The Llano Yellow Jackets season ended with a big disappointment November 10th in the 22-18 loss to Crystal City in the Bi- District Game. There is little to say that will heal the hurt. Dreams came to an end. Yet life will go on. The seniors will be fine. But they will never forget their senior season, and they can be proud of many things. Effort being one of those. There was no let down by this strong group of seniors. And their tremendous effort in beating Hondo was the highlight of the season. Beating Hondo 48-21 was a great team victory. Then winning at Bandera the following week to secure a third place finish in the District race was special. Many wonderful seniors and great memories. I will miss you all.
Seniors of the 2016 Yellow Jackets
Travis Wright Jason Gann Taylor Smith Kegan Greenhaw Roberto Alcala
Thomas Westermann Christian Conway Jordan Monroy John Keeney John Heflin
Stephen Sanderson Bradley Dyess Shane Flint Brent Greenwood Blake Dillard
Jaden Napolez Kyle Cooper Hunter Roemer Neil Blackmon Cameron Hall
Each of these seniors had a role to play. Sometimes, it is just as a cheerleader. Sometimes it is throwing a great block (Alcala, Hall, Gann, Westermann, Monroy). Sometimes it is the extra effort it takes to go chase down kick offs and punt returns (Sanderson, Conway, Keeney, Flint, Dyess). Making that key tackle ( Dillard, Greenhaw, Smith, Naploez, Cooper, Roemer, Blackmon),. That great run- Heflin, or those turnovers and interceptions- Greenwood. This large senior class had some wonderful moments. Those special moments will always be remembered.
Looking toward 2017, we can see hope for better results. Returning Llano will have players that made a great impact on 2016. I look at the offensive line as the key. Dakoda Trull, Tyler Lindell, Hayden Cowert, Lane Ward, Dalton Bauman, Kendall Downey, Austin Humphrey, Alex Smith, Luke Williams, Mason Brooks, Ethan Tisdale or Bailey Hoy could all be in the mix. Senior to be Ray Dixon will be a beast. These players must get stronger. Get quicker. Get into better shape. These lineman either on offense or defense can make 2017 a great season. But they must get better. These lineman will have the excitement of blocking for very good backs running the football. Returning to name only a few will be Gage Cox, Ben Walling, Josh Soliz, Cade Fly, Drew Cooper, Luis Coronado, Tyler Gann, Pressley Lynch, and Dalton Moore. Aaron Brown could become special. Nolan Keller, after finding his position, could be a key to a successful passing game, as his 33 yard catch in the Bi District game showed. Gann, Quint Pincelli, Thomas Adams, along with returning leading receiver of 2016 Anthony Watson could be very good. All must improve. All can.
Ian Flecther has a chance to be so good. He already is in so many respects. Leadership, maturity and experience should make for a great 2017. Ray Dixon will continue to dominate on both sides of the line. You have to watch him on every play. Ray will be a senior, as will Ian and Josh. And returning for his senior year is running back Mason Greenwood. 2,360 yards in two seasons. Mason, with a lot of help from the offensive line, could….could approach 4,000 yards for a career. Former Yellow Jacket great, Kevin Fain is in second place all-time, with 3,226. The great former Yellow Jacket James Grantham is the number one career rusher of all-time with 5,663 yards. Those are great numbers to shoot for. But only a team effort can those dreams come true.
The Jackets of 2017 must get their heads on straight. Winning 4 or 5 games a season is not reaching high enough. I truly thought Llano could have won 7 games this season. I really believe Llano should have beaten Wimberley. 2017 …every game is winnable. Every game. You think about it over the next 9 months. You watch film. You make winning every game next season a reality. You believe it. You work at it. You watch more film. And you accept nothing less. Because when you do, you will accept less.
I think the school record book is updated now, but please call me out when you see mistakes. Both Yellow Jacket Records and Win/ Loss records are update. Had several entries from the 2016 team. Spoke with IT guru Jim Beasley with Llano ISD and he will see about placing a link on the school web-site so that finding this information will be easier. If you type in “Play To Win by Mikel Virdell”, it should be there. Records can be clicked on in top headline area. I am already looking forward to 2017. See you at Jacket Stadium when we play Smithville in the first game of 2017.