 505 high school enrollment was just too small to win every game, something many old timers as myself fully expect, and still do not understand how the UIL can repeatedly make districts so lopsided.
Districts Play-off teams: Champion: Gatesville (10-0), Brownwood, Burnet.
2012 Yellowjacket Seniors:
Jake Rodriguez Devin Mayne Allen Lucas
Matt Center Rhett Brooks
Ryan West Jacob Beasley
Alec Hasty Pedro Perez
Cooper Hill Taylor Stewart
Kassity Pitcox Storey Tatsch
Zach Morgan Wil Siegenthaler
Edward Gallo Nick Bornholt
While the record cannot ever tell the whole story, never did I see Llano ever quit. The attitude of these seniors will live on with the underclassmen as they leave to finish the job. Llano will be back as a district contender. But it will take more than a few months of tough coaching to break off bad habits. Those habits already are changing. It is my understanding that the 7th grade tied for the district crown, and most of you need to know. Varsity coaches went to junior high daily and helped with the 7th and 8th grade players. It will take this extra hard work by all to get Llano back in the championship talks.
I’m already excited about 2013. Llano has many very good players returning. There is good speed returning at the skill positions. Layton Rabb at quarterback, Carter Tatsch at running back, and Issac Hutto at wide reciever can all be quailty players. I’m most proud of the returning limeman in Tristan Sabrsula, Russell Webb, Gilberto Arredondo, Ryan Mansell, Colin Mayne, and Eli Tiffin. These lineman can all be very good. Also, where much is given, much is expected, and sometimes freshman starter Colton Center will be expected to make gigantic strides. Llano could have two monsters on defense in linebackers Caleb Penny and Lance Reven. Starters Sawyer Stiles, and Mason Ladd must grow, get better, and be tough leaders. This begins now, not next August. Daniel Durham, Eric Burch, Kralen Dickerson and David Durham all have strong points that can make them very good senior players. Junior to be Jalen Bauman could be special. He must mature and step forward as a leader, and set the bar higher for all.
The Yellowjackets improved from last season by a margin of loss from 25 average loss to 9 points average loss. This is alot. Now we cut that to positive points. It will begin on defense.
Begin this week trying to enter players names that will be new to the record book. Let me know if you know of something I may miss. Records are fun…after the season is over.
The 2012 Llano Yellowjackets travel to Brownwood this week to try and make some sense of this season. Brownwood will be getting ready for their usual state run into the play-offs. But a two loss Brownwood team could be the odd guy out, when you consider Gatesville has locked up the Championship, with Liberty Hill and Burnet both vying for a spot. Llano’s game seems unimportant to outsiders, but it could be a difference maker.
The Jackets are a different team from the one that Brownwood saw last season. The last game of 2011 was one that every player and certainly every coach looked forward to. The 2012 team looks at the season, many places where a different bounced ball, and a pass there, and Llano would be the team to beat. Had Llano scored 21 more points this year, the Jackets would be a 6-3 team with a whole lot more to look forward to here in week 12.
The Jackets are scoring an average of 9 points more per game this season, and the defense is giving up 9 points less per game than 2011. The three road wins are three more than many thought possible. The improvement is noticed more in the energy of play than even on the scoreboard. The new Llano coaching staff has been so enjoyable to watch. This season, no coach has time to sleep walk thru a game. If a player can’t get fired up with the energy from this coaching staff, maybe chess would be a better alternative. The play and energy has not always ended with more victories, but give this new coaching staff time, victories will come.
The loss to Burnet was a big disappointment. The Jackets just never got into a real smooth gate. The final 62-34 was not a real picture of the game. The Jackets still show areas of being real good. No doubt, the running game is much better. The combination of senior Rhett Brooks and junior Carter Tatsch is a winner. No one runs tougher then Rhett, and few faster than Carter. Carter had runs of 26 yards, 19 yards, 30 yards, and 15 yards, ( From the first play from scrimmage in the 3rd quarter, Carter caught a Layton Rabb pass and went 62 yards for the tying score of 21-21) while Rhett had the 57 yard TD run as well as a 21 and 31 yard burst. The developing run game makes the Jackets tough to handle. When all the stars align, maybe in Brownwood. You have to give credit to the blocking improvement. Seniors Jacob Beasley, Ryan West, Taylor Stewart, Cooper Hill, Nick Bornholt, Edward Gallo, along with better downfield blocks from Kassity Pitcox, Devin Mayne and Allen Lucas has made a big difference. But most improving are juniors Eli Tiffin, Ryan Mansell, Gilberto Arredondo, Russell Webb, and big Tristan Sabrsula, along with starting freshman Colton Center. Llano’s line plays great against Brownwood, the Jackets have a chance.
