September 3, 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.
Walking out of the Stadium Friday night after the 13 to 10 loss to
the Longhorns, my thought was “if there is a good loss, this was it”.
The Jackets played very sound defense. Offense was tentative and satisfied
with the status quo. Then the horror of one play…63 yards with only 1:56
left to play, and the game ended. Not what you expect, or maybe not even what
you deserve after leading the entire game. But, if you are going to lose, let
it be now.
First the good. The Jackets held Early to 16 total yards of offense in the
first half, on 26 plays. It does not get anymore dominating than this.
four possessions were three plays and punt. On their 5th possession, and on the first
play, senior defensive back T.J. Bunnell intercepted. Llano responded and scored
in two plays. Early finished the half with but two first downs, having punted five
times. Llano lead 7 to 0. Excellent play on defense by Davis Willmann, Robert Coffee,
Patrick Bigger, Zack Lanford, Lance Dickey, and Andy Virdell. Also with outstanding
plays were Neil Stripling and Luke Meador. The defensive line has improved 100% over
last year. Still, room to get even better. This week with Early’s quarterback
throwing the football 29 times, the Jackets needed a pass rush. With Stripling, Meador,
Bigger, and the improvement of David Lindley, the defense needed this game.
The Bad. My first thought is “urgency”. The offense was a little too
laid back. From the offensive lineman to the ball carriers. It is easy to be very
aggressive on defense. On offense, it must be more controlled, but that should not
take away from the aggressiveness of the team with the ball. “Taking it to
them” was a phrase that referred to offensive football. These Jackets must
be more demanding of themselves. Junior quarterback Jordan Leverett is learning the “Yeager” way.
And with experience, Jordan is going to be an excellent leader. He can lead this
team, because it is his team, even if he does not recognize that fact now. The sooner
Jordan takes on more control of his team, then he will be able to lean harder on
expected performances…even from seniors.
It’s funny what you remember. In 1965, the great Butch Stovall was the senior
quarterback on a senior laden team that included Hall of Famer Sammy Rabb, and someday “Famer” Tommy
Duncan. All seniors.
Butch went down early in the season with an injury that ended his career.
Sophomore Dennis Raesener took over at quarterback, and ended up guiding
that great team
to a 7-2-1 record. Lineman Robert Moseley, Lyndon Lockhart, and Jim Everett
all seniors and for me as a sophomore, very intimidating at times. At times
it was a tough huddle. In the first district game against San Saba, things
well. Confusion…. and lots of complaining. And Dennis with but a few starts
on the Varsity, had not taken control of his team. But, at one point, Dennis walked
into the huddle and screamed out “shut up”. You could have heard a pin
drop. No one spoke. Finally Tommy Duncan spoke very softly…”everyone
listen up…listen to Dennis”. From that point on for the next three years,
it was Dennis’s team. Dennis ended his career with the most starts as a starting
quarterback in LHS history.
Let’s just say it. Early was very lucky. Their passing game was very poor.
They completed only 7 passes out of 29. Not for the 63 yards TD pass, they had only
37 yards passing. Again, a good pass rush…a secondary that is very athletic.
Lead by T.J., juniors Jordan Clayton, and Chris Saverance, and sophomore Dickey,
and very tough coverage by linebackers Virdell, Willmann, Coffee and Grant Morgan…for
46 minutes this defense played winning football.
Lesson Learned. No team is easy. And they do count luck on the scoreboard.
Llano should have beat Early. The Jackets are a better football team.
But they played
a little soft for just a moment, and it cost them big time. This kind
of loss hurts. But maybe, this lost will help this Jacket team be much
Teams make their own luck. It is the third game of the season. Llano
needs to take the next step up, and making their own luck is an aggressive
team has the potential to be very good. Beating a very good Comanche
team at Homecoming this week will go a long way in building that base
this team needs
to be ready for District play.
Llano 28 Comanche 21
5PM…Friday before the game…Hall of Fame Inductees @ O.Henry Building.
Everyone please come. It will be a hoot. And please bring a check…It takes
about $1800 per year to maintain and continue the Hall of Fame. If you have not
seen it, you will be delighted. Please attend.