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Ten Highland Lakes Sports Insights

CAPTION: Burnet junior quarterback Marcus Pimentel runs the football up the middle in helping the Bulldogs earn 279 rushing yards during the Battle for Burnet County. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

The end is near, and the football playoff picture is starting to get more in focus. Let’s review what happened last week.

  1. We’re going to begin with the Battle for Burnet County where the Bulldogs defeated the Mustangs 24-0. The Burnet staff had the Bulldogs with 319 yards of total offense with 279 coming through their ground attack and had Marble Falls with 182 yards of total offense with 162 coming from running the football. Both offenses had one turnover that didn’t hurt each sideline thanks to the defenses. For about 22 minutes, the game was scoreless. Then Burnet scored 10 points in the final 1:47 of the first half and touchdowns on back-to-back offensive possessions to start the third quarter. Burnet had six explosive running plays — where the back ran for 10 yards or more — to Marble Falls’ five. And the time of possession favored the Mustangs by about two minutes.
  2. So why the shutout? Two reasons, and they’re intertwined. Marble Falls had nine penalties for 70 yards with 25 yards coming in the first quarter that put the Mustangs behind the chains on false starts and holding. By contrast, Burnet had two. I also thought that the linemen for both teams were about equal in talent and experience. But the Burnet linemen were better, especially on the offensive side. Now, Marble Falls could say that’s certainly how it appears because the Mustangs were committed not to let the Bulldogs throw the football by dropping seven into the secondary. And that forces the Bulldogs to run the ball with more run blockers than pass protectors. So defenses must pick their poison. But let’s go back to the intertwine. Simply, the lack of penalties allowed the Bulldogs to stay on schedule and finish drives. As we’ve discussed already, football is a sport the rewards the ability to finish. And the Bulldogs did that much better than the Mustangs.
  3. Going into the contest, my thought was the Bulldogs had the edge because they had the best player on the field in my opinion – senior athlete Grant Jones who is a receiver, a defensive back and a special teams returner. And Jones had a great night thanks to seven carries for 84 yards on jet sweeps and catching two passes for 32 yards and catching the only Marble Falls turnover, an interception thrown on a halfback option and returning it around 15 yards to the Marble Falls 48-yard line.
  4. But the best player on the field, in terms of sheer numbers, was Marble Falls senior Jaime Castillo. My stat sheet had him rushing for 145 yards, all unofficial. My purpose in writing this is that, once again, this game was closer statistically than the score indicated. And to say that Castillo has simply gotten better throughout the season. He runs with a purpose and very few people can say that he didn’t leave all he had on the field after each game ends.
  5. The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team earned a big win at Round Rock Concordia 47-38 Oct. 13 to remain in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot from Division II, District 3 of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.
  6. For the first time since the 2019 season, the Llano football team has lost back-to-back district ball games. The latest came against Marion 28-21 Oct. 13 on the heels of losing to Universal City Randolph 24-7 Oct. 6. The Yellow Jackets committed six turnovers to the Bulldogs’ three. Marion turned two of Llano’s turnovers into offensive touchdowns and then had an interception with under a minute left to seal the win. Penalties wiped out two of the Jackets’ touchdowns. Currently Llano is fourth in the district standings and some believed that this year was the Bulldogs’ best chance to beat the Jackets. And in fairness to Marion, the Bulldogs had come close to winning a game against the favorites in the district. They lost to Randolph 28-21 in overtime to begin District 13-3A Division I play. The Jackets are back home Friday, Oct. 20, when they welcome Blanco (5-2, 2-1) before going to Ingram Tom Moore (5-2, 1-2) Nov. 3. The Panthers did not play Oct. 13.
  7. Three volleyball matches remain in the regular season. Let’s start with the Burnet Lady Dawgs, who’ve won three consecutive matches to remain a match behind Georgetown Gateway in the District 24-4A standings. The Lady Dawgs are taking care of business at every venue and have a shot at a co-district championship if they can go undefeated in the second round of play. They have a great shot at doing that because they welcome Gateway to The Doghouse at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20. They’ll be at Max Copeland Gym at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, and end the regular season in a road match at Jarrell Tuesday, Oct. 24.
  8. The Llano Lady Jackets earned an important sweep in District 5-3A play by winning at Comfort 17-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-27, 15-13 Oct. 13. That’s the second time in a week the Lady Jackets beat the Doe in five sets to go to third in the district standings. Next up are the final two matches of the regular season, both at home: against Florence Tuesday at 6 p.m. and against Blanco at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.
  9. Sending a big congratulations to the Marble Falls High School team tennis squad for reaching the area round of the Class 4A playoffs, the furthest a Mustangs team has gotten in the sport. Marble Falls squeaked out wins against Burnet and Taylor and barely lost to Lago Vista in the last four weeks. Marble Falls could only win one match against Waco Robinson in the second round of the playoffs. Still, what the Mustangs accomplished is incredible.
  10. We can’t close out this week without congratulating the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District cross country program. The high school teams won all four divisions of the District 24-4A meet Oct. 9. The seventh-grade boys were the district champions, the eighth-grade boys were the district runners-up, the seventh-grade girls finished fourth, and the eighth-grade girls finished fifth. The Marble Falls boys varsity team finished second at the district meet. All three varsity teams advance to the Class 4A Region III meet Oct. 24 in Huntsville.

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