Burnet football prepares for tough district game vs. Llano

Burnet High School quarterback Derek Kiser (7) rolls out looking for a downfield receiver in a game against Liberty Hill. The Panthers won 14-7 on Oct. 25, setting themselves up as the clear District 8-3A frontrunner. The Bulldogs dropped to 1-2 in district play. Burnet hosts Llano on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Field. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

[box]GAMETIME
Burnet Bulldogs vs. Llano Yellow Jackets
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1
WHERE: Bulldog Field, 1000 The Green Mile in Burnet
TUNE IN: Listen to 102.9 FM or at KBEYFM.com with pre-game show at 7 p.m. and live broadcast at 7:30 p.m.[/box]

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — The Burnet and the Llano high schools football teams will clash Nov. 1 at Bulldog Field with both squads still very much in the thick of the playoff hunt.

One team will enter with a two-game winning streak, while the other one is trying to avoid a losing streak.

The Yellow Jackets (4-4, 2-1 in District 8-3A) are second in the division, while the Bulldogs (5-3, 1-2), after a 14-7 loss to first-place Liberty Hill on Oct. 25, have the same district record as Lampasas, Gatesville and Brownwood.

Burnet head coach Kurt Jones said the district records illustrate the strength of the teams and there’s still much to be determined with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

“I think it’s a strong district,” he said. “Everybody knew that going in. You look at what everybody has done, so everybody is stinking good. Everybody has beaten up on teams in other districts. Nobody can go into any game and feel like it’s a gimme. It’s a strong district.”

Llano has Burnet’s complete attention, Jones said.

“Seems like the last several years you’re playing this game, you’re looking at trying to get a victory the last couple of weeks of the season,” he said. “They’re all improved this time of year. This one is very important. Our kids understand that. Our coaches understand that.”

The Yellow Jackets are led by senior quarterback Layton Rabb, who has completed 63 of 115 passes for 974 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions and has 31 carries for 197 yards and five touchdowns in only half the games this year.

Senior receiver Isaac Hutto has 31 receptions for 436 yards and four touchdowns, while junior receiver Jalen Bauman has 31 catches for 419 yards and three touchdowns for Llano. Senior running back Carter Tatsch has 137 rushes for 755 yards and six touchdowns.

“They’re a strong offense,” Jones said. “Rabb does a great job for them. They’ve got several big receivers who are good playmakers. They probably have the fastest running back in the district.”

The Bulldogs coach noted the Llano defense has stepped up in the biggest games for them.

“They’re well coached on defense as well, and they have them doing all the right things,” he said. “They’re a very well-coached team and play with confidence, and we know it’ll be a challenge.”

During Burnet’s loss to Liberty Hill, Bulldogs quarterback Derek Kiser completed 17 of 36 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Though he’s had only three interceptions this season, this one came at the most inopportune time.

With the Bulldogs trailing with less than a minute remaining, Panther Jason Reeves intercepted a tipped pass to allow Liberty Hill to preserve the 14-7 win.

“Even through all that, the defense played tough enough to keep us in it,” Jones said. “Offensively, we finally found a way to break through.”

Burnet had a total of nine rushes for 25 yards. Junior receiver Cody Jones caught six passes for 61 yards, while Parisher had four receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Jones said his players arrived with the proper mindset.

“We felt like we were well prepared,” he said. “We felt like the kids fought hard. I liked the defensive effort and felt like we played well on special teams.

“And I also felt like we didn’t find any offensive rhythm,” he added. “It was one of those nights where the rhythm didn’t flow.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com