Burnet football up against test in Wimberley in season opener

Burnet senior receiver Blaine Burkhalter took the ball away from an Austin Crockett player during a scrimmage Aug. 17. The Bulldogs open the season Aug. 31 at home against Wimberley. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

Burnet senior receiver Blaine Burkhalter took the ball away from an Austin Crockett player during a scrimmage Aug. 17. The Bulldogs open the season Aug. 31 at home against Wimberley. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

BURNET — Two traditional powerhouses square off Friday, Aug. 31, at Bulldog Field making it one of the best contests in the area to start the 2018 season.

The Burnet High School football team welcomes Wimberley at 7:30 p.m. to its home turf at 1400 Bulldog Stadium Drive.

Burnet head coach Kurt Jones said he purposely wanted to schedule the Texans for the season opener because he knows Wimberley will be a great test for his players, and neither shy away from competition.

“That’s what we were thinking,” he said. “Traditionally, they’ve been a great program and have state championships. It’ll be a great test for us.”

Wimberley is picked to finish second in District 13-4A Division II, behind only Cuero. Last season, the Texans were 13-2 overall and reached the state semifinals, where they lost to West Orange-Stark. But only two offensive and five defensive starters return from 2017.

Wimberley’s strength is found in its linemen: seniors Trey Manning, Angel Alvarez, and Hayden Chavarria, and juniors Collin Kincaid, Cameron Coburn, and Carson Minnix. Having solid linemen is crucial for what the Texans want to do offensively.

“They do want to establish the run with their big offensive line,” Jones said.

Junior quarterback Cooper McCollum and senior running back Guy Kypuros lead the skill players.

Once opposing defenses start to key on the run, the Texans mix in short passes by using screens, he added.

“They have pretty good balance on offense,” Jones said. “You can’t fall asleep on them. They have a great screen game we have to stop to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Jones made it known early in fall training camp that fielding a stingy defense is a huge key to the Bulldogs’ success. That hasn’t changed over the past few weeks.

“We always want to and made it a priority to play great defense around here,” he said. “It’s hard to win at the high school level. It’s hard win championships without a great defense.”

So Wimberley will give Jones a chance to evaluate personnel, if players are in position to make plays and adjustments, and how well the Bulldogs are performing in the scheme.

Look for Wimberley to field an aggressive defense led by senior linebackers Camden Crowder and Ahron Arroyo. The Texans will bring blitzes from all directions in the hopes of confusing Bulldog blockers and sophomore quarterback Jaxson Denton.

The offensive line’s calls on who to block will be imperative for the Bulldogs spread offense.

Denton won the starting job for many reasons, and not all of them came down to his physical ability, Jones said.

“He’s a great all-around athlete,” the coach said. “He throws the ball well and makes plays with his feet. He pays attention to detail and is coachable. We feel like the more game experience and preparation he has, the better.”

The Bulldogs finished training camp with a scrimmage at Brownwood on Aug. 23. Jones called it a “pretty good test against the Lions.”

For Jones, who is a Brownwood graduate, it was a sort of family reunion. His brother is the defensive coordinator, while the head coach, Sammy Burnett, is a former teammate.

The Bulldogs began the first drive by steadily moving the ball but were unable to score.

“We saw plenty of things that told us what we had to work on,” Jones said.

He was pleased to see his players strive to perform at their best throughout the scrimmage and be physical.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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