Llano catches physical Liberty Hill in district opener
October 10, 2012, 8:00 am by Mark Goodson
By Mark Goodson
LCJ Sports Editor
Llano will get an opportunity to face one of the powerhouses in Class 3A Central Texas football Friday when the Yellow Jackets open District 8-3A with the Liberty Hill Panthers.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Llano Stadium in a matchup against the run-oriented Panthers. The Panthers are averaging 52 points and 427 yards rushing a game out of their wing-T formation that stresses trap blocking and quick hitting plays.
Two backs -- Jesse Perez an Corey Ferrell -- have racked up most of the Panthers yards in a 4-1 start on the season for the Panthers, who have advanced to the playoffs nine of the past 11 years and won two state titles under coach Jerry Vance.
"I’m pretty old and I don’t chance much,’’ said Vance. "That’s what we do is, get your knuckles in the ground and play football.’’
Llano first-year head coach Craig Slaughter has fielded a competitive team for the Jackets this season and they have shown an aggressive style in a 2-3 start. All three losses have been close games.
"We always have a tough time when we come to Llano,’’ Vance said. "We’ve been impressed with Llano. They have some good numbers and they are doing some good things.’’
Both teams have played Wimberley. Llano lost the season opener to the Texans, 27-26, in a game the Yellow Jackets held their own against the defending state champs.
Liberty Hill beat Wimberley 46-24 in its final tune up for Distirct 8-3A play on Sept. 28. That game was 6-3 at halftime before the Panthers rolled in the second half.
"I don’t think you can say we are 40 points better than somebody by what happened in the Wimberley game,’’ Vance said.
Liberty Hill goes into the District 8-3A opener projected as one of the favorites in a tough district. Gatesville is the only unbeaten team. Liberty Hill’s only loss is 32-29 to Giddings in its opener.
Since that loss, the Panthers have reeled off wins over Hondo 61-16, Smithville 49-13, Rockdale 76-35 and Wimberley 46-24.
Llano’s big weapons this season have been Rhett Brooks at running back and a slew of receivers for quarterback Lathan Rabb. Brooks is averaging five yards a carry and 12 yards a reception.
The top receivers are Brooks, Wil Siegenthaler, Deven Mayne, Isaac Hutto, Matt Center and Allen Lucas.Llano’s victories are 50-23 over Bangs and 39-26 over Bandera. The losses for the Yellow Jackets are 27-26 to Wimberley, 35-27 to Boerne and 14-6 to Fredericksburg.
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