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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. This summer has been anything but lazy for several sports throughout the Highland Lakes. While 7-on-7 football and basketball have consistently had summer play for years. other sports are stepping up to provide those same opportunities to their athletes. Case in point is a new version of 7-on-7 but for futbol or soccer, as it’s known in the U.S. Soccer fans are welcome to Mustang Stadium each Tuesday at 5 p.m. to enjoy this shortened version of the beautiful game that features area high school teams consisting of boys and girls. The 100-yard field is divided in half, which means contests are happening on both ends. Games are either four 10-minute quarters or two 20-minute halves. Then the teams switch ends. Area coaches credit Lady Mustangs head coach Abigail Blunt for creating this version of soccer.
  2. The same holds true for volleyball players. Thanks to Lady Mustangs head coach Kait Goertz, Marble Falls Middle School is the venue for volleyball featuring several area high schools including Burnet, Marble Falls and Llano. I had a chance to stop in Wednesday night and observe. The team that stood out to me were the Lady Dawgs, who were running combinations throughout their lineup. The defending district champs who advanced all the way to the Class 4A Region III tournament simply confirmed what I already knew. District opponents who want what Burnet has must take it from them. The Lady Dawgs aren’t giving anything away.
  3. Here are the results of the Burnet football 7-on-7 team at the Brownwood State Qualifying Tournament June 4. The Bulldogs lost to Brownwood 22-19, Jim Ned 13-7 and Wichita Falls 33-0. Wichita Falls won the pool and the tournament to automatically qualify for the state tournament.
  4. Then the Bulldogs 7-on-7 teams began play in the Georgetown Monday League. The varsity beat Georgetown East View but lost a close game to Georgetown High. The junior varsity earned wins against Liberty Hill and Salado.
  5. Burnet coaches are happy with the number of athletes making their way to Bulldog Field and the weight room for voluntary summer strength-and-conditioning sessions that start at 8 a.m. The girls, who drew 55 on the first day, start their workouts on the turf where they go through conditioning workouts, while the boys are in the weight room. About 45 minutes later, they switch venues. Bulldog coaches are reporting the average number of boys attending is 115, an incredible figure that illustrates commitment and dedication.
  6. While Marble Falls football coaches were thrilled with the number of players attending voluntary lifting sessions before and after school, most living in south Burnet County are wondering if the Mustangs can keep those high numbers for the voluntary summer strength-and-conditioning program that begins Monday, June 13. The positive gains made during the offseason are thrilling. And the work continues during the summer. What impressed me the most about the Mustangs is they seemed to understand that wins are earned in the offseason when fans aren’t around to see the work. The question is do the Mustangs believe that to be true in June and July? Like you, I look forward to the answer.
  7. One of the best six-man teams in the state will be in action Friday. That’s the Smoking For Jesus Ministry School Eagles who are seeking their third consecutive state title in 2022. Head coach Charles Frazier, Sr. has bulked the schedule to better prepare his players during the season. So far the Eagles seem up to the challenge, but fans can judge for themselves at 5 p.m. at the Smoking For Jesus campus when the Temple Ball County Angels pay a visit to play a game of 6-on-6, six-man’s version of 7-on-7.
  8. Llano head coach Matt Green gave an in-depth look at the 2022 Yellow Jackets. In short, there’s plenty to be excited about, especially from the number of returners and starters to the positions that are projected to be the most improved. The one position that may need some time is quarterback since Llano will have a new starter in 2022. Still, if the Jackets can protect and make plays for the quarterback, everyone else should look out. There’s every reason to believe 2022 will be give fans plenty of awesome memories just like the 2020 squad.
  9. People close to me know a favorite quote is from Mark Twain, “The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.” That’s what happened to 2018 Burnet graduate Marissa Escamilla. Marissa was a standout basketball player who signed a scholarship to play for Tarleton State University. But injuries made her examine what was best for her. After four years, she hung up her high-tops to become a pro in something else. I wish her well on her next endeavor and know she’ll be very successful.
  10. Another favorite story this week was on Dr. Stephanie Thompson, a Marble Falls High School athletic trainer who earned her Doctor of Athletic Training. This also was another milestone and another testament to sticking to a goal. Congratulations Dr. Thompson. Here’s hoping others are inspired by your story, too.

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