One goes back well over a year since the Llano Yellow Jackets put up 50 points against a good team. Llano was greeted by the host Bangs Dragons last Friday night by holding their Homecoming Game when Llano came to town. But the Jackets were the only ones celebrating on a perfect night in Bangs. The 50-23 victory ended a 10 game Yellow Jacket losing streak, and will raise eye brows across 8-3AAA as the Jackets were not considered a factor going into the 2012 season.
Coach Craig Slaughter holds a booster club meeting on Fridays at 11:30…last week at Inmans’…this week will be at Coopers….everyone should try and go…listen to the young spirit tell about our kids, and it helps to fill in the gaps with a period of questions at the end of a 40 minute program. Slaughters’ big concern, and everyone in Jacket Nation was how would our players respond after the 27-26 loss to defending Champion Wimberley Texans the week before. Llano could respond many ways, but Slaughter did not “want our Jackets to lose to the Texans” two weeks in a row. (Allowing that game dictate the next game) The Jackets had to put that game away, and concentrate on Bangs. The Dragons have been good, and are highly ranked this season in 2-AA. Llano had not beaten the Dragons since 2008. But as soon as the kick-off, Llano had the Texans in their rear view mirror, and sights set on the Dragons.
Junior quarterback Layton Rabb set up on the 46 yard line, after a 29 yard kick-off return by Carter Tatsch. Rabb hit Allen Lucas for 8 yards. Senior tailback Rhett Brooks ran for 37 yards down to the 9 yard line. And Rhett carries it in from the 9. Then Llano went for two, with Wil Siegenthaler throwing to Rhett for the 8-0 lead, very early in the game.
Bangs has one of the best quarterbacks Llano will see this season. JT Newton started last season, and as a junior, he is better. But, so is Llano. Bangs made two first downs, and after 7 plays, and 12 net yards, the Dragons punted. Defensive players showing up strong began with Zach Morgan at defensive end, senior Tristan Sabrsula at the 2-technique got his first sack, Mason Ladd in the secondary, along with Lucas, and Rhett.
Llano began its next drive late in the first quarter, and went 14 plays with runs by senior Wil Siegenthaler, Rhett, senior Matt Center. But the night belonged to Rabb. Key catches from Rabb went to Lucas, Rhett, senior Kassity Pitcox, and the final 10 yards from Rabb to junior Issac Hutto for the score. Storey kicked good, and Llano lead 15-0.
Next came a safety as Wil, and Allen and Morgan got the 2 pointer in the end zone. After an exchange of fumbles, Rabb hit Issac again for a 12 yard scoring pass and catch. LLano now lead 24-0. The Dragons scored at the end of the quarter, and so did Llano. Rabb dropped back, and hit a streaking Devin Mayne over the middle for a 35 yard TD pass. Score at halftime was 31-7.
For the half, the Jacket defense held the Dragons to 53 total yards on 21 plays. Rabb was 10 of 11 passing for 131 yards. Hutto had 4 of the catches, and Rhett had the ground yards. LLano was not finished, but clearly this new coaching staff had the new Yellow Jackets focused.
Llano did not let up. The defense limited the Dragons to 44 yards in the fourth quarter. Quarterback sacks by Issac and Caleb set the Jacket defense tone. Llano’s offense watched at Storey and Rhett carries the load on the ground, with the exception that #68 got his first score of the season, getting a heads-up loose ball . # 68 is senior Ryan West, and great find in this strong senior class. I look for more scoring from Ryan!
Rabb was 4 for 5 passing in the third quarter. Catches by Matt, Pitcox, Wil, and Issac showed the control Rabb had this point, spreading the ball around, with little rhyme to it. Just hope Bandera did not see anything.
The offensive line got better as the game went on. Senior Taylor Stewart looked like the player he was before last seasons bad injury. Jacob Beasley may be at the moment, the most steady. Few would argue that Tristan is not the toughest, and sometimes, the one few want to go up against. West, Edward Gallo got quality playing time in. Junior Russell Webb and Ryan Mansell got time in, and I see both being seasoned by district play. Junior Eli Tiffin is making a hand on defense. He with Caleb Penny and Daniel Durham had many plays I noticed as I wrote their numbers on the page. And can’t leave out junior David Durham, who got to run the football later in the game, and ran strong and hard. Two players that made plays were Kralen Dickerson and Sawyer Stiles. Both block well, and are high energy. With Cooper Hill, these two help anchor special teams that have yet to error. I may have missed a few, but I too need another week to figure out everyone and their numbers.
It was great to get the win…but, Llano plays again this week. The Jackets travel to Bandera. We have split the last four meetings, 2-2. Always seems Bandera plays Llano well, and this week is no exception. Would not be surprised if the Jackets do not see more Homecomings. But, now it is serious. The District is muddled right now. LLano, better than advertised. Question mark with Burnet and Brownwood. For sure Gatesville can’t be overlooked. So the only way to worry about those games is to get better every week. We are over Wimberley. We beat Bangs. Bandera is now in our sights. Llano by 21.