Burnet’s Sterling Galban battles a Gatesville defender for the ball during the Bulldogs-Gatesville game Oct. 14. The Bulldogs won 38-35 in the second overtime. Next up for Burnet is longtime rival Liberty Hill on Oct. 21 with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Panther Stadium, 16500 Texas 29 West in Liberty Hill. Listen to the game on KMPN 95.9 FM powered by KBEY or at KBEYFM.com starting with a 7 p.m. pregame. Photo by Glenn Morris/FTMOG.com
JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
BURNET — Burnet High School head football coach Kurt Jones said he doesn’t have to prepare a “rah-rah” speech for his team this week.
That’s because the Bulldogs are traveling east on Texas 29 to rival Liberty Hill on Oct. 21. Both are 1-1 in District 13-4A Division I.
“It’s a great rivalry, not only in football, but in all sports,” Jones said. “I’m sure our bands will go all out. The kids get excited about rivalries. This is a big matchup.”
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium, 16500 Texas 29 West in Liberty Hill. Listen to the game on KMPN 95.9 FM powered by KBEY or at KBEYFM.com starting with a 7 p.m. pregame.
Two very different offensive philosophies will take the field.
The Panthers (4-2 overall) utilize the Slot-T offense, a run-first scheme that emphasizes quick handoffs and misdirection. The Bulldogs (6-1) operate a spread offense, a scheme that’s about short passes that allow receivers to run for extra yardage after the catch.
Offensively for Liberty Hill, junior fullback Hunter Oncken has 56 carries for 353 yards and a touchdown; sophomore running back Reid Sanders has 60 carries for 341 yards and four touchdowns; and senior running back Freddie White has 37 carries for 238 yards and a score.
Senior quarterback Garrett Wright has 39 carries for 276 yards and five touchdowns and has completed 10 passes for 152 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Though the Bulldogs defense is familiar with the Slot-T, Jones said this week calls for a different approach since Burnet doesn’t face it every week.
“That brings challenges to assignment football,” he said. “Our kids have to be disciplined with their assignments. (The Panthers) have a lot of good athletes who are physical and can run.”
But Jones said the best defense is offense.
“We cannot waste any possession,” he said. “We have to make the most of every possession.”
For Burnet, senior quarterback Koby Edwards has completed 135 passes for 1,831 yards, 22 touchdowns, and four interceptions. Senior running back Tyler Ford has 67 carries for 517 yards and four touchdowns, while junior receiver Sterling Galban had 41 catches for 527 yards and seven touchdowns and senior receiver Drew Kiser has 28 receptions for 527 yards and seven touchdowns.
And since both communities have a strong youth football tradition, Jones said the players on each team have faced each other many times before high school.
Liberty Hill’s defense is as solid as the offense, Jones said. The Panthers are led by senior cornerback Dyllon Joiner, senior linebacker Andy Becker, and senior defensive end Carter Ware.
“They have good-looking, physical kids who are strong and can run and help with tackling,” he said.