STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
When the Burnet High School football team welcomed Wimberley to Bulldog Field in last year’s season opener, the Texans escaped with a 32-25 victory.
This season, the Bulldogs (District 14-4A Division I) look to return the favor when they travel to Texan Stadium, 200 Texan Blvd., for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday, August 30.
Not much is new for Burnet with perhaps one exception: head coach Jerod Rye, who was the offensive coordinator last year.
Starting quarterback Matthew Tippie, a junior, took over the position in the eighth game in 2018. He’ll be surrounded by plenty of experience in the backfield and receiver corps, including seniors Isaac Sanchez at running back and Blaine Burkhalter at receiver.
Rye said he hasn’t changed much in the Bulldog spread offense but noted the addition of “a few wrinkles.”
The defense for Wimberley (District 13-4A Division II) is led by linemen Cameron Coburn and Carson Minnix and defensive back Josh Limely, who had four interceptions in 2018, and Christian Marshall. Rye said the Texans will be in different coverages with the goal of confusing the quarterback.
“They are very aggressive,” Rye said. “They don’t blitz one at you. It forces your kids to be with their eyes and schemes.”
To better prepare, Tippie has spent time studying film to look for tendencies and clues, Rye said.
“We feel like he’s grasped the scheme well,” Rye said. “We want the ball to go to different places. We’ve done a good job of repping those.”
He commended the Bulldogs offensive line for its work during August.
“Offensive line made the biggest strides each week,” he said. “We’re hoping we can do that again this week.”
The Wimberley offense is led by senior quarterback Cooper McCollum, who suffered a season-ending broken collar bone after the sixth game in 2018. Before that, he threw for 1,217 yards and eight touchdowns and ran for 243 yards. His weapons include sophomore running back Moses Wray, who was the district’s Newcomer of the Year in 2018, junior receivers Limely and Marshall, and senior receiver Kolby Goforth.
Both offenses utilize a version of the spread, a scheme predicated on passing.
Rye noted the Texans’ versatility doesn’t allow defenses to simply focus on one person.
“They have playmakers all over the field,” he said. “Their quarterback is a great runner. Their running back is a load. They have receivers who can beat you down the field.”
The coach believes facing this offense will only help the Bulldogs as they continue through their schedule, especially when they face district foe Lampasas, which also has a number of playmakers.
The Burnet defense’s pursuit of the ball carrier as well as their tenacity should help with containing the playmakers. The Bulldogs continue to record solo tackles and fight through blocks. They haven’t given up on plays and are committed to at least slowing down the ball carrier until other defenders can get there to ensure tackles are made.
“When the whistles blew, I saw multiple green jerseys at the ball,” Rye said of the scrimmages against Austin Crockett and Brownwood. “Eleven guys are hungry to get to the ball.”