The Llano Yellow Jackets kicked the season off at Smithville by racing to a 25-0 halftime lead to jump start the 2016 football season. The issue was the young Jackets forgot they needed to play harder in the second half than in the first, and that did not seem to happen. The 31-15 final score was nothing but hope and anticipation of what may to come, but the Jackets can settle down now, for the Jackets travel this week to State 3AAA ranked Sonora that will be anything but easy.
One of the best and most telling reasons that the first part of any season, is the new players that show up. Sure, we all knew Mason and Brent would come to play. We knew junior Ray Dixon would give any team holly heck. And veterans John Heflin, Jaden Napolez, Jason Gann, Ian Fletcher would be the backbone of this team. But where ‘o where have these other guys been?
Goodness….# 7 Kyle Cooper at safety. What a find, and my understanding he is a move in from this past spring. Got anymore friends you want to bring with you Kyle? Great first game in the secondary. #40 Stephen Sanderson, a senior played well at special teams and offense. #21 Luis Coronado is very special on special teams. Great hustle. # 50 Dakoda Trull at offensive guard may be very special. The Jackets rushed for nearly 150 yards in the first half. Give Dakoda some credit. My goodness…sophomore Brook Keel made a great first game introduction at wide receiver. #88 is going to be good. And what do we say about #12, sophomore Anthony Watson? Three catches for 92 yards in the first half, two TDs’? You make the Jacket record book for one. And this is the beginning.
I knew Mason Greenwood would need help from his offensive line to make another run at a 1,000 yard season, as he did last season in his sophomore year. But this first game may spoil us. Senior Cameron Hall, Jaden, Ray at left tackle, Gann, junior Hayden Cowart, veteran great #60 Roberto Alcala at center, and Trull. This could…could be Slaughters’ best offensive line….must get better every game to make such a remark,…but could be.
Friday night, the defensive line was at its best as compared to last year. Dixon in the middle is a fireball. Every play he is coming at the guards and center on the other team. Every play. Veteran Blake Dillard is so solid. Nolan Keller is too solid, and will get better every game. Cannot say enough of what a player Kegan Greenhaw is. Makes play after play. Blocked at pass. Wonderful game. And the following players never let up. Junior Josh Soliz, Ian Fletcher, Brent, Jaden, and Luis. Gang tackling and the blitz!! Llano came from everywhere. Ian coming off the end is nothing but dangerous. Felt like Brent and Josh were in on 20 tackles.
Mason had 50 yards on 7 carries in the first half. Did not carry the football in the second half. But #5 did. Dalton Moore ran 10 times for 60 yards. Good start for the sophomore. Really runs hard. Senior Blake Dillard showed he too could run hard and fast. Had several very strong runs. At the end, Llano just feed the ball to Brent Greenwood. That is a safe play everytime. I see tons of hope in this running game.
Junior quarterback Ben Walling was 6 of 12 for 122 yards and three touchdown passes in the first half. 0 for 3 in the second half. Ran hard for several first downs. Solid start for Ben.
A few suggestions: The penalties can kill you. Had Llano with 8. Maybe we can say it was the first game. Ok. Next week let’s cut that to 4. That’s a good goal.
Let’s go for two points after every touchdown. We are a running team. Surely we can get three yards half the time. We have the backs, the speed, and the line that could produce three yard gains every two plays. Even the pros are drifting in that direction. Nothing is more deflating for a defense to walk off the field after getting 8 points put on it.
Sonora will be no Smithville. Ranked #6 last week in 3AAA. The Broncos were 8-4 last year and won their district. Their returning quarterback threw for 26 TD passes last season. Will be a great test for Cooper, Heflin and Luis. Sonora may be picked to win by the Harris Poll by 3 touchdowns. Llano 24 Sonora 22.
Jacket Offensive Player of the Game Week 1….Dalton Moore
Jacket Defensive Player of the Game Week 1….Kegan Greenhaw