STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Burnet High School football team is wasting no time in starting its offseason program.
Head coach Kurt Jones said the Bulldogs have started their weight training, even with days left before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We’re in the weight room getting stronger, getting faster,” he said.
The Bulldogs finished the season at 2-8 overall and 0-5 in District 14-4A Division I, missing out on the playoffs for the second straight year.
“We didn’t win the way we want to,” Jones said. “That’s a priority for us. Better days are ahead. We played a lot of young kids.”
During the season, Burnet started 10 sophomores and a freshman against the more experienced upperclassmen on other teams.
Of the 42 players on the 2018 Burnet roster to start the season, 14 were seniors, 17 were juniors, and 10 were sophomores.
The good news is that many of those athletes will be back for 2019, and they’ll bring something important.
“A lot of experience gained this year,” Jones said. “Those young players were forced to grow up in a hurry. Late in the year, the kids kept on coming back and battling harder.”
Throw in a grueling pre-district schedule, and outcomes are self-explanatory.
Wimberley (4-6, 3-2 District 13-4A Division II), which beat Burnet 32-25 to start the season, is preparing to face Crystal City in a bi-district championship after finishing third in district.
Marble Falls (5-5, 3-4 District 13-5A Division II) earned its best record since 2010, the last time the Mustangs advanced to the playoffs, and finished tied for fifth in its district.
Lockhart (5-5, 3-4 District 14-5A Division II) was fifth in its district.
Sonora (5-5, 3-2 District 13-3A Division II) is preparing for a bi-district contest against Van Vleck. Burnet beat Sonora 41-20.
“We had a pretty good schedule,” Jones said. “There were playoff teams across the board, solid teams that won plenty of games. Two wins in a season isn’t our standard. We’re going to get back to winning our share. In another year from now, we’ll be a little older and a little experienced. Some of those games will swing our way.”
The Bulldogs used two sophomore quarterbacks this year. Jaxson Denton began as the starter but was moved to receiver, where coaches used his speed, hands, and other attributes to create a weapon that kept defenses on their toes. During the 42-28 loss to Taylor on Nov. 9, he caught three passes for 113 yards and two long touchdown passes. One touchdown was for 59 yards.
Meanwhile, Mathew Tippie took over at quarterback the last three games, throwing for about 800 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“Both will be extremely valuable to us going forward,” Jones said. “We’ll have competition at every position.”
Junior receiver Blaine Burkhalter had almost 800 yards receiving.
During the loss to Taylor, Tippie completed 17 of 27 passes for 212 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Sophomore running back Marcus Escamilla had 21 carries for 126 yards and two scores.
“The kids battled hard,” Jones said. “Our kids really hung in there and competed hard and did what we asked them to do. I’m proud of our senior group. We had a small group. The last three weeks of district play in terms of competitiveness and strong fight, we held to our standards.”
While the season ended much earlier than what Burnet wanted, Jones said he sees plenty of good things for 2019.
“The kids are hungry, our coaching staff is hungry,” he said. “We’re ready to get back to winning. We’re rolling right into the offseason.”