The two faces of the Llano Yellowjackets showed itself Friday night playing the Fredericksburg Billies. You had the hustling, gang tackling Jackets, and you had the laid back wait and see if someone else will do the job and maybe I won’t have to do much Jackets.
As I sat through the first half, there was hope. There was a spark. Certainly mainly on defense of all things, but this team showed up to play. For the first time in maybe years, the Llano defense forced 5 punts in the first half. The passing game of senior Billies’ quarterback Kyle Reeh was on its heels. Only 3 of 13 and 38 yards in the first half. I thought Cody Miller, John Heflin, Ian Fletcher, Valentine Hernandez played very good. Then the pass rush, the hard nose at the point of attack was the best in two years. Lead by senior linebacker Wyatt Bauman and sophomore Ray Dixon, this defense was spot on. Great play by Brent Greenwood , Dorian Green, Jaden Napolez, and Hunter Roemer. Blake Dillard is showing is genes. Mat Agee coming off injury was pitching in. Matt Cohen was in on several stops. And when junior Roberto Alcala is playing in the Billies backfield, he makes things happen. Dixon too had QB sacks. It just looked like everyone was on the same page. Fredericksburg had minus yards in 14 carries! Goodness sakes alive, where did this defense come from?
All I can say is it looked like that team got back on the bus and the Brady Yellowjacket team played the second half. The 27-0 final score was kind. The Jackets had no offense. 44 yards in the second half. A run by senior quarterback Wyatt Casey of 17 yards and one completion to Mason Greenwood for 9 yards, and that was it. Senior Airon Layton had three catches in the game. Casey had no time to throw, Mason ended the game with 18 carries and 19 yards.
Most important issues. Senior leadership. It takes everyone to win a football game. Guys that play little, must buy into the team concept. Not just the stars on a team. Everyone. Seniors can make this happen. Meet together. Talk. Understand this is your last stand. And please see the big picture. You still can win. You are good enough to still beat 5 of the 6 remaining teams on the schedule. You really can. You proved it to yourselves in the first half. Can you dream about playing defense for 48 minutes every game, rather than just 24. Do you know the results? I do. You will give yourself a chance to win every game. That is all we as fans want for you. That is what your family and moms and dads want for you. And that is what each Coach wants for you. Believe in yourself first. This season is not lost, unless you seniors say it is lost. Go to Lakeview and play your guts out every play. Every play. Do it just once so you will know how it feels. You will not be disappointed in yourself.
Now I am going to talk about a young player that I have learned to respect. In 43 years of writing about the Llano Fighting Yellowjackets, I do not think I have gone here. But it keeps going thru my mind, so that I will say this. Llano in the 43 years I have been covering the Jackets have had only two truly speed burning running backs. Jason Moore in 1997 (Averaged 6.98 yards per carry) , and Curtis Hartman in 1990 ( 2,764 yards junior and senior years, 3rd all-time rusher, holds school record with 327 yards in single game against Gatesville.) Both were blazers. Yet, they had few football moves. But both were very smart football players. They knew God had given them a talent, and they knew they had to cash in on that talent. Speed. And as they both progressed in their football careers, someone I can only guess showed them that speed was more important than anything. Anything. Juke moves ? Nothing. Outrun folks to the sidelines? Never happens. Run over the defensive end? Rarely seen. Speed. The first step. Straight ahead flash. By the time you get two steps past the last player on the end of the offensive line, you cut it up and go. Not one moment of hesitation. No more running to the sidelines. Curtis and Jason turned it up. Both are in the record books, with Curtis having 1,500 yards his senior year. They used their one great talent, and both were great Llano running backs in a very long tradition of greats. They did not try to be something they weren’t. They played smart.
Mason Greenwood looks to me to have that kind of speed. His running lanes are not to get to the sidelines. The lanes are there, 2-3 steps outside the ends. Only for mini-seconds. A blink of an eye, the lanes are there. Offensive lineman can block hard for 1-2 seconds. Hard to get 3-5 seconds out of those guys. So as a team, you are working on tenths of a second. My prayer is Mason starts running smart. What a talent you have. Speed. Use it wisely. Same goes for running between the tackles. Speed. When no hesitation is in the run, speed will be by many linebackers before they see you. Take a page from the past and run like Curtis and Jason. Llano 20 Lakeview 0