STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
In a matter of seconds, the Llano High School football team experienced the highs and lows of the game in their 31-24 overtime loss to Wimberley on Nov. 2.
Yellow Jackets head coach Matt Green summarized the contest.
“It was a great game,” he said. “Our kids played really, really well.”
Llano was down 24-21 in regulation and had to use its timeouts while Wimberley had the ball.
When the Yellow Jackets got the ball back, senior quarterback Cade Fly drove the team to the Wimberley 31-yard line. He threw the ball out of bounds, which stopped the game clock.
But as the play clock ran, Green had to quickly decide what he wanted to do. One choice was to allow sophomore kicker Diego Miguel to attempt a 48-yard field goal. Another was to call for a short pass to the sidelines that allowed the receiver to go out of bounds to preserve part of the game clock and get Miguel closer.
After considering all the implications of calling for another offensive play and remembering that Miguel was accurately hitting 50-yard field goals in warmups, Green called for the field goal unit.
With one second left on the play clock, Green watched the ball sail through the uprights to tie the game and noted it would have been good from at least 55 yards.
“We’re super proud of him,” Green said of Miguel.
He also commended senior long snapper Drew Cooper and holder Fly for their accuracy of snapping the ball and giving Miguel every chance to be precise with the attempt.
“There’s pressure on the kicker,” Green said. “But you have to have a great long snapper and holder. There’s lots of pressure on those positions, too.”
Green said it’s rare to see a high school kicker, especially an underclassmen, kick a field goal of that length. He noted he seen not more than five kickers hit that distance in his 17 years of coaching.
“He was spot-on and accurate,” the coach said. “He missed a kick in pregame by one yard. And that was without adrenaline. I had confidence in Diego, and he had confidence.”
The Texans (4-5 overall, 3-1 District 13-4A Division II) got the ball first in overtime and scored a touchdown in six plays to take the lead.
On first down from the Wimberley 25-yard line, Fly hit junior receiver Quincy Prince for a touchdown. But officials called Llano (5-4, 1-3) for holding.
On first-and-20, Fly hit senior receiver Kendall Downey on a 32-yard pass.
On fourth-and-goal, Fly ran a quarterback sneak to get into the end zone. But whistles sounded immediately after the play ended with officials saying Wimberley called a timeout. That took points off the board.
After the timeout, Fly leapt over the top to try to tie the game. But officials said he came up short, and that ended the game.
“In our opinion and on tape, he scored the touchdown,” Green said. “There’s no replay in high school football. It’s very apparent he did score.”
Fly finished with 220 yards and two touchdowns in the air thanks to completing 13 of 24 passes and had 25 carries for 55 yards and a score.
Sophomore receiver Case Kuykendall had four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, while Downey caught three passes for 43 yards and a score.
Despite the outcome, Green said playing a traditional powerhouse like Wimberley this close demonstrates an important characteristic of the Yellow Jackets.
“That’s a big step for our program as a whole,” he said. “We are closing the gap.”
Llano travels to Austin East Side Memorial on Friday, Nov. 9. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at House Park, 1301 Shoal Creek Blvd. in Austin.