CAPTION: Running the football will be a key component for the Burnet and Marble Falls football game this week. Photo by Grace Gates/Luedecke Photography
Welcome to this weekly column where readers will find a summary of sports across the region and the impressions left on this writer.
The separation between the good and the great continues. And that is especially true in other sports that aren’t played on the gridiron, which we’ll examine this week. But we must start with football since this is a week circled on the calendars of many Burnet County residents.
- It’s officially the week of the Burnet County Super Bowl. The Burnet Bulldogs will make the short trek to Marble Falls’ Mustang Stadium for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday, Oct. 14. Both teams are entering this contest after losing their District 13-4A Division I openers. Since I was at Bulldog Field to cover Burnet’s loss to Lampasas, let’s start in north Burnet County. Defensively, the Bulldogs played extremely well. They trailed 3-0 at the half and forced the Badgers to punt, a miss a field goal, throw an interception, and turn the ball over on downs. But the Badgers simply wore down the Bulldogs in the second half. That was apparent in the time of possession. Lampasas had the ball for 30 minutes and 32 seconds, while Burnet had it for 17:28. Each team had 10 possessions. Burnet had five punts, an interception, two turnovers on downs, a touchdown and had the ball with five seconds left in the first half. Burnet head coach Bryan Wood thought the team that could run the football would win the game, and he was right. The Badgers rushed for 185 yards to Burnet’s 13.
- Marble Falls gave up 42 unanswered points to Canyon Lake. The Hawks began the contest with spread formations but after Marble Falls took a 7-0 lead, Canyon Lake went back to what it knows best — its slot-T offense. Led by senior Helijah Johnson, Canyon Lake had 43 rushes for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson had 11 carries for 157 yards and three scores, averaging a scorching 14.3 yards per carry. He also threw a touchdown pass for 51 yards and moved up on ballot as the district’s most valuable player.
- So all that is to state simply the winner of the Burnet County Showdown will be the team that can run the football. And no group of players is more excited by that than the linemen. Let me make this clear. Much is on the line for these teams. The winner remains on track for the playoffs, and I believe the loser will play for pride the rest of the season. Comal Davenport and Canyon Lake will take two playoff spots. Lampasas beating Burnet put the Badgers in position for the postseason. Davenport and Canyon Lake will meet Friday to see which team remains unbeaten in district play, and Lampasas welcomes Taylor, which lost to Davenport 32-29. So let’s see whose strength-and-conditioning program is better — the one in Marble Falls or the one in Burnet. Let’s see which unit can force its will on the other. Let’s see who still has the drive and belief they can make reach their goals. Those answers will come Friday.
- Let’s stay in Burnet County and talk a little six-man football beginning with the Faith Academy Flames. Faith hit the road to visit Waco Live Oak Classical, the program that beat the Flames for a state title last year. The Flames showed what they had been working on for two weeks during their 54-36 victory: a new defensive scheme and new offensive formations. But most importantly, coaches emphasized having fun while playing. That was the biggest difference, according to head coach Stephen Shipley. Now Faith gets ready for a homecoming contest and district home opener against Round Rock Concordia at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14.
- The Smoking For Jesus Eagles earned their second win of the season, a 45-0 mercy-rule win against Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills, to snap a three-game losing streak. The Eagles have endured much and will now completely focus on getting a good seed for the playoffs of the Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organizations. The last three games are all at home beginning with the 7 p.m. kickoff Friday, Oct. 14, against Austin St. Stephens.
- The Llano Yellow Jackets (7-0, 3-0 District 13-3A Division I) dug deep in capturing a 21-14 road win at Universal City Randolph. It took the Jackets 47 minutes to get the lead and keep it. As always the powerful running game propelled the victory where Llano had 51 rushes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Briggs Green completed 11 of 21 passes for 198 yards and a score without an interception. Llano captured the first of a three-game difficult stretch. Next up is a home game against Marion (4-2, 1-1), which overwhelmed Blanco 48-7, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14.
- Let’s hand out some game balls. The first to Faith Academy junior Cross Sanchez, who accounted for five touchdowns during the win against Waco Live Oak: two rushing, two receiving and a passing score. Sanchez played the way Shipley thought he could and was easily the best player on the field.
- To Llano senior running back Carson Kuykendall who had 29 carries for 154 yards and two touchdowns during the win at Randolph. Kuykendall has rushed for 1,045 yards and 16 touchdowns on 139 carries so far this season. He told me that after he gets 1,000 yards, he was taking the offensive line out for pancakes. I invited myself to attend, so Carson, I’m waiting for instructions on where, when and what time.
- The District 24-4A volleyball race hasn’t surprised me. The Burnet Lady Dawgs are undefeated and alone at the top. The Lady Dawgs’ depth is something to behold. They’ll get another test when they welcome Lago Vista to The Doghouse at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, to begin the second round of district play. Meanwhile, Marble Falls hosts Jarrell in a rematch of a five-set thriller on the same night at 6:30 p.m.
- The District 24-4A cross country meet is at Marble Falls High School Monday, Oct. 10, starting with the girls varsity race at 9 a.m. and the boys varsity at 9:30 a.m. Burnet senior Hudson Bennett is the favorite to win the boys race and Burnet freshman Asah Roy is among the favorites in the girls race. I’m curious to see how these races play out.
- And congrats to the Marble Falls and Burnet high school tennis teams for advancing to the team tennis playoffs. The Mustangs finished third in District 19-4A and will face Caldwell at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at Georgetown East View. Burnet finished second and will face Cameron Yoe.
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