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October 2, 2007
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Play To Win
By Mikel R. Virdell…recording the history of the Fighting Llano Yellowjackets since 1973.
While beating Brady in Brady is never easy, beating poor officiating is even tougher to overcome, and in the case of Llano beating Brady 32 to 23 Friday night, both teams had to try and overcome errors. Still the first Llano win in Brady since 1998 was a grand win, and another come from behind victory that should give this 2007 Jacket team the resolve to stay the course in adverse times. Being behind in the fourth quarter qualifies for adverse times.
Brady took the opening kick-off and drove 72 yards on 11 plays and made the visitors feel a tad uncomfortable. Three first downs, one Jacket penalty, and the Bulldogs were off to the races. Junior linebacker Logan Davis and senior Wes Regmund were in on the most stops for Llano. But for the next 15 minutes of play, the Jackets played lights out football. The Bulldogs had the ball on three series, had a combined 53 yards. Had they not had a 35 yard pass completion on third down and 30, the Jackets may have had an easier night. Tye Siegenthaler had good pressure on the Bulldog quarterback all night long. Sam Whitaker several times embarrassed his nose up rival. And linebacker Dusty Lockhart with Nathan Dudley had excellent games.
The Jacket offense on the other hand was slow to start. A one handed swing pass to Ty Thurman from quarterback Trey Brooks and a 22 yard run by senior Lance Dickey, it was the middle of the second quarter before Llano found success. 18 more yards from Lance, 20 more on two carries by Ty, and Llano faced first and 10 on the 40 yardline. Brooks fades back and fired a long pass that junior Walker Woolman ran under for the TD. The score was 6 to 6 with 7:08 left in the half.
After the kickoff, Llano’s defense held. Good defense by Cody Feitz, Taylor Maddox, Michael Anderson, junior Royce Haines, and senior Kyle Frizell held the Bulldogs on fourth down. Austin Freeman also had a very strong game, but was injured early in the 3rd quarter and left the game not to return. Senior Ethan Moore was able to come into the game and played very well and was in on numerous tackles.
Llano’s offense also found itself, with carries by Wes, and 6 yards by Lance, Brooks called his own number and ran 49 yards for a Jacket score to put Llano ahead 12 to 6. Key blocking from Andrew Ratliff, Dusty, Michael, and Seth Hensley put Llano ahead for the first time in the game at the 2:57 mark in the first half.
This ignited the Bulldog offense. On the first play from scrimmage, the Bulldogs hooked up on a 65 yards pass play that caught Llano counting their change. With the extra point, the Bulldogs were now ahead 13 to 12.
This rattled Llano. On the next series, the Jackets were 3 plays and out., when a pass was deflected and intercepted, and Bulldogs made it count. Despite very tough line play from Ratliff, and a saving tackle by Lance on a 52 yard romp, the Bulldogs settled for a field goal of 32 yards to end the half with the lead of 16 to 12.
Llano’s conditioning again paid dividends in the second half of football. After an exchange of punts, Llano took the ball from the 38 yardline and drove 62 yards, no penalties, and 11 running plays later Ty scored that put Llano back in front. Key blocking from Frizell, junior Cory Wunderlich, and Jared Francis put Llano up 19 to 16 late in the third quarter. On the other side of the ball, Llano’s defense held the Bulldogs to 9 yards on 6 plays, and the ball of thread began to unravel, as Brady had 50 yards in penalties in the quarter.
The 4th quarter began with Brady scoring in 4 quick plays, the final 38 yards on a run that put the Bulldogs back ahead 23 to 19.
Ty Thurman again showed great speed with good blocking on the kick-off. Ty returned five kick-offs for 141 yards, the last one bring the ball to the 45 yard line of Llano. And not to mess with the time clock, Ty went the final 55 yards on the first play from scrimmage to put Llano ahead again 25 to 23. This all happened in a span of 17 seconds.
Llano showed its mite on the last meaningful series of the game. As the Bulldogs, took the kick-off, and facing a fourth down, Llano’s defense held. Moore, Ratliff, Tye, Francis, Haines, Whitaker, Dickey, Michael, Justin Logan, and junior Todd Tribble all had contributions. Also, Cody, Nathan, junior Taylor Maddox and Wes were strong in the secondary.
Llano’s mainstay offense then took over, as well as running out the clock, although Brady forgot to start the darn thing, the Jackets scored late for insurance. The final being the 32 to 23.
This win was good. It was meaningful against an old rival, on their home field. At their homecoming. Llano is now 4-1 for the season, headed into another very tough and meaningful game.
Now games do begin to mean something. The offense must continue to improve. The defense allows about 2 yards per play except for the four or five big gains given up each week. That number can come down. The special teams at times are very good. Can’t let up. And playing a top 4AAAA school like Kerrville on their home field is one tough task asked of this Jacket team. How they handle it will tell how they handle District play. Continued conditioning and playing hard in the 4th quarter will be one key factor to watch. Llano’s success is attributed to many factors. But being tough in the mental department has paid off up to now. If Llano can hang with Kerrville into the 4th quarter, Llano has a chance to win.
Llano’s Short History with Kerrville:
1972 Llano 6 Kerrville 42
Llano 34 Kerrville 31