STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — The Burnet High School football t
eam ended its first week of fall training camp with plenty of tough runs, superb catches, and tremendous hits.
The Bulldogs competed in their intrasquad scrimmage Aug. 11 and played to a draw. The offense scored once after sophomore quarterback Jaxson Denton connected with receiver Ryan Green for a score from about 15 yards out.
Head coach Kurt Jones noted the reason for the draw might have been because so many Bulldogs played on both sides of the ball.
“We mixed it up,” he said. “There’s at least ten to a dozen guys we’re counting on to play both sides.”
Jones believes the defense was sharp because of the comfort level the players have with defensive coordinator Casey Carr’s scheme. The athletes and the coach are entering year two together, and it showed because the defensive players were quick to the ball and textbook in their tackles.
Just when it looked like the defense would have a day to remember, the offense found some rhythm and had big plays to energize that side of the ball.
One play that stood out was a run by freshman running back Devonte Miller, who broke loose at one point for 30 yards.
That play actually called for Miller to take the handoff and run to the left side. But when the defense set up for Miller on the left, he broke tackles and reversed field. Denton gave a key block that Miller used to get around the edge for a big gain.
Coaches were happy with Miller’s tenacity, and Jones said they’ll continue to work on improving techniques.
It was Jones who blew the whistle when he wanted to end a play. He said there were quick whistles at times because he wanted to protect his quarterbacks from taking any unnecessary hits.
“I think almost every time we got pressure, I was pretty sure Jaxson would have gotten away from the pressure,” the coach said.
Jones added that when Denton threw the touchdown pass, he did it because he extended the play with his legs.
“On other teams, that’s a seven-yard loss and a sack,” Jones said.
Running back Kaleb Alexander also looked great, and Jones said Alexander will play plenty of defense, noting coaches are anticipating the player recording more than 130 tackles this season.
Coaches are still using different offensive linemen in several positions as they examine and evaluate to compile the best unit they can.
“We have good kids up there, big strong kids working hard,” Jones said. “We’re still figuring out who’ll start at center, and that’s a crucial spot.”
The snaps weren’t as clean as coaches want, and Jones said a bad snap “kills everything from the get-go,” so finding consistency in that position is a huge priority.
Receivers Luke Kiser, Blaine Burkhalter, Bradyn McPherson, and Miller — when he was lined up as a receiver — were steady, but they aren’t the only Bulldogs giving coaches plenty of great effort and consistent play, Jones said.
“We have a good group of receivers doing well,” he said. “When it all comes together, they’ll catch some balls.”
Among the top defensive players is nosetackle Roger Craig, a Bulldog who has a 350-pound squat and a 400-pound bench press.
“He’s a big, strong kid who needs to keep playing himself into shape,” said Jones, adding that Craig gave seven great plays in a row. “We need him to make eight or nine hard plays in a row. He’s a handful.”