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Burnet displays its comfort, comprehension during victories

CAPTION: Colt Stanford makes this reception with plenty of room to run for a big gain during the win against Mason June 5. Photo by Briley Mitchell/Dust Devil Diver Photography

The Burnet High School 7-on-7 football team went 1-2 at the Brownwood State Qualifying Tournament June 3.

The Bulldogs defeated San Angelo Lakeview and lost to Glen Rose and Brownwood.

“Our kids responded really well after Brownwood,” offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Tyler McIntosh said. “We came out and responded in the next two. We stuck with it and trusted the process and trusted what we’re doing.”

The Bulldogs played three contests at Llano June 5 and applied what they learned. They arrived mentally and physically ready, which always is a big key because of the speed of 7 on 7. It is more offensive friendly because of the speed and tempo.

As a result, the Bulldogs beat Kerrville Tivy, Llano and Mason. And they did it with some of their veterans gone on vacations and camps.

“It was a big night in Llano,” McIntosh said. “To see our guys respond without some of our main guys not there is huge. Seeing our other guys get out there, and they’re stepping up in those roles is great.”

One player, senior Grant Jones, is filling the role of an experienced and wise veteran. In most games during the 2022 fall season, Jones was easily the best player in game, no matter the sideline. It’s one reason why he is not a candidate to be the starting quarterback in 2023. Simply he fills many roles for the Bulldogs.

And his value is enormous, McIntosh said, noting Jones, who’ll be a three-year lettermen, has been making plays, encouraging his teammates and sharing insight and ways to better remember the playbook. Jones has added mentor to his contributions to the program and is talking to Rhett Murray and Marcus Pimentel, the two juniors vying for starting quarterback.

“It really helps that Grant has been playing wide receiver,” McIntosh said. “He’s an outlet for those guys to pick his brain. We have a few key guys who are juniors, and they’re soaking it up.”

McIntosh said he’s enjoyed watching the two quarterbacks grow during the last three months as the Bulldogs made a final push during the school year to max out in the weight room, build rapport and bond together, and better understand how they can help the program meet its goals. And the coordinator feels more encouraged after each 7-on-7 contest.

“It would be awesome to have a junior at the helm for two years,” McIntosh said. “Both are throwing the ball really well, (Quarterbacks coach Colton) Brewer and (head coach Bryan) Wood are doing a great job getting them caught up. The growth has been awesome to see. They’re competing with each other, they’re putting pressure on each other.”

The two quarterbacks have strong lines of communication with Brewer and Wood, McIntosh added, as they talk about the plays they feel the most comfortable in, which demonstrates how much they’re retaining from the playbook.

“It’s a healthy competition that’s been good for us,” the coordinator said. “I can’t give enough credit to coach Brewer and coach Wood. Those guys are more vocal leaders. It gets them talking in the huddle and on the sideline. They’re not scared to ask. They’re sponges right now. They’re soaking it up.”

As for his own position — offensive line — McIntosh believes the Bulldogs will benefit greatly from what happened to 2022. Three sophomores who’ll be juniors in 2023 — Colt Johnson, Johnathan Ryder and Brandon Westbrook — were thrust into the starting lineup because of injuries to seniors who have since graduated.

“Those guys have done a great job of owning that role,” he said. “I’m expecting those guys to be the leaders upfront. We’ll be younger but more experienced. You’ll see that in our roster. Guys have been in that fire already. I think that it helps us the camaraderie the guys are building; it’s awesome to watch. This is my fifth year here, and I feel good about the changes. I feel like we’re continuously taking steps. We’re rocking and rolling. I’m excited to see where Bulldog football is going. It’s been exciting.”

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