CAPTION: Burnet senior quarterback gets on the edge of the goal line during the Bulldogs’ win against La Vernia. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The Burnet High School football team earned an important 36-25 win against La Vernia Aug. 26 in front of a home crowd ready to see the Kelly green triumph.
“It’s awesome,” head coach Bryan Wood. “We get to come to work (Aug. 27) and feel good. We did some good stuff. But the most important thing is that when we had no momentum and had guys subbing, we found ways to get touchdowns back and get in step.”
And boy did they. The Bulldogs (1-0, District 13-4A Division I) raced to a 22-10 half-time lead. But the Bears (0-1, District 15-4A Division I) scored two quick touchdowns. One came from a Burnet fumble for a 25-22 advantage midway through the third quarter.
Then the Bulldogs got to work and scored the last two touchdowns, including a six-yard run by junior Grant Jones, who was the ball carrier in a wildcat formation, for the contest’s last touchdown. Jones also scored the two-point run that gave Burnet breathing room.
“When it comes down to it, if the running lanes are open, we’ll pound the ball,” he said. “We’ll get rolling and get in there. When we need big-time plays, you’ll see us go.”
He credited the offensive line and senior running back Jose Rodriguez for throwing a block off the edge that allowed him to waltz into the end zone.
“Our offensive line comes off the ball every down,” he said. “We’ll find ourselves in some ball games because of the line.”
What Wood saw from his players is the result of the offseason work summed up in one word – resiliency.
“You push them to their breaking point without breaking them,” he said. “I watched what our offense did the last 20 minutes. You want water and rest. But you have to find a way back in because your buddies need you to do it.”
Senior quarterback Tanner O’Hair completed 16 of 27 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Senior receiver Braden Ellett-Clark caught six passes for 113 yards and a score, while junior Trenton Park caught a one-yard touchdown. Junior receiver Garner Krause had 40 yards on three receptions including a touchdown.
Junior running back Dash Denton had six rushes for 24 yards and a touchdown. Rodriguez added 18 carries for 74 yards, and sophomore Lew Laidler had three carries for 48 yards.
Wood pointed out one big reason for his team’s win was its willingness to lean on its offensive line to get the run game going. It also helped that La Vernia was dropping six Bears into passing coverage and leaving five to stop the run. Wood said he and his coaches told the Bulldogs “they’re daring us to run.” And Burnet made the Bears pay.
“We needed to keep the ball away from them,” he said. “They were smashing us, and we were out of juice. We were able to do that back to them. We’re controlling the ball and gaining momentum. I told them at halftime, ‘They think they’re better than you.’ I thought our kids responded.”
Burnet will hit the road to face Llano at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, at Llano Stadium, 400 Texas 71 East. The Yellow Jackets (1-0 District 13-4A Division I) beat Jarrell 48-26.
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