STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Llano High School football season ended Nov. 23 in a 62-31 loss to Corpus Christi West Oso in the area round of the playoffs.
The Yellow Jackets concluded their most successful season in a decade, almost matching the 2008 team’s win total. That squad won eight games and reached the area round of the playoffs.
This year’s squad earned an overall record of 7-5 and a bi-district championship and took Wimberley to overtime in a District 13-4A Division II contest before falling 31-24. The Jackets finished district at 3-2.
“I’m proud of those seniors. I’m proud of our team,” Llano head coach Matt Green said after the game Nov. 23. “We have a lot of good football players, and the seniors have laid a strong foundation. I think those seniors deserve a ton of credit.”
When the game against West Oso of District 15-4A Division II began, it certainly didn’t appear to be headed in the direction in which it ended.
The Jackets started the contest’s opening drive on their 25 and used a heavy dose of senior running back Mason Brooks. Of the 17 plays in the drive, he ran with the football nine times for 49 yards and caught a pass from senior quarterback Cade Fly for 13 yards. But the drive sputtered, forcing the Yellow Jackets to settle for a 20-yard Diego Miguel field goal and a 3-0 lead.
In response, the West Oso Bears (8-4, 3-2) only needed three plays to take the lead on their first drive. After a dropped pass, junior quarterback Malachi Flores hit senior receiver Craig Clemons on a 57-yard bomb to land deep in Yellow Jackets’ territory. Then, Flores found junior receiver Dominique Baker for a 17-yard touchdown and a 14-3 advantage.
Llano answered when Fly connected with senior receiver Brooks Keele for a 74-yard touchdown to trim the deficit t0 14-10.
West Oso, however, returned the favor, this time with Flores capping off a drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jose Hernandez to stretch the lead to 21-10.
The Bears punt return team blocked a Llano punt, which Hernandez picked up inside the Jackets 5-yard line and returned for a touchdown, giving West Oso a 28-10 lead.
Though Llano answered with a touchdown, the Bears took control of the game.
“We had our chances in the first half,” Green said. “That blocked punt hurt really, really bad. We had our chances to score and had our chances to stop them. It just wasn’t enough.”
Fly completed 14 of 27 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a 2-yard score.
Keele caught four passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns, including a 16-yard pass where he leapt and snatched the ball away from the defender in midair.
Brooks finished with 24 carries for 141 yards and a touchdown.
For West Oso, Flores accounted for almost 300 yards passing and four touchdowns and 50 yards rushing and two scores.
“Give (West Oso) credit,” Green added. “They have tremendous speed and could cover the field everywhere. They were able to create running lanes.”