The 2011 Football season is upon us. The Yellowjackets of 2011 have little expectations. The 6-5 season on 2010 was better than many expected. The continued changes that take place with a team still in transition, one ask, “how can a high school team still be in a state of change?” Only because the basic ingredients are still changing. We speak of both the offense and the defense.
Lets’ dig deeper. In 2009, the Yellowjackets were a 4-5 team, and no playoffs. The defense allowed 21.7 points. Actually in the new age of defense, not bad. The 2011 6-5 Jackets allowed 31.9 points a game, not good. And all this time the Jackets under Head Coach David Yeager are changing an offense that from 2005 to 2008 was averaging over 33 points per game. In 2009, the offense averaged 25.7 points, and then the offense of 2010 was at 26.7 points. The Jackets were 10-10 over the past two seasons. Left behind was the slot-T offense that broke every school record on offense for points, yardage, and most important, wins. Yeager’s offenses for 4 years were nothing short of great. Maybe not Liberty Hill great, but pretty darn close. Llano’s slot-t was fun.
Beginning in 2005, Shane Pope ( 1,672 yards), 2006 Lance Dickey (1,270 yards) & Ty Thurman (1,101 Yards), 2007, Lance Dickey ( 1,334 yards), and Ty Thurman (1,222 yards), & then the 8-4 team of 2008 had Clayton Maples and his 1,322 yards along with Estevan Aviles and 1,194 yards rushing. Estevan also holds the school record for averaging 9.63 yards per carry his junior year. The slot-t offense was the key to Llano’s averaging nearly 9 wins per season, and making the play-offs all four seasons, as well as winning 5 play-off games.
The offense was changed in 2009 to fit a more passing quarterback, and maybe to take advantage of the most exciting football player to don a Yellow Jacket uniform in decades, 2010 Offensive MVP, Justin Severance. The changes seemed logical. Severance was the fastest Jacket in a football uniform that I have ever seen. His highlight film sends chills down ones back. He turned on a dime, and was at full speed in two steps. The Jackets had to get the football to this young man often, and not just by handing him the football. In the Salado game, maybe one of the greatest games of all time, the Jackets won 51-49. Severance had 136 yards rushing in 14 carries, and 113 yards receiving, on 4 catches. His breath- taking performance could not have been accomplished in the slot-t….I think?
Yet, the team success was not there. Llano’s offense in the slot-t was predicated on holding on to the football -running long time periods off the clock. Not allowing the offense of the foe onto the field. This did not happen in 2009, nor in 2010. There were too many 3 downs and out – too many punts – too many returns. And worse, too many missed tackles. The defense either became tired or stale. The urgency to get the ball back was not up to 2007 standards. And while making the play-offs in 2010, the Yellow Jackets were outscored 56 points for the season.
Thus, bringing us to 2011 – what will the offense be about? Will Llano learn to play defense again? And, for the first time in 7 seasons, an unknown quality will be at running back.