The 49-10 romp by the Brownwood Lions was not as bad as the score indicated, but it was worse than the Jackets needed. Two of the best Yellow Jacket lineman went out with injuries, and the depth problems loom ahead. Remembering the article that I wrote just four weeks ago in regard to school enrollments, now looks rather optimistic. The Jackets face a very tough second half of the season, and still must play Friday night the largest enrollment school in 3 AAA, Fredericksburg.
The Jackets played good football for 24 minutes last Friday night. Yes, Brownwood took the short Jacket kick-off on the 34 yardline and from the first play the Lions had control of the Jacket defense. Passing plays of 31 and 25 yards turned into 7 points after 7 plays. It could have gone bad from here, but it did not. Llano took the kick-off and began play on their 20 yardline. Twenty yard pass completion to senior Vance Bauer, another pass for 6 to junior Storey Tatsch, a seven yard run by junior quarterback Rhett Brooks, another 9 by Rhett, a Matt Center catch for 11 yards and another first down. A 10 yard completion to sophomore Caleb Penny, and finalized by Brooks with an 8 yard TD run. Fourteen plays and the Jackets best drive this season. Excellent blocking up front by senior Wes Haverlah, junior Taylor Stewart, senior Jordan Johnson, and junior Allan Lucas. Four of four passing by Brooks, 4 different receivers, 10 running plays with Tatsch blocking, senior Clay Tarter, Bauer, Penny and Brooks carrying the football. Llano had tied the score with 3:20 left in the first quarter in Gordon Wood Stadium.
If we could have said, “we enjoyed the trip” and see you next year, it would have been a great night. But, not the case. Again, Llano kicks short and the Lions start play on their 49 yardline. Five plays later, and the score is 14-7. The Jackets line up, and an interceptions deep in Jacket territory, and 2 plays later, the score is 21-7. But don’t give up now. The Jackets still have some fire in the belly.
Llano takes the kickoff this time from the 20, and Brooks breaks off a 21 yard run. Then four straight completions, to Bauer, Storey, sophomore Isaac Hutto, and Taylor Sorenson, now down to the 27 yardline. Four running plays gets the Jackets a little closer, and Sorenson kicks a 32 yard field goal to put Llano closer at 21-10 mid way thru the second quarter. If Llano could just play offense…..
And, here we go again, a short kickoff, Lions on their 41 yardline, four plays and another Lions score. Llano finished the quarter by driving 8 plays down to the Lions 17 yardline, before an interception stopped a promising drive. Good running by Storey and Clay, and catches by Caleb, Matt and Isaac had Llano showing firepower and ability. The best plays in the first half by Llano on defense was senior Cole Barrett’s sack for a 13 yard loss helped end the half. Sophomore Penny was playing good at linebacker, but went down with an ankle injury and his status is unknown. Also, junior linebacker Ryan Williams had a busy night and played well. Score 28-10.
From there, it gets bad. Not so much playing wise, but early in the 3rd quarter, senior Jordan Johnson goes down a concussion. Johnson was taken to the Hospital, and may not be as bad as it could be. Still, he will be doubtful for the Fredericksburg game. Jordan’s play on offense and defense is unmatched among Jacket lineman. He plays every play at 100%.
Three plays later junior center Taylor Stewart goes down with what looks like a very serious knee injury. We usually have little idea what centers do, other than somehow they get the football to the quarterback. After that, only coaches and dads know what they do. A slight game changer for the Jackets. Second team center is junior Cooper Hill, who is standing on the sidelines with a cast on his ankle. In comes senior Justin Oestreich, who also has a motor that does not shut off. Justin is one of the Jackets best lineman, but during the week, he has to learn other duties. Llano’s depth, or lack of it showed up early in the game, and even Wes Haverlah tried to center. A few practice snaps during the week would have helped. Any how, the Jackets had a hard time. Justin, Wes, and maybe even Brooks may get a try at center this week. But Llano’s unlikely to get any of the 6 players back on the field this week against the Billies., that are presently hurt.
Llano needs a week off. But not before they get their second win of the season. Fredericksburg is 0-4 for the season, but have scored alot of points. Llano is now 1-3, and have given up a lot of points. Still, Llano’s offense can score. I see Llano entering this week in a very serious mood. Everyone on the team will have to step up. Lineman Nick Bornholdt needs to have his best game. He played well against the Lions. Gilbert Arrendondo also played well when Stewart and Johnson went down. He will get plenty of snaps this week to improve. And junior Jacob Beasley will need every pound of his 220 pounds to protect Brooks and open holes for Clay and Storey.
Llano has beaten Fredericksburg three years in a row. I’m pretty sure, four has never happened. Llano, if they keep the turnovers to a minimum, can beat the Billies. And the reward will come in the form of getting healthy and preparing for District play, as the Open week is next week. Llano 35 Frederickburg 26