Injuries takes their toles. Along with senior Jake Rodriguez (broke leg), a still limping Issac Hutto ( 3 catches, 38 yards and a TD catch), and possible injury to Gilberto has not helped, but all teams see this. Jacket injuries have become part of the game.
While the defense struggles with allowing big plays (17 plays over 10 yards), the Jackets allowed only 59 yards on the other 24 plays! Great defense at times, just not all the time. Still love the play of senior Wil Siegenthaler and junior Mason Ladd. Alec Hasty gets better every game. And junior Linebacker Caleb Penny is one tough player. Matt Center ( TD Catch in the back of the end zone in the third quarter from Rabb) and Rhett, along with Zach Morgan have played well all season. These seniors must have their best games in Brownwood. Senior Storey Tatsch always plays hard. And both Durhams (David And Daniel) will be valuable seniors, next year. And I’m wishing that senior Pedro Perez hits about 6 extra points come Friday night.
Junior Sawyer Stiles, sophomore Jalen Bauman and Lance Reven are playing more every game. These guys can be very good next season. Their effort is not lacking this season.
The game with Brownwood is important. The seniors play their hearts out. The underclassman play for respect, for next season. Nothing would be better for the the Jackets than the momory of beating Brownwood…in Brownwood. Llano by 7.
The 41-7 pounding by the # 8 ranked Gatesville Hornets is one game LLano needs to put behind them. Few things looked right, and certainly few things turned out right. The ranking of the Hornets seemed well deserved, but when one wheel comes off the wagon, it becomes very hard to upright the cart. Now, lets’ play someone we know a whole bunch about, the Burnet Bulldogs.
Burnet has taken control in recent years of this old, old rivalry. But not in 14 years have the Jackets been able to beat the green and white. And while the first part of this 2012 season appeared like this was a down season for Burnet, the last two games have put the Bulldogs back into a position that our neighbors to the East are thinking play-offs.
Several things can happen, but should Llano win its next two games, the Jackets have a clear shot to the third play-off spot in Class 3-A. And the same thing for Burnet. Likely, a 3-2 district record would place one of these two teams in the play-offs. Liberty Hill has lost two games, and still must play Burnet. Llano has lost two games, but a win against Burnet gives the Bulldogs two losses, and the important one to Llano. The Jackets would then travel to Brownwood in the last week of the regular season to claim that third district win and the play-off spot.
The injuries just mounted last week. Seniors Rhett Brooks, Wil Siegenthaler, Storey Tatsch, and Matt Center all played at much less than full speed. Junior Isaac Hutto is just now getting stronger to be able to contribute again. National Judging team member Elli Tiffin was missed last week on his trip to Indiana, and senior Jake Rodriquez is out for the year.
But, this week, most should be stronger, and healthier. Junior quarterback Layton Rabb needs all of his receivers back this week, and everyone needs to be on top of his game. This year Llano can beat Burnet. Rabb’s passing will be the key to beating the Bulldogs.
Burnet beat Liberty Hill last week 44-36. The Bulldogs had 611 yards of offense, but allowed 463 yards. Burnet can play pretty good run defense, but the secondary tries to hid. The play of Caleb Penny and Alec Hasty continues to get better. Gilberto Arredondo and Tristan Sabrsula along with senior Cooper Hill had good games. Zach Morgan and Taylor Stewart had good plays. Both must have great games this week.
Burnet will come out throwing the football, and Llano’s pass rush is a must. Llano has had problems this season defending the pass, but a pass rush is imperative to help out Mason Ladd, Rhett, Devin Mayne, Storey and Carter Tatsch in the secondary.
The Jackets have a passing attack that has proven can play with anyone. It starts with good offensive lineman, lead by Jacob Beasley and Ryan West, Russell Webb, freshman Colton Center and the return of Tiffin. If Hutto can return strong, Kralen Dickerson and Carter Tatsch can contirbute, Llano will beat Burnet. But it will take all hands in a team effort.
