STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Burnet Bulldogs flexed some defensive muscle during an August 23 scrimmage against Brownwood, which ended in a 14-14 tie.
During the live portion of the scrimmage, the Bulldogs defense swarmed to the ball carrier and limited the number of big plays by Brownwood’s offense.
“Nothing gets you more fired up as a coach than to see a bunch of your color jerseys run to the ball,” said Burnet head football coach Jerod Rye about his defense. “We tell them to play fast and play physical. If they’re playing as fast as they could and as physical as they could, it’s our job to get them there.”
The scrimmage wrapped up fall training camp, and the Bulldogs now turn their attention to the season opener Friday, August 30, at Wimberley. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Texan Stadium, 200 Texan Blvd.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs offense demonstrated they could score on Brownwood’s stingy defense.
Burnet’s two scores came in the two, 12-minute live quarters. Senior receiver Blaine Burkhalter caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Matthew Tippie in the first quarter. Senior running back Isaac Sanchez scampered 13 yards to the end zone for the other score. Because the Bulldogs missed the extra point after the first touchdown, they decided to go for two to tie.
After the two-point pass was converted, Burnet was called for pass interference. And though the Bulldogs were moved back 10 yards, Tippie found junior receiver Cade Rye on the pass for the two-point conversion.
“It’s going to mean a whole lot to those kids,” Rye said. “For us (coaches), it’s execution on a play.”
While the Bulldogs hung tough with Brownwood during the live portion of the scrimmage, Burnet struggled a bit in the controlled portion. But Rye explained at least five starters were out with nicks and bruises.
The staff used that opportunity to mix in different players, while the Lions stuck with their starters on offense and defense and second string during specific segments.
As a result, Brownwood scored two touchdowns, on runs after explosive pass plays, and didn’t give up a score.
Burnet senior defensive lineman Patrick Mackenna batted down a ball, and junior defensive lineman Grishma Pun recovered a fumble.
During the live quarters, the Bulldogs leaned heavily on 15 players who were on offense and defense, Rye said.
Despite holding several players out of the scrimmage, many of whom are defensive backs, Rye and the Bulldogs coaching staff saw this as an opportunity.
Other Bulldogs got the chance to log minutes on the field and gain valuable experience. With the video from the scrimmage, coaches can help the players correct mistakes and work on improving their skills.
“That excites me,” the coach said. “We need to build depth in a couple of positions.”