Nov 26 2015
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Wimberley’s 24-0 punishment of Llano, October 9, reminded me of going to games with my dad when I was nine or 10, and our team was losing.
“Didn’t you tell me we were going to win? That they are oh-and-six?” I would also ask in a whining voice, “Can we catch up?”
He was as mad as I was, but he had to remain the mature adult—not that I knew what the word meant. His stoic response was no comfort.
Jackets’ head coach Craig Slaughter had told me and others the winless Texans had played a tough schedule.
I didn’t need the coach’s warning for me not to count out two-time state champion Wimberley, which played like a superb violinist or middleweight contender: delicate, but productive moves across the strings or jabs to the body and face. No crescendo; no knockout; but productivity.
“Running game was the difference,” Slaughter said. “Their success and our lack of.” The statistics support that ominous observation. 219 yards on the ground for Wimberley—the majority by talented RB Hunter Williams—and 65 for Llano. Mason Greenwood, certainly not getting the blocking anyone would want, gained 10 yards on nine carries. Lytle, though, beware.
“We have to play very sharp to make stops and move the ball,” was the coach’s analysis.
An excellent kickoff return set the Texans up for a 49-yard drive, and after a minute-27 Wimberley had put all the groceries it would need in the basket. Davin Masur passed 37 yards to Colby Crowder for the quick score. Masur would throw three touchdown passes.
Texans’ offensive line coach Dane Saucier, a 1990 graduate of LHS, told me, concerning the 0-6 start, “I’ve been on both ends of the perspective. On Saturday {October 3}, we had on the board ‘0-6.’ We erased it and put ‘0-0’ ”. The visit to Llano Stadium was the district opener. (One week before, Dane’s dad, James, was inducted into the Llano High School Hall of Fame.)
It was 10-0 after a quarter, and the Jackets got nothing done except a 24-yard pass from Ben Walling to Mat Agee—one of two completions in the game. Ben did have a good night on the ground with 48 yards on seven carries.
If you are about to give this story two more paragraphs before you go to the History page, please understand, “The defense did really well,” insisted Slaughter. “I’m proud of that group.”
“The kids played hard,” added defensive coordinator Clint Easley. “They show up every day, and they do what we asked of them.”
Wyatt Bauman received a team-high 25 points on the coaches’ defensive grading scale, with Ian Fletcher and Ray Dixon collecting 22 each.
The highlight—possibly of the 48 minutes—was John Heflin’s block of a punt, and Llano had the ball on the Wimberley 31 with 8:23 remaining in the half.
Airon Layton ran 11 yards to the 16, and the Jackets eventually faced a fourth-and-two at the eight. Walling dropped the snap, and the key drive of the frustrating encounter was shut down. “Huge possession,” said Slaughter. “Keeps you in the game longer; dropped snap—that was it.”
Midway through the third quarter, it was Masur to Matt Mitchell over the middle—the definitive post pattern—and it was a 23-yard TD.
“I’m proud of my guys,” stated Texans’ six-year defensive coach, Shawn Cockerham. “They needed it for sure.”
Cockerham, like Saucier, has Jacket ties. “I learned how to coach football in Llano {1993-2004}. Bittersweet coming here. Very strange.” He and wife Niki have two daughters in the LISD, but freshman son, Jake, is a Texans’ running back.
One more Masur-Crowder connection for 34 yards in the fourth quarter ended the scoring.
This is Llano’s bye week. “We’ve been going since early August,” declared Slaughter. “Hope it is a good time {for the break}.”
Lytle hosts the Jackets, October 23. The Pirates, like the Jackets, are 2-5, losing to Navarro, October 9, 70-0.
No way a reporter will take anyone lightly anymore. It just took 60 years or so to learn that.