STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Burnet Bulldogs set the tone from the beginning in their 52-8 homecoming victory over Manor New Tech on September 20.
After forcing the Titans to punt on the opening drive, Burnet went to work. Junior quarterback Matthew Tippie hit four receivers on four passes, including senior Blaine Burkhalter for a 14-yard touchdown reception. The five-play drive covered 54 yards in 73 seconds, and the Bulldogs were up 7-0.
The Burnet defense then forced another Titans punt, and the ensuing Bulldogs drive ended in a 9-yard touchdown run by junior running back Marcus Escamilla and a 14-0 advantage.
After yet another Titans punt, the Bulldogs added a third touchdown. This time, junior athlete Jaxson Denton caught a 38-yard pass from Tippie, and it was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
On the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second quarter, Tippie found junior receiver Luke Kiser for a 26-yard score and a 28-0 lead.
And the scoring continued.
On Burnet’s next possession, Tippie hit senior receiver Bradyn McPherson for a 29-yard touchdown and a 35-0 lead. Running back Ethan Wolf scored on the Bulldogs’ following possession on a 27-yard scamper, making it 42-0 at the half.
Tippie, who only played at the quarterback position in the first half, threw 18 of 22 completions for 250 yards and four touchdowns, connecting with six different receivers. He completed 11 of 14 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter.
Also in the first half, Denton caught six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Escamilla had nine carries for 78 yards and a score.
Head coach Jerod Rye enjoyed seeing each of the Bulldogs’ skill players score.
“We have to have that,” he said. “Jaxson Denton is a great player, and defenses pay a lot of attention to him. Somebody else has to make plays for us. I love the way we were spreading the ball around.”
The Bulldogs (3-1, District 14-4A Division I) held the Titans to minus-26 yards of total offense in the first half and forced New Tech (1-3, District 10-3A Division I) to punt on six consecutive possessions.
Rye was thrilled with the way the Bulldogs competed on both sides of the ball. He told his players this contest was about being mentally focused and engaged more than it was about physical preparation. He was happy to see his players took his challenge to heart.
“We had six possessions and scored on all of them,” he said. “We were executing plays. We told them all week the scoreboard was zero factor in a win or a loss.”
Burnet reserves took over in the second half though Tippie connected on a 19-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 45-0.
The Titans scored early in the final quarter when senior receiver Dominque Tasby caught a 37-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Alexavier Gonzales. A two-point conversion made it 45-8.
Burnet senior fullback Tracer Park got the points right back when he bulldozed his way to the end zone from 12 yards, and the Bulldogs led 52-8 with 1:52 remaining in the contest.
Rye said he moved 10 junior varsity players to the varsity for the contest, so he was happy they played the entire second half.
The coach said the game film will show areas where the Bulldogs can improve though many of the team’s goals for each game were accomplished, such as no three-and-outs and scoring on the opening offensive drive and last offensive drive of the first half.
He noted he’s been on teams that have lost lopsided games and commended Titans head coach Quincy Williams for laying the foundation for his program.
The Bulldogs’ word of the week was “kind,” Rye said. Coaches asked players their definition of the word and how is it displayed on the playing field. Rye was pleased his players showed good sportsmanship, even walking to New Tech’s side of the field after the game to listen to its school song.
“I’m proud of the way our kids acted,” he said. “Win big and how you act in those situations.”
Burnet travels to Sonora to play the Broncos in its final non-district contest on Friday, September 27. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.