Enjoy all your local news and sports for less than 5¢ per day.

Subscribe Now


LLANO — The Llano High School football team got the win it needed to clinch a playoff berth in defeating Hondo 32-20 on Oct. 30.

The Yellow Jackets (3-6 overall, 1-2 in District 13-4A Division II) entered the Hondo contest after a 15-13 setback to Lytle on Oct. 23.

Head coach Craig Slaughter had told his team that victories over Lytle and Hondo would clinch third in the district. But after losing to the Pirates, the Jackets understood their season came down to beating the Owls.

And Llano played like it, too, he said, noting the Jackets took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter when sophomore quarterback Ben Walling hit sophomore running back Mason Greenwood on a 74-yard pass for the touchdown.

Walling found senior receiver Airon Layton for a 48-yard pass to start the second quarter for a 12-0 advantage.

But Hondo trimmed the deficit when the Owls scored a touchdown with a minute left in the half.

And though Slaughter was pleased to have a halftime lead, he knew the Jackets couldn’t afford to let up.

“We haven’t scored many points to have an easy-breathing, easy win,” he said.

His players took that to heart and increased the advantage midway through the third quarter when Greenwood scored a seven-yard touchdown. The two-point run was good to give the Jackets a 20-7 lead that stood for the rest of the quarter.

Greenwood added his final touchdown of the evening, this time from two yards out, for a 26-7 advantage.

That allowed Slaughter to freely substitute the rest of the contest.

“It’s a reward for all those kids who make your team,” he said. “You have role players on your team, so it’s so nice to let those kids get out there and let them play.”

The Jackets finished with 351 yards of total offense and limited Hondo to 219 yards.

Greenwood finished with 13 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns and four receptions for 98 yards and one touchdown, while Walling had eight carries for 89 yards and completed seven passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

Layton caught two passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Llano ends the regular season at Navarro (9-0 overall, 3-0 district), the District 13-4A Division I champion, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at Erwin Lee Field, 5895 Texas 1223 North in Geronimo.

Then, they’ll get the winner of the District 14-4A Division II game between Devine (8-1, 3-0) and Pearsall  (8-1, 3-1). The two will play Nov. 6.

For Slaughter, qualifying for the playoffs was something the team thought about since the end of the 2014 season. Signs were put up in the weight room and other places throughout the athletic department. Players and coaches had those thoughts as they headed out to the practice field and discussed it in team meetings.

“We’re thrilled,” he said. “After this, we get another week.”