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Burnet football shows muscle in win against Giddings

CAPTION: Burnet defensive coordinator Ben Speer (middle) talks to the Bulldogs after their win against Giddings Sept. 15. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Burnet High School football team crushed Giddings 35-7 Sept. 15 to go to 2-2 on the season.

Burnet (2-2, District 13-4A Division I) welcomes Early (1-3, District 2-3A Division II) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, to Bulldog Field.

While the game was lopsided, it didn’t start that way.

Giddings recovered an onside kick to begin the contest and scored for the 7-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs responded and scored 35 unanswered points the rest of the way. Still, head coach Bryan Wood said, his team’s 21-7 advantage at the half didn’t feel that way.

“I felt like we were down 21-7,” he said. “We fumbled on our last possession. We had some silly flags. We scored on our second play that went 75 yards, and it came back.”

The Bulldogs overcame the call and ended the drive with a touchdown, Following the win in the team’s post-game huddle, Wood and defensive coordinator Ben Speer explained to the players why they were stern in their half-time comments to them.

In short, they said, it’s because they see and know just how talented the Bulldogs are and want to see consistency on field on Friday nights.

So when Burnet kicked off to Giddings to begin the second half, the Bulldogs forced a punt and kept the intensity level high on that side of the ball. The Buffaloes’ drives ended in an interception by junior defensive back Colt Stanford, two turnovers on downs, and another punt.

“Defensively, I thought we played great,” Wood said. “I think we’re going to like what we saw.”

Offensively, the Bulldogs turned Stanford’s interception into a touchdown on the next drive. Burnet covered 79 yards in five plays highlighted by a 23-yard passing touchdown to senior receiver Trenton Park from junior quarterback Rhett Murray for a 28-7 advantage with 1 minute and 55 seconds left in the third period.

On its next series, Giddings turned the ball over on downs when junior quarterback Cade Patschke was sacked and fumbled. The ball rolled out of bounds.

This time Murray needed only one play, a short pass to senior receiver Grant Jones, who broke two tackles and outran everyone to the end zone. The play covered 57 yards to give the Bulldogs a 35-7 lead with 10:45 left in the contest.

After another Giddings punt, the Bulldogs scored two plays later when junior running back Khris Kassner sprinted 67 yards to the end zone. But a flag for holding wiped the score off the board and a lost fumble ended the drive.

The Buffaloes simply couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm because the Bulldogs snuffed out every play. Even when it looked like a receiver was open, two Burnet defensive backs were there to knock the ball away. Giddings finished with 48 rushing yards and 11 passing yards for a total of 59 yards.

“We didn’t give up an explosive play,” Wood said. “If (Giddings sophomore running back Bryson McDaniel) gets a lane, you’re not catching him. Our defense may have bent, but we didn’t break.”

Burnet had the ball in the final 4:43 and never gave it back, reaching the Giddings’ 17-yard line with under a minute to play. Wood called for the Bulldogs to get into victory formation.

They finished with 175 rushing yards and 300 passing yards for a total of 475 yards of total offense.

Wood acknowledged the Bulldogs recommitted to the rushing attack in the second half, noting Burnet used multiple runners who were determined to move the chains. They included senior Dash Denton, who finished the contest with 17 rushes for 70 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 48 yards, junior Josiah Coronado, who had six carries for 37 yards and an 11-yard reception, and Kassner, who had four rushes for 12 yards.

“We’ve had third quarter lulls in every game except Llano,” the coach said. “Maybe that has to do with playing the No. 8 and No. 9 teams (La Vernia and Brownwood) in the state. I liked the second half. I thought we fought big time.”

Murray led the passing attack by completing 11 of 18 passes for a season-high 289 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Jones caught three passes for 136 yards and two scores. Park finished with four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Junior quarterback Marcus Pimentel entered the game in the fourth quarter. He completed an 11-yard pass and had two carries for 18 yards.

“We’re excited about where Rhett is,” the coach said. “Marcus didn’t get the (starting) job. In today’s world, when things don’t go our way, we pout. He has not done that for one minute. His character is shining brightly. He came to us and said thank you for letting him play. We said thank you for not being a pouter.”

As he thought back through the game and the half-time talk, Wood was decisive in his evaluation before he graded the film.

“They wonder, ‘Why is coach mad?'” he said. “We are so close to being a quality playoff team. We’re doing stuff we need to quit doing.”

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