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Ten Highland Lakes Sports Insights

Welcome to this weekly column where readers will find a summary of sports across the region and the impressions left on this writer.

  1. Though summer strength-and-conditioning sessions aren’t scheduled to start for a few more days at University Interscholastic League schools, high school athletes aren’t resting. That was apparent at Bulldog Field when quarterbacks were working on pass routes. Burnet will have a new starting quarterback in 2022, senior Taylor O’Hair, who has taken most of the snaps during 7-on-7 play. O’Hair and the other quarterbacks are showing the commitment baseball and softball coaches have said about pitchers — it’s important they throw every day. The fact Burnet quarterbacks are working on their craft when there aren’t sessions called by coaches speaks volumes about the mindset of the athletes who play the most important position in all of sports. It would do the rest of District 13-4A Division I members to take note, too.
  2. Speaking of Burnet quarterbacks, head coach Bryan Wood announced two new hires to his staff. And in a surprise move, he hired a new quarterbacks coach, Colton Brewer, which means Wood will not be the quarterback coach for the first time since 1999. He also hired Trevor Couch, someone he worked with when the two were on the Shallowater High School staff, to be the Bulldogs receivers coach. Those hires were made after some staff members resigned to pursue other opportunities that will help their careers. While it was tough for Wood to say farewell to the departures, he was truly excited about the new additions to the staff.
  3. Two Burnet coaches who remain are the coordinators: Tyler McIntosh on the offensive side and Ben Speer on the defensive side. Both were walking the sidelines of competitions in Burnet May 28. Speer was at Bulldog Field observing the 7-on-7 state qualifying tournament, while McIntosh was next door directing the lineman challenge. I’ve said plenty about 7-on-7, which allows the football skill players to shine. Let’s take a moment to talk about the Bulldog linemen. McIntosh, who also serves as the offensive line coach, noted Burnet will have three seniors expected to provide leadership for the others: center Cameron Stires, who will anchor the line, Kaleb Maynard and Jesse Bachmayer, who is the left tackle. Other senior linemen include Knox Ward and Dalton Orrison. The Bulldogs had a dozen players compete in the lineman challenge, which says a lot about their commitment.
  4. Also competing in the Burnet lineman challenge were six Marble Falls Mustangs led by senior Bryan Beltran and junior Jeremiah Bales that helped the team finish third overall in the competition. Those two are putting in the time and effort to get stronger and faster. Bales might be the strongest lineman in the program and has been attending different football camps throughout the state with the aim of landing a scholarship. He visited Hardin-Simmons University and Texas State University recently.
  5. The Mustangs have gotten stronger, but the linemen aren’t the only ones to have positive weight gains in the weight room. Offensive line coach Robert Draper noted 17 are members of the 1,000-Pound Club while another 20 are within 100 pounds of joining. Players’ lifted weights in the bench incline, bench press, squat and power clean are added together. If it totals 1,000 pounds, that player is in the club. The other impressive stat? Coaches tested 95 football players, which is a solid number of athletes in the program.
  6. The Mustangs aren’t the only football program that has numerous players in the 1,000-Pound Club. Llano High School also has that many with 78 players. That’s an astonishing number considering the Yellow Jackets have fewer athletes. Still, that illustrates what head coach Matt Green said about his athletes — they love the weight room and have spent significant time in it without coaches having to remind them to do so.
  7. The Jackets will have a new quarterback in 2022. The two battling for the position are junior Briggs Green, the coach’s son, and senior Bryce Mize. If the younger Green wins the job, he will follow older brother Maddox Green, who was the starting quarterback in 2021. The last time a head coach had two sons who started at quarterback in back-to-back seasons? That was at Marble Falls when Cord Woerner was the head coach and oldest son Thor Woerner played the position until he graduated in 2009. Younger brother Zed Woerner followed for the next three seasons. One promise that Thor asked Zed to make was to take the Mustangs to the playoffs, which the younger Woerner fulfilled during the 2010 season. The Greens have already taken Llano to the playoffs. I’m curious to see what the Jackets accomplish in 2022.
  8. The Llano Lady Jackets will have a new girls athletics coordinator and head basketball coach during the 2022-23 school year. It’s Jay Parker, who will also serve as the head cross country coach and spent the last four years at Shallowater High School. What’s interesting is the local connection. Parker was on the Shallowater girls staff when Burnet’s Bryan Wood was on the boys staff. Wood strongly recommended Parker to Green, who also serves as the Llano Independent School District athletics director. And Wood should know Parker well considering Kami Wood, his daughter, was on the Lady Fillies team with Paige Parker, the coach’s daughter. Both families got to know each other and seem to have a friendship still intact. Both Green and Wood were looking forward to the Parkers moving to the Highland Lakes and they believe the Lady Jackets are in great hands.
  9. The Smoking for Jesus Ministry School football team already started its summer strength-and-conditioning workouts as the Eagles are looking to win their third consecutive private schools state title. A change in leagues might make the competition more fierce. But as always, the Eagles are showing very few teams will outwork them. And there hasn’t been an opponent more prepared than the Eagles.
  10. Texas Tech University head football coach Joey McGuire was the guest speaker at the most recent Rudy Davalos Horseshoe Bay Sports Club gathering May 26. Listening to McGuire speak reinforced what high school coaches across the state said about him: he will lock down the state of Texas in recruiting because of his personality and his reputation as being an honest individual who stands by his word. McGuire made a promise to the Texas Tech family during his talk; the Red Raiders will be very proud of what they see on the field each week and they’ll never question how hard the athletes are playing. Needless to say, the Big 12 just got a whole lot more interesting.

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