Burnet High School senior running back Eric Walker protects the ball as he bursts through a running lane in the Bulldogs’ 42-10 bi-district win over the Taylor Ducks on Nov. 14. Photo by Pablo Rivera
JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — The Burnet High School football was dominant in beating Taylor 42-10 for a Class 4A bi-district championship Nov. 14.
Next up for the Bulldogs (9-2) is King High School, a 23-14 winner over Pleasanton.
The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Comalander Stadium, 12002 Jones Maltsberger Road in San Antonio.
Against the Ducks (2-9), Burnet head coach Kurt Jones said he told his players not to be discouraged when they weren’t getting the results they wanted in the first half.
“We told the kids to keep on slugging it out,” he said. “Eventually, the tree would fall. Our kids did what they needed.”
The bi-district championship featured senior running back Eric Walker, who rushed 18 times for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Walker had been battling an injury, so he was very appreciative of the opportunities and made the most of them.
Many times he refused to go down on first contact, which is a source of pride for the running back.
“I think that’s important because you always have to work hard,” he said. “I think all great running backs have that.”
The Bulldogs began the scoring on their second drive of the contest when Walker ran in for a 29-yard touchdown. Senior Alex Melvin kicked the extra point to make it 7-0. The drive took five plays and covered 55 yards.
Burnet scored another touchdown on its next possession. After the Bulldogs defense forced Taylor to turn the ball over on downs, sophomore Steven Gallardo threw a halfback option pass to junior receiver Joel Johnson that went for a 78-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead after the extra point. The drive took one play.
Taylor recovered a fumble on a punt for another opportunity. The Ducks made the most of it when junior Demarcus Fields caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Terrell Reynolds to make it 14-7 after the extra point. The drive took three plays and 31 yards.
The Bulldogs answered immediately. Johnson caught his second touchdown when junior quarterback Austin Moore found him for a seven-yard pass for a 21-7 lead with the extra point. The seven-play drive took 54 yards.
The Ducks connected on a 45-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 21-10 at the half.
Jones commended Taylor for limiting Burnet’s offensive possessions in the first half, something the Ducks have been known to do to opponents.
“They did a good job of taking advantage of every possession,” he said. “We came out in the second half and did what we needed to.”
Walker scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to give Burnet a 28-10 lead after he ran 69 yards in an earlier play. The nine-play drive covered 96 yards in the third quarter.
Then, he added another touchdown, this one from a yard out, to give the Bulldogs a 35-10 advantage. That drive went 81 yards in nine plays.
Moore found senior receiver Cody Jones on a 49-yard touchdown pass after the Bulldogs defense forced a turnover on downs, extending Burnet’s lead to 42-10.
Burnet senior linebacker Kaleb Bell recorded an interception on the next Ducks drive. The Bulldogs defense also recovered a fumble. Jones said both turnovers were huge.
He and Walker noted the second-half shutout, with the Bulldogs scoring 21 unanswered points, was discussed in the locker room.
The coach credited his defensive players for their willingness to make adjustments.
Walker said the Bulldogs re-committed themselves to finishing the game the right way.
“At halftime, we talked about coming out strong,” he said. “I came out and ran with passion. (Winning a bi-district championship) feels great being a senior. It’s very exciting. We’re not guaranteed any more games, so we have to come out fighting.”