Llano Texas sports, schools, information and much, much more.

Your single source for all in info you need for Llano Texas in the Texas Hill Country!

Llano Texas sports, schools, information and much, much more.

Your single source for all in info you need for Llano Texas in the Texas Hill Country!

August 4, 2009

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Play to Win Archives








Play To Win

By Mikel R. Virdell…recording the history of the Fighting Llano Yellowjackets since 1973.

Play to Win begins its’ 37th year either in newspaper print, or as many of you know, the last 5 years on the internet only.  To many of you I will e-mail the text on Sunday or Monday of each week.  Others pick it up off the web-site.

This year 2009 marks the 100th year of Yellowjacket football, according to Garp.  Today, my records go back only to 1913.  I’ve been told Llano played first, in 1909!  So my excitement means more records to be added.  My records show that Llano is 431 wins, 402 losses, and 45 ties.  If Llano did play from 1909 to 1912, then we will add those results to these totals.  My records have never been complete.  Just running totals!

For example, George Fraser, arguably the top fullback in LHS History, gained over 1,800 yards his senior year.  George played four years at Texas Tech University, and is in the LHS Hall of Fame.  But, what happened in his junior year?  We’re still looking.

I have spoken the LHS Hall of Famer Leroy Feinstemaker.  Rice University great and "the quarterback who beat Texas”.  Leroy said that it was in the mid to late 1950s’ before anyone started to keep records.  Records were thought to be a selfish endeavor, and no one would have thought about keeping up with their own passing or rushing statistics.  In a way, that is quiet remarkable as compared to todays thought process.  It is even foreign to me.

When I moved back to Llano in 1973, Hal Cunningham, owner of The Llano News asked me if I would help with the game coverage of the Jackets.  It worked great for many years.  Hal loved to be on the sidelines and take pictures.  I loved being in the press box keeping up with the yards and yardsticks.  But in those days, there were no computers, or even places for the stats to be recorded.  For years, I kept them in a single file, year by year.  But what tweaked my passion was when John Overstreet, and Kevin Fain, and Greg Joy, and Shelby Wright started having rushing and passing stats that were of interest to others.

Coach Ken Gray had taken Llano to the third round of the State play-offs in 1973.  In his three years as LHS Head Coach, Gray lost only one district game, two play-off years out of three.  Llano had never accomplished this feat before.  And most remarkable is the fact that in those days, only the district champion went to the play-offs.  Then along came Coach John Baskin. Coach Baskin was a coach that liked to throw the football as much as he liked the run.  It was fun, Llano won, and statistics became more interesting.

So the evolving of Llano football has been more enjoyable to me than most.   One person called me obsessed.  Obsessed to me is doing only one thing all the time.  I do lots of things, but in football season, I watch Llano Yellowjacket football.  In 37 years, I have missed four games.  I sometimes think more about those four I missed than the 400 plus games I’ve attended.  If I were obsessed, I’d never have missed those four games.

There is only one person in Llano that has missed less football games than I.  And that person is ??????  I’ll let you guess.  And next week I’ll reveal the one person who has missed only two games over the past 28 years!!!

So, for now, let the season begin.  Two-a-days began Monday.  Llano’s first scrimmage is August 15th, Sonora here.  And we have all kinds of things to talk about.  Who will be the starting quarterback?  Can the tandem of Maples and Aviles even come close to the 2,400 yards they compiled in 2008?  Can the new Jacket defense with more of a 4-3 look put pressure on the high powered offenses the Jackets play in 2009?  And what do you do about the 6 teams that the Jackets play this season that all made the play-offs in 2008? 

It’s going to be fun, and I’ll help you keep up with it right here with Play to Win.

E-mail me with your thoughts and comments.


Mikel Virdell - LHS Class of 1968.