The seniors have had a tough time over the past 17 games. Winning three road games tells that Llano can dig deeper and win. But few things will ever stand out any stronger for these seniors than to be able to beat Burnet here at the end of their careers. Llano has had a great turnaround this season over last year. Evening up their district record at 2-2 would be tremendous, and put Llano back into the mix of being not only competitive again, but important in the minds of all, in years to come, that Llano is back. The 2012 senior can make that happen Friday Night. Llano by 4.
The come from behind victory Friday night against long time rival Lampasas was a season changer. The Jackets winning their third road game this season, as well as winning for the third time at someone elses Homecoming is even sweeter. The Jackets have faced many challenges this season, but nothing more bleaker as half-time rolled around Friday night in Lampasas. But, that is why they play two halves.
Llano made one major change this week against the Badgers. Llano played the first part of the football game. Taking the opening kick-off was junior Mason Ladd who returned the football 20 yards to the 32 yard line. From there senior Rhett Brooks gained 10 yards on two carries over blocks by junior Eli Tiffin and senior center, Taylor Stewart. Junior quarterback Layton Rabb hit senior Matt Center for a 27 yard gain down to the Badgers 36 yard line. 10 more yards by Layton, with blocking from junior receiver Kralen Dickerson, and senior Kassity Pitcox. 12 more yards from senior running back Allen Lucas. Five more yards from Rhett, with help from junior Gilberto Arredondo and senior Jacob Beasley, and on fourth down Llano went for the TD with Rabb sneaking in for a 6-0 Llano lead. Just like you draw it up on the blackboard.
But now, Llano’s defense had to show up. Lampasas began on their 22 yard line, and ran every play. 12 running plays, two Llano 15 yard penalties, and the Badgers matched the score at 6-6. But the Jackets were stepping up, and not making it easy for Lampasas. Mason Ladd from the secondary was there. Carter Tatsch also. Junior linebacker Caleb Penny had a big night, as did Rhett, Matt, and Zach Morgan at defensive end. The defense slowed down the attack.
There was an exchange of punts, and things changed little, until Morgan punted and the ball was killed on the 3 yardline. This looked good for the Jackets. But it backfired, as the Badgers ran off 5 running plays before the Badgers Cody Jandreau galloped 66 yards for the TD and a 13-6 lead that stood until halftime. Disheartening was Llano’s last effort before the half ended with the Jackets only completing 3 passes out of 10 and ending with an interception before half. Rabb was off, receivers dropped passes, and another penalty. This looked again like another long halftime conversation may be needed.
Llano defense started the tone of the second half. Two holds, one on fourth down ended with Llano partially blocking the punt, and again the Badgers punted putting Llano in a good field spot at the 40 yard line.
Carter carried twice for 20 yards. Rabb hit senior Devin Mayne for a big 22 yard gain, down to the 18 yard line.. Then Rabb hit Matt on a post patern for the final 16 yards and the TD. Score 13-13. The line was blocking, lead by Beasley, Russell Webb, Gilberto, Tiffin and senior Cooper Hill. The third quarter ended and the defense had given up 53 yards on 16 plays. The worm turned!
Lovers of Jacket football remember these kind of days. Long, long ago. Mason Ladd helped kick-off the fourth quarter with an interception. Llano cashed in. Lucas for 2 yards. Rhett for 15. Then Rabb hit Rhett for a 29 yard pass reception down to the one. Brooks carried it in on the next play, and senior Pedro Perez kicked true for a 20-13 Jacket lead. Freshman lineman Colton Center, Tiiffin, Stewart, Hill, Gilberto, Webb, Mayne, Pitcox, and Sawyer Stiles had made this a perfect drive with no mistakes.
Now the hard part. Could Llano hold on with over 8 minutes to play? The Jacket’s defense faced the Badgers on the 32 yardline. 7 yards, 5 yards and a first down. Penny, Wil Siegenthaler, sophomores Jalen Bauman, Lance Reven and Hill were in on stops. But four downs later, Llano held on fourth down. Back to Llano, but the offense had to punt, and Morgan got off a 40 yarder, with good coverage from Dickerson and Center.
