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Burnet football loses to La Vernia to begin the season

The Burnet High School football team lost to La Vernia 49-27 Aug. 25 to begin the 2023 season.

The Bulldogs (0-1) are preparing for Llano in the home opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at Bulldog Field.

“I think (the Bears) are truly a good team,” Burnet head coach Bryan Wood said. “I feel like we got taken to the wood shed. They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. We could never get into a rhythm offensively. Defensively, we couldn’t get off the field. They’re really big upfront. They’re much better than a year ago.”

La Vernia junior quarterback Keegan Hajek was the catalyst for much of what the Bears wanted to do. He threw a 27-yard touchdown, the first of five throwing scores. He completed 8 of 10 passes for 294 yards and had 10 rushes for 94 yards and a score. Senior receiver Colten Schmidt, who was as second team all-state selection in 2022, caught 6 passes for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Bears took a 7-0 lead that Burnet answered with a passing touchdown to senior Trenton Park from junior quarterback Rhett Murray that covered 9 yards to tie the contest at 7-7.

But La Vernia scored the next three touchdowns; two came on passes and the other was a Hajek 32-yard run for a 21-7 advantage at the half.

Burnet junior quarterback Marcus Pimentel found senior receiver Grant Jones for a 29-yard touchdown to trim the deficit to 28-14.

But Hajek and company responded with two touchdown passes of 31 yards and 74 yards. Junior receiver Logan Maytum made that 74-yard touchdown catch, his only reception of the contest.

The Bulldogs answered with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jones from Murray to trim the deficit to 42-21. The Bears added a five-yard score for the 49-21 victory.

“They reminded me of Fredericksburg or Canyon Lake,” Wood said. “We had 180-pound defensive linemen lining up against 260-pound offensive linemen. They remind me of Llano from a year ago: big upfront, controlled the line of scrimmage. They just played good. They were very, very explosive.”

Murray completed 12 of 15 passes for 132 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Pimentel completed 7 of 17 passes for 92 yards, a score and an interception. Junior running back Khris Kassner had 9 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Dash Denton had 3 rushes for 35 yards. Jones finished with 7 catches for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Senior Trenton Park led the defense with 10 total tackles, 7 were solo, junior Lew Laidler had 9 tackles and a sack, and senior Will Johnson and Kassner each had 7 total tackles. Kassner had 5 solo tackles, a sack and forced and recovered a fumble, while Johnson had 4.

“We know what they bring to the table,” Wood said of his Bulldogs. “We know what they bring to a game. We got Grant back on the field. It was good to see him back. Offensively, we kept grinding.”

Burnet’s challenge is continue to put in the effort for success, which is what the Bulldogs are known for.

“You’re either going to show up and regroup and fight again,” Wood said. “We all got punched in the mouth and learned.”

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