I suppose the outcome of the Lampasas game Friday night brought few surprises. The District 25-3 AAA favorite ran the football, and then ran it more. The Badgers all run , no pass, slot-t offense waited until mid way thru the 3rd quarter before they attempted a pass. In the first half, the Badgers were running the football on 30 plays and gaining 276 yards, for a 9 yards per carry average.
On the other hand, Llano played very hard. On the first drive, the Badgers took the football and drove right at the Jackets. Run left, run right, go wide,it was very intense. Yet Jackets Jordan Johnson, Clay Tarter and Cole Barrett made play after play, never giving in to the machine that was relentless. But after 11 plays, the Badgers blinked, dropped the football, and senior Johnson pounced and it was Jacket football. Repeated tackles by Allan Lucas, Wil Siegenthaler, and Rhett Brooks had somewhat, early in the contest, worn down Lampasas.
An exchange of punts, and the quarter ended. Llano was still whole, the score 0-0. The Jackets under the sophomore quarterback Layton Rabb had looked pretty good. Rabb completed his first four passes. Four yards to Brooks, now playing running back, 9 yards to junior Justin Wyatt, four more to Brooks coming out of the backfield, and 11 more to Justin. The offensive line of senior Wes Haverlah, junior Taylor Stewart, senior Cole Barrett, and sophomore Tristan Sabrsula, and junior Jacob Beasley held up very well against a big and strong Badger rush.
But, as well as the first quarter went, the second quarter got rough. The Badgers scored on the 7th play of the second quarter, despite tackles from sophomore Mason Ladd, Tristan, Allan, junior Zach Morgan and junior Matt Center. Before Llano’s dependable punter Zach Morgan could get off a good punt, back came Lampasas, this time needing only three plays to go 82 yards and a 14-0 lead.
Llano went to the air with Rabb completing passes to Wyatt, sophomore Taylor Sorensen for 12 yards, 12 more to Center, and later in the quarter, 12 more to Rhett, six to senior Vance Bauer. And on the last play of the quarter, Rabb hit Brooks for 38 yards down to the one yardline with no time showing.
Llano took the second half kick-off, with Tarter returning 30 yards to the 49 yardline, a great return. An 8 yard completion to Vance, and a rushing first down by Rhett had the Jackets in their best field position of the night. Completions to senior Conner Barrett, and to Brooks put Llano on the 26 yardline. And then, four plays later, and the Badgers held. Back to defense for Llano, with junior Morgan, Wil, Vance, Jordan, Matt all making tackles. But, unfortunately, defensive back Conner Barrett, made the most stops. Lampasas was flying thru the Jackets now. It was 27-0 before the fourth quarter began. The Jackets went back to the running game. Good hard runs by sophomore Caleb Penny who carried 3 times for 30 yards. Two more carries by senior Zach Baker. Brooks picked up 12 more, and junior Storey Tatsch carried twice for 4, while Taylor picked up 22 on two tries. Good line blocking from Jordan, Stewart, Arrendondo, wide receiver Iassc Hutto, senior Justin Oestreich, and Wes, along with Jacob as Llano scored twice in the final period. TD catches by Matt and Storey and kicks by Sorenson got the Jackets to 14 points. The final score was Lampasas 41, Llano 14.
These kind of stories just do not end well. Llano players play hard. There is no let up in their effort. Yet the fall off is in the defense that has allowed nearly 40 points per game. Stopping a great Liberty Hill team this week will be another tremendous challenge for Llano. Again, three weeks in a row, Llano will see the slot-t offense, this time at its best. The Panthers threw the football four times last week in beating Taylor 41-14. They rushed for 379 yards on 39 carries, nearly 10 yards per snap.
From 2005-2008, Llano ran the slot-t. People beat Llano when they put 11 men on the line of scrimmage and dared the Jackets to throw the football. Llano threw little, and still averaged winning 8 games per season. I hope to see Llano forcing Liberty Hill into throwing the football. We are not positive Liberty Hill can throw sucessfully. We do know they can run the football very well.
Llano seniors have a great challenge. Beating another great Panther team would be remembered forever. This small group of Jacket seniors needs to have a great memory. Friday night is where they can start.