October 22, 2005
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Play to Win Archives
Play To Win
By Mikel R. Virdell…recording the history of the Fighting Llano Yellowjackets since 1973.
The disappointment a few had with the 24-6 victory over old time rival Brady Friday night can calm down. While the victory over the Bulldogs was not real exciting, the Yellowjackets accomplished exactly what was needed. Victory number 6, and placing the Jackets in a position to make the playoffs.
It was exciting for senior cornerback T.J. Bunnell who tied a Yellowjacket record with three interceptions in a game. T.J.’s heads-up play places him at the top of the record book with Derrick Winfrey in 1989 and David Hoskins in 2003. T.J. now has five for the season and four in 27 AAA District play. Along with Davis Willmann with two, Jordan Clayton with two, Chris Saverance and Lance Dickey with one each, I think the total of 11 for the season after eight games is significant.
But, back to Brady. Llano played with a steady resolve. Few mistakes, few penalties, no fumbles, and not a lot of intense energy. But in my mind, this game was played out, and Coached just right. The Yellowjackets did not need a mind draining game after the Liberty Hill game. I’m happy that Llano was able to “walk through the Brady game”. The players needed a slow walk back to intensity. This week, that walk must become a sprint.
Llano stayed with the most basic game plan, and running between the tackles. Shane Pope got his usual 158 plus yards, behind the blocking of seniors Tyler Hoerster, Kyle Miiller, Brent Wooten, and Zack Lanford. These four seniors are crucial to the success in this weeks’ game with Bandera. Great to see sophomores Michael Anderson and Robert Ivey playing well. Juniors Neil Stripling and Patrick Bigger are steady hands, along with good reliable backups in Justin Fry and Daniel Warren. Injured starting center Jonathan Hill returns this week. The offensive line has improved beyond anything I could have ever imagined. The first two games were really bad. Each of these offensive linemen can be very proud of the hard work and very hard task of changing all learned over the past four years to making themselves into very good run blockers. Pope, Yocum, Dickey, Long, and Fortney should also very grateful.
Strange game. The second half only had three possessions. Llano took the
second half kick-off and drove 17 plays in over 7 minutes with senior Grant
Morgan kicking a 22-yard field goal. 16 running plays…one pass…one
kick. Llano lead 17-0.
Tyler Hoerster played on the defensive line, and was good. We will need him against Bandera. The 285-pound senior is hitting his stride on both sides of the ball.
Junior Josh Yocum carried the ball only 7 times but had 65 yards, and two TDs’. His pace is different from Shanes’. A great twosome here.
To make the playoffs as a team picked to be 5th in District, Llano had
to beat the third best team. They did in beating Ingram. A team must win
the games when the opponent is inferior. They did in beating Brady. But the
upstart team of the season is Bandera, only two years removed from their
State Championship season.
Llano can win with few penalties, no turnovers, and an intensity not seen since Comfort and Ingram. Llano will win with an offensive line that pulls it all together to give Pope, Yocum, Long, Leverett, Fortney, and Dickey “opportunities”. Llano will win if T.J., or Davis, or Coffey, or Chris, or Lance, or Jordan Clayton, or Morgan intercepts a pass. Llano will win if Tyler and Miiller, and Sam Whitaker, and Patrick Bigger get a pass rush. Llano will win when Andy and Davis and Branden play their best games as linebackers. Seniors…all seniors must play their best game of their careers. They must in order to win. Now is the time to get intense.
Llano 24 Bandera 23
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