STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
LLANO — The Llano High School football team began the 2018 season with a narrow 29-26 loss to Hondo on Aug. 31.
The Owls (1-0) scored the game-winning touchdown on the last drive of the contest.
Llano (0-1) head coach Matt Green commended Hondo, particularly its offensive line, which returned all five starters from last season, including three who were all-district players.
Hondo began the contest with an 18-play drive that chewed up 7 minutes and ended with a touchdown. Llano’s initial drive ended in a punt, but the Yellow Jackets blocked a punt on the Owls’ next drive, giving Llano a short field with which to work.
And Llano took advantage, tying the game 7-7. This triggered a series of touchdowns for both squads..
One was a 75-yard touchdown pass to Llano junior receiver Quincy Prince, his only catch of the contest.
Hondo added two more touchdowns and headed into the half leading 21-14.
Green noted that the Llano defense was on the field a long time because Hondo was able to control the clock. In contrast, the Jackets offense had quick scoring strikes and short offensive fields.
At the half, coaches moved senior Drew Cooper to defensive tackle from defensive end to help the Jackets curtail the Owls running game, Green said.
That move might have paid off immediately as the defense forced a fumble in the second half. Yellow Jackets outside linebacker Ryan Warner scooped up the ball and rambled into the end zone.
Llano missed the extra point, but they trimmed the deficit to 21-20.
The Yellow Jackets jumped to a 26-21 lead after sophomore safety Case Kuykendall returned a punt for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed.
The Owls had time for one more drive at the end of the game and scored the winning touchdown with 14 seconds. Forty-five yards in Llano penalties during the final drive didn’t help the Yellow Jackets cause either.
Green said the Yellow Jackets learned they must cut down on penalties, which totaled about 200 yards in the season opener.
“No team can win doing that,” he said of the penalty yards.
Senior quarterback Cade Fly completed six of 16 passes for 109 yards and an interception. He also rushed for 41 yards on 10 carries.
Senior Dalton Moore had five carries for 30 yards and a touchdown.
Green said his players have learned plenty and look forward to its week two matchup against Luling.
That game is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at Eagle Field, 218 E. Travis in Luling.