STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Llano High School football team finishes pre-district play on a long road trip to San Angelo.
The Yellow Jackets (3-1) of District 14-4A Division I meet Lake View (1-3) of District 2-4A Division I on Friday, Sept. 28. It’s a 7 p.m. kickoff at San Angelo Stadium, 1789 Knickerbocker Road.
The Chiefs, who broke an 18-game losing streak in their season-opening 35-0 win over Fabens, run a spread offense led by senior quarterback Kendall Blue, a dual-threat signal caller in his first year to start.
Other contributors are senior running back Elliot Peterson, senior receivers Ahmad Daniels and Adrian Villa, and junior athlete Johnny Espinosa, who has three touchdown catches and one interception returned for a 45-yard touchdown. In all, Espinosa has five interceptions this season.
Villa caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Blue during a 34-6 loss to Fort Stockton on Sept. 21.
Believe it or not, this is the first time the Jackets will defend against the popular spread offense this season.
“We’re going to have to go stop them,” Llano head coach Matt Green said. “The quarterback can throw it and run it. The running back is fast. They have two big receivers. We are going to be challenged this week from a defensive standpoint.”
All of the Lake View receivers stand taller than 6 feet 2 inches, giving the Chiefs a height advantage over Llano, but that just means the Jackets will “have to play scrappy,” Green said.
“I think our defense will rise up,” he said.
Defensively, the Chiefs are led by senior defensive ends Julian Hernandez and Manuel Baeza and senior linebacker Michael Holguin. Lake View will change the defensive front looks in an effort to confuse the quarterback.
Like its offense, Lake View has a height advantage over the Jackets, but Llano will be fast, Green said.
“The strength is the big defensive line,” he said. “They’ll be hard to move. They’re the fastest defense we’ve faced. It’s a great challenge for our offensive line.”
Llano will counter with senior quarterback Cade Fly, who has completed 38 of 72 passes for 677 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions and has 30 carries for 120 yards and four touchdowns; senior running back Mason Brooks, who has 45 carries for 258 yards and four touchdowns; and sophomore receiver Case Kuykendall, who has seven catches for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Green called the 38-7 win over Lago Vista last week the Jackets’ most complete game since he took over the program in the summer of 2017. The defense created two turnovers that the offense then turned into touchdowns; five different players scored touchdowns; and sophomore kicker Miguel Diego connected on all five of his extra-point attempts and a 33-yard field goal.
Green especially liked seeing so many players score for one big reason.
“It makes you obviously hard to defend,” he said. “They have different options they can go to. Our quarterback has the ability to hit receivers. Our goal is to be well-rounded.”