On the 34 headline, here came the Badgers. 9 yards, two yards, and then an 18 pass completion…only the second one of the night. 9 more, 4 more, all while Brooks, Stewart, Tristan Sabrsula, and Ryan West were playing their hearts out. 7 more and the Badgers were on the 8 yard line. Then 6 more down to the two. Second down and Matt Center gets a tackle in the backfield. Third down on the three. A mix up and the Badgers make it back to the line. Fourth down on the three. Quarterback rolls out, looks like he will walk in, but from his defensive end position, Morgan pulls the quarterback down from behind. “Llano wins, Llano wins” according to Art and Lance in the booth!
A great victory by all. The 3-4 Jackets now play a tough Gatesville team, at home. The short rivalry with Gatesville stands at 2-4. Gatesville will be undefeated entering Jacket Stadium. Llano is in great shape to pull off this win. The low flying Jackets will not be a serious worry for the visitors. It will now be, the most important game for the Jackets. Llano by 4.
The 55-28 lost to Liberty Hill had so many different signals, that a four way stop sign intersection would be more managable. Had you told me that Llano would out gain Liberty Hill by 119 yards, then I would take that as a win. Tell me that Layton and Rhett would have record book entries in one game, I’d take that as a win. Tell me that Caleb Penny would have a great game at linebacker…I’m good….tell me that Carter Tatsch would come in for injured Storey Tatsch, and rush for 98 yards, and Allen Lucas would carry 8 times for a 5.4 yard average…I’m very good…all of this telling me that Taylor Stewart, Eli Tiffin, Giberto Arredondo, Russell Webb, Jacob Beasley, Ryan West, and freshman Colton Center were controlling the line of scrimmage. 558 yards against the #8 team in the State in 3-A! And don’t let me forget the play of Jake Rodriguez and Cooper Hill on special teams. Hill, with Tristan Sabrsula and Nick Bornholt were stopping the Liberty Hills super slot-t attack. Matt Center had 5 catches from Rabb, and Devin Mayne makes plays that count. Junior Sawyer Stiles had three catches from Rabb, and Mason Ladd had a very good game. Kralen Dickerson is playing more every game, and getting better. David Durham has stepped up his play and with Storey Tatach out, in comes senior Pedro Perez who kicks three extra points like he has been at this his whole life. Sophomore Jalen Bauman had an 11 yard catch and will be more involved as the district rolls on. And senior Zach Morgan keeps pace with his punting average of over 35 yards, and playing very well at defensive end.
But, the Jackets lost to a good team. Liberty Hill is still very good. They had a run back of 85 yards on the opening kick-off, and a punt return for a TD, and a 60 yard TD run, all by super star Jadon Boatright. Llano was right there. The Jackets allowed too many big plays, and still need work on tackling 5 feet 3 inch running backs. Liberty Hill had two!
Lampasas is another slot-t running football team. They have no running backs that are 5 foot 3 inches, so this may get easier. Llano has played the Badgers 40 times over the past 60 years, and have only won 8, with two ties. I really think Llano will travel to Lampasas with a little skip in their walk. Llano played Liberty Hill pretty darn good. The passing game was really on. Devin, Matt, Rhett, Mason, Sawyer, and Wil Siegenthaler all can catch, and Layton distributes the ball very well. Give the ball to Carter, let the big guys block, and everyone bear down harder on defense, and the Lampasas game is very winnable. Play defense against the slot-t like the Liberty Hill game, and the Jackets come out on top with another road victory this season. Llano can win their remaining games. Getting to the play-offs is what the big picture is all about. It starts Friday night in Lampasas.
One last thought. Several weeks ago, Coach Slaughter, at his Friday weekly Booster club meeting, mentioned that there were 178 plays, I think in the Bandera Game! Llano had 34 running plays and 39 passes in the Liberty Hill game. I had Liberty Hill with 56 plays. So many teams have gone to the no huddle offense in order to run more plays. It is more easy to do the no huddle when you run a formation like the slot-t….you really only have about 6 plays…call them at the line of scrimmage….but a passing attack has more to think about….The Jackets averaged about 7 yards per snap against Liberty Hill. If Llano could run about 90 plays a game…well…you do the Math!!! Llano 35, Lampasas 24.