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Llano’s defense leads the way to wins at Burnet 7-on-7 state qualifying tournament

The Llano High School 7-on-7 team posted a 2-1 record at the Burnet state qualifying tournament May 28.

The Yellow Jackets defeated Brownwood 12-6 and Somerset 15-13 before losing to Lorena 19-6.

Lorena won the pool and beat Gatesville 27-0 in the championship to earn the automatic bid to the state tournament.

“We were in a tough pool, they were very competitive,” Llano head coach Matt Green said. “We were against some very, very tough competition against Class 4A programs. I was impressed with our kids. I was proud of our kids. Our kids had to win games that went down to the wire.”

Llano had to come from behind to beat Brownwood, which led 6-0 at the half. The Jackets reached the red zone twice in the first half and were unable to score. Meanwhile, the Llano defense didn’t blink as it forced turnovers on downs, too. The Lions finally got on the board on their final possession of the first half. Brownwood already had qualified for the state tournament, and Green was happy to see his team defeat his alma mater.

Against Somerset, an interception returned for a touchdown by Braeden Hatfield on the last play of regulation forced overtime. Two overtimes were needed to decide the winner. Lorena completed short passes in the middle of the field to meticulously move the ball down field.

Green noted the Jackets defense played consistently throughout pool play.

“I thought our defense played extremely well,” he said. “We have athletic linebackers and a lot of teams don’t always play their real linebackers. They usually put secondary players there who are quicker and have more speed. We played with our linebackers. Our linebackers are pretty athletic. They do a good job of rotating stuff. Our cornerbacks and safeties are talented, they are fast. They have great ball skills, and they’re tough. I really like our rotations. Our defense played solid.”

Overall, Green was pleased with what he saw throughout the tournament.

“We found a way to win two good games,” Green said. “I believe in our kids. Our pool was a very difficult pool. I was concerned about how we’d do. That’s what makes me the most happy.”

Llano travels to play in the Jourdanton state qualifying tournament Saturday, June 4. The Jackets face Class 4A members Wimberley, Lago Vista and Pleasanton in pool play.

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