Improvement Sometimes Not Enough

   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.

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