STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Llano High School football team captured a bi-district championship Nov. 16 in a game the Yellow Jackets had to claw, fight, and overcome challenges to win.
The Jackets (7-4 overall, 2-3 District 13-4A Division II) beat Hondo 21-14 in overtime after trailing 14-0 for more than 40 minutes of regulation in Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
Llano junior defensive back Justin Yocum intercepted a deflected pass to secure the victory after senior quarterback Cade Fly bullied his way into the end zone from 6 yards out. Sophomore kicker Diego Miguel added the extra point to give Llano the 21-14 lead.
Yocum said he simply wanted to “come in clutch in key situations” and was in the right spot to make the catch.
“I try my hardest in practice every single week,” Yocum said. “It finally paid off.”
Llano head coach Matt Green said he wasn’t sure if Yocum secured the interception because the defensive player had his back to coaches. But when he saw Yocum had the ball, he told him to take a knee to end the game. That’s when the celebration started.
“I thought we needed a big turnover, and we finally got it,” the coach said.
Until midway through the fourth quarter, the Jackets’ offense struggled. Dropped passes, very few explosive plays, and turnovers plagued Llano all night.
But that changed in the final minutes of regulation.
That’s when Fly found junior receiver Quincy Prince for a 91-yard touchdown to tie the contest at 14-14 with minutes left in regulation
“This defines the rest of my life,” Fly said. “I was moving around, I lobbed it and let Quincy run away with it.”
Green called for the long bomb, noting coaches saw the Owls (6-5, 4-1 District 14-4A Division II) defensive linemen were tiring and the safety was cheating to one side of the field. That left Prince in one-on-one coverage and allowed him to use his speed to get away from the defender.
Trailing 14-0, Llano cut the deficit in half when senior running back Mason Brooks forced his way into the end zone from 2 yards out. He finished with nine carries for 28 yards and a touchdown. Miguel added the extra point with 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
Llano’s first half was marred by turnovers and high snaps that kept the Jackets scoreless.
Hondo opened the scoring by taking advantage of a snap that went over the Llano punter’s head.
Sophomore running back Trey Dickens needed only one play, a 1-yard run, for a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. He finished the contest with 24 carries for 81 yards and a score.
After the Owls caught an interception in their end zone, junior running back Tate Fitzpatrick ran 40 yards to the end zone and a 14-0 lead with 2 minutes left in the first quarter. He finished the contest with seven carries for 73 yards and a score.
Fly credited the defense for not giving up another score after the opening quarter.
He completed 15 of 30 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown and had 11 carries for 36 yards and a score.
Prince caught two passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Green said coaches gave players a stern talk at the half and emphasized they needed to go make plays in order to win the game.
“Give our kids all the credit,” he said. “We’ve been in dome tussles, and the kids are battle tested. We got back in it and got a lot of momentum.”
Llano now faces Corpus Christi West Oso at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at Alamo Stadium, 760 Stadium Drive in San Antonio.