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Burnet and Llano mirror each other in talent and scheme

CAPTION: Burnet junior Grant Jones and the Bulldogs look to continue a winning streak over Llano dating back two decades. But the Yellow Jackets are motivated to rewrite history. Photo Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

The game of the week in the Highland Lakes will be played at 400 Texas 71 East in Llano.

That’s where the Burnet Bulldogs will be headed to meet the Yellow Jackets on their home turf at Llano Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2.

This game is the first between the two teams since 2017. The Bulldogs (1-0, District 13-4A Division I) have a 13-game winning streak dating back to the late 1990s. But this Yellow Jackets team (1-0, District 13-3A Division I) has the tools to end that streak thanks to having 19 starters back from a squad that has won back-to-back district titles and numerous playoff games.

In short, the two teams will bring the best out of each other as they operate out of similar looking offenses that allow their playmakers to shine.

Offensively, Burnet is led by senior quarterback Tanner O’Hair who operates out of the spread offense. At his disposal is a treasure trove full of talent: running backs Dash Denton, a junior, and Jose Rodriguez, a senior, receivers Braden Ellett-Clark, a senior, and Will Johnson, Grant Jones, Garner Krause and Trenton Park, who are all juniors.

Providing the protection are offensive linemen Johnathan Ryder, a sophomore, Tyson Trim, a junior, and Jose Lopez, Kaleb Maynard, Cameron Stires and Knox Ward, who are seniors. During the win against La Vernia, the Bulldogs racked up 368 yards of total offense with 206 of it in the air. O’Hair found Ellett-Clark on six passes for 113 yards and a score.

The Jackets will counter with senior defensive end Jaxon Wray, who had four tackles, two for loss, in the win against Jarrell;, junior lineman Fitz Kennedy, who had three tackles and three sacks; senior linebacker Ricky de la Torre, who had four tackles and three sacks; and senior defensive backs Isaiah Bush, who had four tackles and blocked an extra point, and Ulisses Martinez, who had an interception and a tackle.

Llano has a new starting quarterback this season, junior Briggs Green, the son of head coach Matt Green, who started his sixth year wearing the orange and black. During the 48-26 win against Jarrell Aug. 26, the younger Green completed 12 of 17 passes for 127 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He has a quarterback’s best friend – an explosive running game thanks to linemen Ross Edwards, Branen Green, Hudson Godfrey, Jaxon “Juice” Lange and Daniel Sandoval, who are all seniors, and junior Dylan Kennedy. 

The elder Green calls the offensive line a weapon, adding they can open holes for the runners and have enough chemistry to know who to block and when. They also yell blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage.

Senior running backs Miguel Hernandez had 17 carries for 149 yards and Carson Kuykendall had 22 rushes for 225 yards and five touchdowns during the win against Jarrell. Senior receiver Ross Prokop caught three passes for 67 yards, while senior receiver Jackson Dillard had two receptions for 25 yards. Junior running back Parker Parrish had one catch for 28 yards, and Hernandez had one reception for 7 yards.

The Bulldogs’ defense is led by linebackers Denton, Johnson and Park, who desire to shoot into gaps and get to the ball carrier before he can get through the line of scrimmage. Equally good are reserves Khris Kassner, a sophomore, and Johnson and Park. Behind the front seven are defensive backs Lew Laidler, a sophomore, Gibert Valdez, a junior, Moses De Luna and Anthony Perez, both seniors, Ellett-Clark and Jones.

Against La Vernia, Park had 12 tackles, while Laidler recorded nine and four others had six apiece. Senior linebacker Grayson Blair had a sack and Valdez caught an interception and had a pass breakup.

Llano senior linebacker Hayden Manahan (40) and the Yellow Jackets will bring pressure to the Burnet offense with the aim of causing disruption throughout the contest. Photo by Briley Mitchell/Dirt Devil Photography

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