JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
LEANDER — A pass in the upper-right corner of the end zone ended the Burnet High School 7-on-7 football team’s pursuit of a state title July 12.
Graham won the game 49-47 in double overtime.It was only the third time the Bulldogs (32-3) have lost in 2013.
“We do what we do, and we came up short,” Burnet 7-on-7 coach Jon Huff said. “We firmly believe this was an opportunity we could go all the way. But it’s a big boost to the confidence and what these boys could do.”
Graham had eliminated Burnet in the state semifinals last summer. So when Burnet forced Graham to turn over the ball on the opening possession of the game and then promptly scored, the Bulldogs celebrated.
But Graham came right back to tie the contest. Before halftime, Graham forced two turnovers on downs and took a 21-14 lead.
That built to 27-14 lead with 10 minutes to play in regulation. Still, Burnet linebacker Kody Hall wouldn’t go quietly. He knocked a ball away on fourth down, though Graham got an interception for a touchdown on the next play.
Bulldogs running back Trenton Hafley caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Kiser to trim the deficit to 34-28.
And Hall intercepted the ball with two minutes left in regulation.
Kiser drove the Bulldogs to the end zone and threw a touchdown pass to Darius Walker to tie the game at 34-34.
The first attempt of the extra-point pass resulted in defensive pass interference, which gave Burnet a second chance to win the game.
But the ball was knocked away.
In the first overtime, Graham was on offense first and scored a touchdown and the extra point for a 41-34 advantage.
Burnet responded with a leaping one-handed touchdown snag by Blayne Parisher, and Cody Jones caught the extra-point pass to tie the game 41-41 and send it into a second overtime.
In the extra session, Parisher also scored a touchdown for a 47-41 lead. But Graham intercepted the extra-point attempt and needed only the touchdown and an extra point for the win, which they got, 49-47.
“They’re one of the top teams in the state,” Huff said. “They have a lot of returning starters from last year.”
Graham forced many high passes and gave up no more than a handful of explosive plays.
Offensively, Graham capitalized on short throws at the beginning and then the deep ball when it was open.
Burnet opened championship bracket play with a 47-36 victory against Ingleside. The Bulldogs led start to finish.
“The defense came out really tough, and we knew what we had to do,” Huff said. “We had the opportunity to watch all the teams and their go-to guys. We executed our game plan.”