JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — The new season of 7-on-7 football begins May 4 at the practice fields at Burnet High School for freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams across the Highland Lakes.
The Bulldogs welcome Llano, Lampasas and Marble Falls each Monday beginning at 6 p.m. Each squad is guaranteed three contests per week.
“It’s a great way to get a chance to get out there,” Burnet head coach Kurt Jones said. “I think it’s fair to say we’re limited in what we can do in spring ball. We’ll get going within the scope of what we can do.”
The University Interscholastic League does not permit teams in Classes 1A-4A to conduct spring football drills. So playing in 7-on-7 leagues in May for those teams lets athletes throw, catch and cover, Jones said. And though linemen aren’t used, he said the value of 7-on-7 is evident.
“There’s a lot of good you can get out of (7-on-7 for) skill position players, defensive backs and linebackers,” he said. “Receivers, quarterback and running back reps are so important because that gives you an opportunity to use those skills.”
Last season, the Bulldogs used 7-on-7 to evaluate a quarterback battle between Austin Moore and Taylor Barksdale that carried on into fall camp in August. Moore eventually won the starting job. And while the Bulldogs are set in that position, Jones pointed out running back Eric Walker, two linebackers, including two-time district defensive player of the year Kody Hall, and two cornerbacks are graduating in a few weeks. So defensive coaches will be looking at that position during May to see how well linebackers cover, move and close in on receivers, Jones said.
“We’ll start putting players with them to continue to push them and show they’re the person for the job,” he said. “Those are things I keep an eye on. We’ll pinpoint some things with our running backs. There are three or four guys to see time in the backfield.”
Meanwhile, Marble Falls and Llano are searching for new quarterbacks. Holden Simpson will graduate from Llano, while the Mustangs are replacing quarterback Brennen Wooten and younger brother and receiver Aaron Wooten. Their family moved to San Angelo during the Christmas holiday.