Few teams in 3-AAA football plan for their third option at quarterback to become a reality with only a few hours notice, but it did. . Layton Rabb, after starting the last 16 games over three seasons, goes to the hospital Friday morning for an emergency surgery. So let’s go with last years’ quarterback, Holden Simpson. Oops! He played the night before leading the JV team. Into the quarterback situation walks 5’9 Tyler Stiles whom taking a snap at varsity quarterback will only happen for the first time at 7:30 PM…Friday night.
If Friday nights are made for memories, last Friday night will be in Tyler’s brain forever. Steping in at quarterback for the Jackets, and while not having to win the game all alone, he too had to not lose the game. That burden was tremendous on his 150 pound frame. No fumbles (although I am sure I could see his hands shaking in that first series), no penalties, no interceptions, 4 of 7 passing for 43 yards…Tyler managed this win over the Bangs Dragons just fine. Wow ! What a tale to tell 50 years from now. Great game, great effort Tyler.
Tyler had help. Issac Hutto had two of the catches. Junior Lance Reven played great at linebacker. Cornerback Mason Ladd is having an all-star season, and only two games into the season. Seniors Jordan Webb, Caleb Penny, juniors Cody Harp and Clancy Durham, and sophomore Colton Center were doing something right. Senior running back Carter Tatsch rushed for 262 yards and that will get you into the record book for a single game. And that is what it took to win this game.
Llano had to change its game plan from the moment Coaches knew Layton was not playing. Likely one would have expected 25 pass attempts. 10 runs by Carter. 6 catches by Issac. All of that changed Friday morning. And to the credit of the Coaches, they were able to sale the new approach in a matter of hours. Carter carried the big load, with 26 carries. Tyler managed, and players like Ryan Mansell, Jalen Bauman, Eliazar Villegas and Justin Long played defense. Held Bangs to 247 total yards…winning football.
Erich Burch and senior Eli Tiffin played better this week. Eli’s leadership was invaluable this past week. Senior Chance Ware is great on kick-offs, and plays very well at cornerback. And Tommy Yelvington had a very strong game. Bauman’ “wildcat” out of the quarterback position was a new good look, and Jalen can and will wear many hats this season. And a great weapon that gets over-looked…Issac Hutto as punter keeps Llano in good field position.
This was a very good win. Llano overcame lots! But beating Bandera this week will come down to 25 players all stepping up another notch. But that is where we are. Llano can still beat Bandera, and be more improved with each week. Llano does not have to get great on one Friday night. The Jackets just need to keep getting better. It is baby steps. Winning at Homecoming is just another step up. Llano by 10.