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Burnet, Llano athletes make plays worthy of rivalry

CAPTION: The Burnet Bulldogs and the Llano Yellow Jackets battled each other and Mother Nature during a rain storm that highlighted the fourth quarter. The Jackets racked up more than 500 yards of total offense to preserve a one-score win. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

The Burnet and Llano high school football players treated fans to a memorable contest where both teams got the best out of each other.

In the end, the Yellow Jackets’ (2-0, District 13-3A Division I) depth and rushing attack were the difference in securing a 29-21 victory Sept. 2 against the Bulldogs (1-1, District 13-4A Division I).

“It felt like a playoff game,” Burnet head coach Bryan Wood said. “We ran out of juice, we ran out of bodies. I think both teams were completely exhausted. There were so many times the momentum was going Llano’s way, and our kids found a way to keep scratching.”

“They have a really good team, and Coach Wood is doing a good job,” Llano head coach Matt Green said. ‘We had our chances to run away from them and tribute to them, they didn’t let us. It was a back-and-forth game, and it was a huge win.”

Llano got the scoring going early thanks to a 26-yard touchdown throw to senior receiver Ross Prokop from junior quarterback Briggs Green. Senior kicker Bryce Mize added the point after for the 7-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first period.

Burnet senior quarterback Tanner O’Hair responded by finding junior receiver Grant Jones for a 53-yard touchdown pass. O’Hair added the extra point to tie the contest at 7-7.

After the two teams exchanged punts, Green and Prokop hooked up again, this time for a 52-yard score and a 13-7 lead headed into the second quarter.

Llano senior running back Miguel Hernandez, who rushed for 156 yards on 18 carries, weaved his way into the end zone from 25 yards out and a 20-7 advantage early in the second stanza.

O’Hair found Jones for a 20-yard touchdown then hit junior receiver Will Johnson for the two-point pass to trim the deficit to 20-15 midway through the second quarter.

Mize added a 28-yard field goal to give the Jackets a 23-15 half-time lead.

The Bulldogs struck immediately on their opening drive of the third period. O’Hair found Johnson on a 30-yard touchdown pass. The two-point play failed, so Llano led 23-21.

After a Jackets punt, Llano senior defensive back Caden Bauman caught an interception on Burnet’s 40-yard line.

Llano senior running back Carson Kuykendall and the offensive line punched it in from one yard to increase the Jackets’ lead to 29-21 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

The two teams exchanged turnovers midway through the second half and faced another opponent — Mother Nature — who sent rain during the final stanza.

Burnet had one more opportunity to tie the game with four minutes left in the contest, but the pass in the end zone went incomplete. Llano ran out the clock for the win.

Wood noted the Jackets had 90 offensive plays to the Bulldogs’ 53. But his players’ resiliency was on full display, too, he added. Burnet had 296 yards of total offense with 112 yards on the ground and 184 yards in the air. Senior running back Jose Rodriguez has 22 carries for 100 yards. O’Hair completed 9 of 21 passes for 184 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Jones caught 5 passes for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Johnson had 3 catches for 58 yards and a score.

Briggs Green completed 11 of 17 passes for 143 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception in the red zone and had 12 carries for 64 yards. Kuykendall had 29 rushes for 192 yards and a score. Prokop caught 3 passes for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns.

“As soon as we’d come off the field after an 18-to-20-play drive, we’d get a drink of water and get right back in on offense,” Wood said. “We were going to have to make more plays, and we had opportunities we kind of squandered. We had a couple of big penalties that cost us. We had some blown assignments. I thought offensively we had some chances to make plays we didn’t make. Every opportunity you have, you have to take advantage.”

Wood pointed out Llano has the pieces for another big run and season.

“That Llano team will play in December if everyone stays healthy,” Wood said. “They have 27 seniors and players who start on one side of the ball. They have some dudes.”

Burnet welcomes Brownwood at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, to Bulldog Field, 1400 Bulldog Stadium Drive. The Lions (1-1, District 2-4A Division I) defeated Marble Falls 55-16 Sept. 2.

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