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JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

LLANO — The Llano High School football team aims to finish the regular season on a high note – with a win against Bandera to clinch third place in District 13-4A Division II.

The two square off at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Bulldog Stadium, 474 Old San Antonio Highway in Bandera.

The Yellow Jackets (3-6 overall, 1-2 district), who will take their bye next week, will enter the contest with confidence thanks to a 48-21 win over Hondo on Oct. 21.

It was the most complete game they’ve played led by junior running back Mason Greenwood, who accounted for 218 of the team’s 411 yards of offense with 215 of those on the ground.

“Mason is close to 1,200 yards on the year,” Llano head coach Craig Slaughter said. “But the big thing that’s improved is the offensive line. I think we have the puzzle pieces figured out. Mason was a good runner without them; now, he’s even more efficient.”

Slaughter was feeling so confident about the running scheme that, hours after losing to Wimberley on Oct. 14, he and his coaches began examining the wishbone offense.

Once they decided what plays to use based on their personnel and strengths, they began teaching it in three days of practice and a walk-through gathering.

“The wishbone has a lot of misdirection,” Slaughter said. “We had looked at our offensive line and our stable of backs. We almost ran everything just out of that formation.”

He called the new formation the “element of surprise. I’m sure Hondo had no idea we were going to do it.”

Llano is preparing for the fact that Bandera will be ready for the new offense, but Slaughter wouldn’t reveal any more about his scheme.

Defensively, the Bulldogs are led by senior linebacker Zach Markgraf and senior defensive end Trey Schwarz.

The offense is led by running backs Dylan Bess, who has 54 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown, and Terrance Harvey, who has 22 carries for 62 yards and has completed eight passes for 104 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Slaughter said it’s imperative the Jackets not give up game-changing plays on special teams. He noted the Bulldogs had a successful onside kick against Wimberley last week and executed a pair of successful fake punts that led to touchdowns.

“We can’t give them a play because we’re not ready,” he said.

This game matters because a Llano win avoids a three-way tie for third place between the Jackets, Bandera, and Hondo in which a points system would be used to determine the two squads that would advance to the playoffs. Navarro and Wimberley have clinched the other two remaining postseason spots.

“We know we’re going to get Bandera’s best efforts,” Slaughter said.

jfierro@thepicayune.com