JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
LORENA — In its first qualifying tournament, the Burnet High School 7-on-7 varsity football team stamped its ticket to the state tournament.The Bulldogs won all four games they played at the Lorena tournament May 18, beating Gatesville in the semifinals and defeating McGregor 44-25, Whitney 55-24 and West 48-32 all in pool play.
Burnet was set to face McGregor in the championship game, but the opponent chose not to play since the two squads met in pool play, Burnet coach Jon Huff said. It also didn’t help that McGregor’s semifinal game against Lorena came down to the last possession.
“I think it really sets our tone for what we’re trying to do this year,” Huff said.
Counting their own weekly league, the Bulldogs have won 13 consecutive 7-on-7 games so far.
Huff attributes that kind of production to one area.
“Depth,” he said. “Our guys are going on one side of the ball.”
That allows the Bulldogs to rest in between possessions and gives them more work in positions they’ll play in the fall, the coach added.
Another player who has looked sharp is senior quarterback Derek Kiser. At Lorena, Kiser didn’t have a single four-second violation.
“Derek has been playing phenomenal,” Huff said. “He’s come leaps and bounds. His confidence level is way big, his arm strength is up, his decision-making has stepped up and he’s made very few throws that are errant throws.”
Other athletes who made great plays include Kody Jones, Darius Johnson and Kedrick Hill along with steady standouts Blayne Parisher, Trenton Hafley and Cory Cavender.
As a reward for qualifying, Burnet won’t attend the Gatesville qualifying tournament this weekend.
“It gives us a lot of confidence,” Kiser said about qualifying. “We’re already at another level.”