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Bulldogs win Battle of Burnet County thanks to rushing attack

The Burnet High School football team beat Marble Falls 24-0 Oct. 13 in the Battle for Burnet County.

The win improves the Bulldogs to 4-3 on the season and 1-1 in District 13-4A Division I play, while the Mustangs move to 1-6 and 0-2.

“It was an important win,” Burnet head coach Bryan Wood said. “We can control us. Going down 0-2 is a whole other animal.”

Marble Falls head coach Brian Herman pointed out three factors that led to the outcome.

“Speed, execution and own mistakes,” he said. “They executed better than we did.”

The game was scoreless for 22 minutes. But Burnet scored on its final two possessions of the first half and its first two possessions of the second half for the win.

The first touchdown was courtesy of junior running back Lew Laidler on a 21-yard run to cap an eight-play, 70-yard drive with 1 minute 40 seconds left in the first half.

After Burnet forced the Mustangs to punt, the Bulldogs drove 40 yards to the Marble Falls 20-yard line. After two timeouts, kicker Sammy Rodriguez connected on a 37-yard field goal on the last play of the half for a 10-0 lead at the intermission. The key play in the drive was a defensive pass interference call on first-and-10 that moved the ball to the Marble Falls 34-yard line.

“Sammy didn’t play football last year,” Wood said. “This is his first year to play football. To step out there and make it in that situation was a huge confidence booster.”

The Bulldogs, who won the coin toss and deferred until the second half, needed only three plays to find the end zone thanks to senior running back Dash Denton. He ran up the middle on a 40-yard scamper to cap the 70-yard drive and the 17-0 advantage 62 seconds into the third quarter.

“Our plan was to run it right at them,” Wood said. “At that point, you feel better. But you’re not at ease.”

After another Marble Falls punt, the Bulldogs scored again. This time they went 55 yards in nine plays for the touchdown highlighted by another Laidler run. This one was from two yards out for the 24-0 final.

“Laidler did pretty good with his touches,” Wood said. “He’s a good running back. We have a three-man rotation.”

Burnet had 199 yards of total offense with 279 on the ground on 36 rushes. Denton led with 15 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown, while Laidler had four rushes for 44 yards and two scores. Senior receiver Grant Jones had seven rushes for 84 yards and caught two passes for 32 yards. Junior running back Khris Kassner had five carries for 25 yards.

“I thought we’d be able to spread it out,” Wood said. “They dictated what we did offensively. It was to run the ball. Our offensive line has played well the last two weeks. I’m proud of them. We had a good game plan for Marble Falls. “

The half-time deficit could have been more. The Bulldogs had a turnover on downs on their opening drive and fumbled near the Marble Falls red zone on their second drive, which the Mustangs recovered.

“We gave up 10 points on four possessions,” Herman said. “I thought out defense was hitting hard and attacking well at times. They ran the ball well. Their jet sweeps killed us. They had a 26-yard run on the exact play we adjusted to.”

Marble Falls senior Jaime Castillo had 15 rushes for 146 yards, while senior Dominic Fierro had five for 36 yards. The Mustangs had 224 yards of total offense, all unofficial, with 199 yards coming from 36 carries.

“Jaime had a couple of good touches,” Wood said.

Laidler led the Bulldogs in tackles with 10 followed by Kassner with seven, senior Will Johnson with six, and Jones with five and an interception.

Marble Falls had nine penalties for 70 yards, 25 yards in the first quarter. The Mustangs hadn’t had that many in awhile, Herman said. Coaches instructed the offense to snap the ball quickly in an effort to minimize the false starts and motion penalties. Herman noted that Fischer Canyon Lake was able to do that with some success.

Marble Falls also called for more passing plays but didn’t connect on enough of them.

“Incomplete passes and penalties kill you every time,” Herman said. “I told them at halftime they were playing a heck of a game. Incomplete passes, penalty yards and negative yards – you can’t move the chains.”

After Herman spoke to the team, senior Sergio Hernandez addressed the Mustangs.

“Sergio has a big heart,” the coach said. “One of the things I enjoy about this team is the locker room. It feels better, it feels different.”

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