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September 23, 2007
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Play To Win
By Mikel R. Virdell…recording the history of the Fighting Llano Yellowjackets since 1973.
The Llano Yellowjackets beat the Taylor Ducks for the first time in history and improved their 2007 record to 3-1 behind a tremendous defensive effort that produced three pass interceptions, and a pass rush that was just enough. Not until Llano came from behind in the 4th Quarter was the game decided, as Llano won the hard fought and bitter contest 22-8.
From the first play to the last, senior Dusty Lockhart played lights out
football. # 55 had his best game ever as a Yellowjacket, and from his leadership
role at offensive
center, his play lifted the entire team to play on a higher level. Tackles in the
double digits, and a line play against very quick Taylor players, Dusty can say he
certainly did step it up.
While not seeing the game film, I have to think Nathan Dudley played near his best game this year. Outstanding concentration and focus from the 160 pound senior safety.
Last weeks’ dismal outing by the secondary while not entirely their fault, decided to take matters into their own hands this week and just get the job done. Interceptions by senior Lance Dickey, Dudley, and junior Taylor Maddox stopped momentum every time by the Ducks. Game killers each time. And from my position, it looked like maybe senior Wes Regmund, senior Cody Fietz (two saves in a row), and Seth Simpson had all changed positions, having been moved to nose guards!!! All three made numerous tackles in the backfield for losses from their secondary positions. And speaking of losses, seniors Tye Siegenthaler, Kyle Frizell, and Jared Francis played like the veterans they are. Their continued improvements gives hope that Llano, if still improving can think seriously about winning the district crown for the first time since 1998.
The eleven possessions by Taylor resulted in 3 forced punts, three times Llano held on fourth down, and 3 drives were stopped on interceptions, plus one forced fumble. The four turnovers were a result of a much more aggressive Jacket defense making things happen, rather than hoping things happen.
Rather than a blow by blow of the game, a few more observations:
Llano’s offensive line gets better every week. Lead by 290 pound junior Andrew Ratliff, Anderson, Francis, Hensley, Dusty, with help from junior Cory Wunderlich, Haines, and senior Robert Ivey, Llano is working back to having a 300 yard rushing game soon. Last year’s unit averaged over 300 yards rushing per game. The Jackets have senior Ty Thurman at fullback, who will get every yard available. With diversions from Dickey( Over 7 Yards Per Carry), Freeman, and quarterback Trey Brooks, the Jackets will be successful running the football.
Brooks is becoming a good football player. And the very pleasant surprise is he can throw the football. So far he has not forced a pass, thus no turnovers. Picking his spots with 5 TD passes this year, with sure hands of Walker Woolman, Freeman, Thurman, and Regmund, a passing attack can be very effective in this run first offense.
And this most important thought. I think the Taylor football game is the first game in 7 years in which Llano won because they were in better condition than the other team. Llano won this game in the fourth quarter. Llano won this game because they still had enough fire in the belly to gear it up one more notch to win in the fourth quarter. There was no let down due to fatigue. Llano was in better shape. One of those steps good football teams make as a season gets into the meat of the schedule. Some teams let up by mid season. Llano appears to be gearing up. Another sign that a district championship is a viable goal.
This week is “Brady Week”. This still means something to some of us. A special on Brady will be on line by Wednesday afternoon. I’ve been working on it for several weeks, and I hope you enjoy.
Robert Dowcett is a State of Texas football record keeper, from South Lake. He has been kind enough to help me as well as send on some great and fun information. Go to www.texashsfootball.com. When you find “all time wins” stroll down and with over 1000 Texas high schools, you might find surprising where Llano is ranked. See you Wednesday.
Thought For The Day:
Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.