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Llano football cruises to win against Luling

The Llano High School football team crushed Luling 53-13 Sept. 29 to go to 2-0 in District 13-3A Division I.

The Jackets (4-2) welcome Universal City Randolph at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at Llano Stadium. The Ro-Hawks (6-0, 2-0) beat Blanco 21-7 Sept. 29 and Marion 21-14 in overtime Sept. 22.

“It’s just fun to win,” head coach Matt Green said. “It’s not fun to lose, it’s fun to win. I don’t know how else to say it.”

Llano began having fun immediately. The Jackets overwhelmed the Eagles from the start, tackling them for a loss of two yards on their first offensive play and earning an intentional ground penalty on second own that resulted in the Jackets swarming Luling quarterback Kiegan Rizer for a safety on third down and a 2-0 lead.

“It was a mass of them in the end zone,” Green said. “A lot of bodies made that play.”

The Llano offense then trotted on the field and went on a 12-play, 55-yard scoring drive that ended when senior running back Dusty Miller scored from seven yards out. Freshman kicker Carlos Sapalu added the extra point for the 9-0 advantage.

After the Jacket defense forced Luling to punt, Miller ended the five-play, 38-yard scoring drive with a seven-yard touchdown run for a 15-0 advantage.

The Eagles got on the scoreboard when Rizer scored on an 81-yard zone read play.

But the Jackets answered immediately with a double reverse flea flicker that involved senior receiver Alex Kachura. Junior quarterback Colton Bailey got the ball back and hit a wide-open R.J. Coplin for the 20-yard touchdown and a 22-7 lead with 2 minutes and 39 seconds left in the first quarter.

Luling tried to answer with a 47-yard field goal attempt that was missed.

Llano didn’t have an issue. Once more the Jackets went 67 yards in seven plays highlighted by another Miller touchdown. This time it was from nine yards out for the 29-7 lead with 9:27 left in the half.

The Eagles fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Llano recovered on the Luling 25-yard line. On the second play, Bailey scored from 10 yards out for the 36-7 advantage.

Once more, Luling failed to field the kickoff, and Llano recovered. Senior running back Fitz Kennedy scored the touchdown for a 43-7 lead.

The scoring in the first half ended when Bailey found paydirt for a 50-7 advantage.

Because of the lopsided score, the only time the clock stopped was for an injury or a change of possession.

Luling began the second half with an onside kick. But it didn’t travel the necessary 10 yards, so the Eagles had to rekick. This time the Jackets got the ball on their own 42. Coaches instructed the Jackets to use as much of the play clock before snapping the ball. Therefore, the only score they had was a 35-yard field goal by Sapalu on the opening drive of the half.

In fact, Llano threw only one pass in the second half; the rest were running plays.

Meanwhile, Rizer scored on a 37-yard touchdown to end the contest.

“I thought we played well,” Green said. “I thought our kids played really well, and we competed in all phases.”

He complimented the play of linemen Parker Parrish, JJ Vaughn, Konrad Zwicke and center Billy Everhart, adding that Miller and junior running back Trey Mote took advantage of some outstanding blocking to gain positive yards throughout the contest.

“We had work to do to get up 9-0,” the coach said. “We mixed in a lot of kids.”

Junior running back Mote had 12 rushes for 79 yards, while senior running back Cooper McWilliams had 12 carries for 63 yards, and Miller had six rushes for 49 yards and three touchdowns.

Bailey had seven carries for 55 yards and two scores.

Coplin caught two passes for 30 yards and a touchdown, while Kachura had two receptions for 19 yards.

In all Llano had 44 rushes for 284 yards and six touchdowns and completed nine passes for 103 yards and a score.

He noted the defense played virtually error free.

“We made one mistake, and (Rizer) scored in the first half,” Green said.

He pointed out the Jackets were equally good in the kicking game thanks to recovering two fumbles on kickoffs and Sapalu’s field goad.

“Our freshman was outstanding,” he said. “A kicker can be a tremendous weapon. We continue to get better. If we want another district title, we have to get better. I thought we did. Iron sharpens iron. I’m proud of those guys.”

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