The 5-5 Llano Yellow Jackets will play the 8-2 Crystal City Javelinas for the third year in a row in the first round of the State Play offs. Crystal City from District 14-4A Div. II, placed second in their district, going 4-1. The Jackets were 2-2 in District 13-4A Div. II, placing third. in 2015, the Jackets won. In 2016, the Javelinas won. Both games were played in San Antonio.
This Friday night, Llano will meet Crystal City on the playing field of Incarnate Word in San Antonio. The game will feature a Javelina team that had a record of 8-4 last season after beating the Jackets 22-18, and this season stand at 8-2 over all. The Javelinas run the football most of the time. Two running backs, Austin Sanchez and David Patino average over 100 yards rushing per game. Sanchez also was an All State safety last season.
I will say that I do believe that Llano played about as uninspired football against Crystal City in last years game that I had ever seen. No energy. And opportunity after opportunity left on the field. That will not be the case this Friday night.
The seniors on this years team not only are winners, but want to win. It showed up game after game when maybe it was not to be. Playing so hard against Sonora and Navarro showed me a Jacket team that could play with anyone. And while Llano lost to Burnet, I think the Jackets surprised themselves with hard play and a very close game. (Burnet has nearly 1,000 students in high school). The Jackets should relish the opportunity to win this rubber match with Crystal City. And winning game number 6 would match the victory total that the 2010 team put up in a 6-5 season. 11 years ago, Llano won 7 games.
But, as I do every year at this time, I place the burden on the seniors. This is their game. This is their reward. And I believe this is their season to own. Lead by seniors Ian Fletcher, Ray Dixon and Tyler Gann. These are football players. And Josh Soliz and Luis Coronado have been our best surprises. So much energy and aggressiveness. How lucky can you get when a Daniel Sparks moves to your team for his senior year. Great football player. Don’t remember anyone improving as much over 10 games as Dalton Bauman. Got better every week. Few more consistent than Dakota Trull in the offensive line for two seasons. Gage Cox, Lane Ward and Kaleb Dodson talented defensive players. Great surprise in Austin Humphrey on both sides of the ball. Real force inside. Folks like Tyler Thompson, and Hayden Cowart makes the coaches job easier with people that can play anywhere and do a good job. Hayden Godfrey continues to come up with big plays. And look how much Nolan Keller has come in with great plays and consistent blocking. And where was Diego Garcia last season. Consistent, and now in the record book. Great senior year. Always playing hard and especially on special teams, Quint Pincelli makes plays every Friday night. And the job Ben Walling has done from a running back position. Wow. Hurts alot of folks when he carries the ball. And with a disjointed season, Mason Greenwood has had wonderful moments playing for Llano. Ranked high in the record book in rushing. Just one more injury free, great game from Mason is needed.
You play, maybe your last game, as if it were the last game you will ever be in. You savor every moment. Every play has no regrets. Every play could be the one that makes the difference. You practice this week like there is no next week. You want to go out with the biggest bang you possibly can. And you make every second a memorable one. And you walk off the field Friday night with no regrets. Beat Crystal City.