JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
LLANO — Before the Llano and Bangs high school football teams kick off on Sept. 4, members of the Llano Hall of Fame will be honored as part of the festivities for the school’s new synthetic field.
The two teams face off at 7:30 p.m. at Llano Stadium, 400 Texas 71 East.
And Yellow Jackets head coach Craig Slaughter said his players want to make sure it’s a happy night.
“I think there ought to be a special sense of pride in defending your home turf,” he said. “It is something we stressed all offseason; that’s one of our goals.”
Both squads are entering this contest after losses in week one – Llano to Wall, 28-13, and Bangs to Ballinger, 41-22.
The Dragons (0-1) use the I-formation as their primary running structure.
Slaughter said he likes that because it will give his defense a chance to learn how to defend it before the start of District 13-4A Division II play begins against Wimberley on Oct. 9.
“The part that I like is that’s great practice because when we play Wimberley and Navarro and some of those teams, you hope you can stand up and go toe to toe with them,” he said. “Those guys are going to run the football right at you. So it’s great practice in that aspect.”
Bangs senior receiver Mason Richenau had nine carries for 126 yards in the loss to Ballinger, while senior running back Seth Ross had 26 rushes for 111 yards.
“My biggest worry about Bangs is they’re better than they showed,” Slaughter said. “We’re going to get a very angry version of them.”
The Dragons will be in a 4-3 front. Cornerbacks will cover receivers tightly.
“We don’t see a lot of guys up in your face right at the line of scrimmage,” Slaughter said. “But (Bangs) is definitely right up there aggressive. Sometimes, some of the teams we play, they may have more depth than us. I do think we have more depth than (Bangs).”
One of the key matchups during the contest will be between the Llano offensive line, led by senior center Colton Center and sophomore Ray Dixon, and the Dragons’ defensive line. Against Wall, the offensive line helped the Jackets record 14 first downs. In all, Llano had 258 yards of total offense.
“You haven’t seen (Bangs) really beat blocks quick enough to maybe show up and make some plays,” Slaughter. “If (my linemen) will give us what they gave us last week, I think we ought to have some offensive success.”