JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
BANDERA — A 22-13 win over Bandera on Oct. 28 propelled the Llano High School football team to a third-place finish in the District 13-A Division II race and a spot in the playoffs.
The Yellow Jackets (4-6 overall, 2-2 district) will take a bye next week and then face the loser of the Devine-Crystal City contest in the first round of the playoffs. Devine (8-1, 4-0 in District 14-4A Division II) and Crystal City (7-2, 4-0) meet Nov. 4.
Meanwhile, Llano has played and practiced every week since fall training camp began Aug. 1. So to be able to end the regular season on a two-game winning streak illustrates the toughness and heart the Jackets have, head coach Craig Slaughter said.
“We’re pretty excited,” he said. “It’s been nonstop virtually every day. We’re in a good spot, we’re healthy. We’re going to back off a little this week.”
Llano will watch film and have practices that are slightly scaled back, the coach said.
The Jackets couldn’t have begun the game against Bandera any better. The defense recovered a Bulldogs fumble deep in Bandera territory. Llano senior Brent Greenwood punched it in on a five-yard run for an 8-0 lead.
And though the Jackets recovered another Bandera fumble, Llano couldn’t cash in. Had they gotten a set of scores off the turnovers, Slaughter said the Jackets would have been in control of the contest.
Instead, the Bulldogs responded and led 13-8 at the half after recovering a pair of Llano fumbles in the first half.
Slaughter said the turnovers were the result of bad exchanges between skill players.
So at intermission, the Jackets recommitted themselves to finishing the contest properly, he said.
“We felt like we were the better team going in,” he said. “The defense did great. They started off great, then had a lull in the middle. And when we were finally able to cash in offensively, the defense as always was very solid.”
Senior John Heflin scored on a 24-yard scamper, and Greenwood caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Ben Walling.
“We’re thrilled for a win and excited for a week off,” Slaughter said. “I swore to my wife I’d only watch football for just a few hours the next few days.”