STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
After winning its first game of the 2019 season last Friday, the Burnet High School football team is looking for another victory in its second home game September 13.
But the Bulldogs (1-1, District 14-4A Division I) must do it against Lockhart, which will arrive full of confidence. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Field, 1400 Bulldog Stadium Drive in Burnet.
The Lions (2-0, District 14-5A Division II) have had shutout wins over Austin Travis, 42-0, and Taylor, 35-0, while running the spread offense.
Lockhart is led by junior running back Jordan Garcia, who had 13 carries for 103 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over Travis, and junior running back Noah Garcia, who had two rushing touchdowns and one passing score in the win against Taylor.
Against Taylor, the Lions had 257 rushing yards.
Burnet head coach Jerod Rye said the Bulldogs will face the biggest offensive line of the season led by senior Isaiah Samaripa.
Still, Burnet has plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The Bulldogs have won the turnover battle in both of their games, especially in the 41-6 victory against Marble Falls on September 6. Burnet recovered six turnovers, returning two for defensive touchdowns. Burnet opened the season with a 42-6 loss to Wimberley.
The Bulldogs’ performance on defense has fed the other units, Rye said, noting it has fired up the other players.
“Turnovers on defense are like scoring touchdowns on offense,” he said.
Defensively, the Lions have tallied four sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. They are led by senior defensive end Faustino Gonzalez and senior defensive back Daetron Ellison.
“They’re very sound in what they do,” Rye said. “Just like they’re big upfront on their offensive line, they’re big upfront with their interior (defensive) linemen.”
Burnet will counter with junior quarterback Matthew Tippie, who has completed 27 of 53 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns; junior running back Marcus Escamilla, who has 37 carries for 145 yards and a score; senior receiver Bradyn McPherson, who has nine receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns; senior receiver Blaine Burkhalter, who has eight catches for 119 yards; and junior athlete Jaxson Denton, who has seven receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown.
Rye said an emphasis is being placed on improving in all phases, noting the Bulldogs have areas that need work such as offensive blocking, showing a better grasp of the offense, and not turning over the ball.
“We had two possession inside the (Marble Falls) five we got zero points off of,” he said. “We need to capitalize on those. We have to put the whole thing together.”