JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
BURNET — The 101st meeting between the Burnet and Marble Falls high school football teams will be fondly remembered by the Bulldogs as they won the first game on their new turf, a 30-15 victory over their Burnet County rival Aug. 28.
“Any time you get a win that first game of the year, that’s good,” Burnet head coach Kurt Jones said. “That it’s a rivalry game against Marble Falls makes it that much sweeter.”
Burnet scored on its second possession thanks to a series of screen passes to junior receiver Steven Gallardo from senior quarterback Austin Moore. Moore hit Gallardo on a 17-yard screen for a 7-0 lead to cap off an eight-play, 85-yard drive with six minutes 44 seconds left in the first quarter.
“We had to execute (the screen plays), and we did,” Jones said. “It’s all the more damage when you can start out throwing the short throws and turn them into long gains.”
Meanwhile, penalties, bad snaps and indecision on offense highlighted the opening quarter for the Mustangs. The defense took advantage of some Burnet high snaps and fumbles to keep the game close.
The Bulldogs scored their second touchdown right after recovering a Marble Falls fumble. Moore hit junior receiver Drew Kiser for a 40-yard touchdown for a 14-0 advantage with 9:32 left in the second quarter.
An interception by Burnet senior defensive back Darius Johnson was turned into the Bulldogs’ third touchdown of the night. The seven-play, 39-yard drive ended when Gallardo scored on a six-yard scamper for a 21-0 lead with 5:11 left in the half.
Sophomore kicker Tyler Torres later connected on an 18-yard field goal to give Burnet a 24-0 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Marble Falls junior defensive back Heath Dooley recorded an interception that junior quarterback Cade Cool then turned into a five-yard touchdown run. Cool called his own number for the two-point run to trim the deficit to 24-8 with 5:09 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing Bulldog drive, Torres hit a 31-yard field for a 27-8 lead with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
Torres followed that kick with a 34-yard field goal for a 30-8 advantage with 7:38 remaining in the contest.
Two drives later, Cool found senior receiver Eric Cauble on a 37-yard touchdown pass. Gavino Tinajera added the extra point to trim the deficit to 30-15 with 2:19 remaining.
Moore ended the contest by completing 20 of 29 passes for 276 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Gallardo had eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown and also had four carries for 15 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs used eight different ball carriers and eight different receivers throughout the game.
Moore called the options luxuries.
“There’s always somebody else to step up and make things happen,” he said.
Getting a win on the new field the first time Burnet faced an opponent in the regular season was great, Moore said. But that it came against Marble Falls “was the cherry on top,” he said.
The Mustangs finished with 182 yards of total offense, all unofficial.
Marble Falls head coach Matt Green said his team played much better in the second half. He noted the Mustangs had seven players making their first varsity starts.
“Our offense is extremely young,” he said. “Our kids grew up in the second half and played much better. We have to continue to play better.”
Cool completed seven of 20 passes for 85 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, while Cauble had two receptions for 50 yards and a score.
“Our defense played great,” Jones said. “We don’t look really big when we line up against those Goliaths. We have kids who are quick and athletic.”
The two teams are back in action Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Burnet is at Abilene Wylie, while Marble Falls is at home against San Antonio Jay at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive.