STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Burnet High School football team used a strong second half to beat Sonora 54-28 on September 27.
The Bulldogs (4-1 overall, District 14-4A Division I) took a 26-22 lead into halftime then proceeded to outscore the Broncos 21-0 in the third quarter for a 47-22 advantage they wouldn’t relinquish thanks to junior quarterback Mathew Tippie and senior receiver Blayne Burkhalter.
The two hooked up for touchdown passes of 12, 92, and 13 yards.
Sonora (2-3, District 13-3A Division II) scored only once in the second half, a 4-yard run to begin the final period.
“I was really excited by the way they came out in the second half,” Bulldogs head Jerod Rye said of his team. “I think it all goes together. … We held (Sonora) to one explosive play in the second half. We flew to the ball.”
Tippie threw for 347 yards and seven touchdowns on 16 of 23 completions. Burkhalter finished with eight catches for 194 yards and five touchdowns.
Burnet opened the scoring in the the first quarter when Tippie found Burkhalter for a 30-yard touchdown and a 6-0 advantage.
After Sonora took a 7-6 lead, Tippie exploded for three consecutive touchdowns: 50 yards to junior athlete Jaxson Denton, 14 yards to sophomore receiver Devonte Miller, and 34 yards to Burkhalter to build a 26-7 margin early in the second period.
Still, the Broncos didn’t go away. They scored on touchdown runs of 71 and 49 yards and added a safety to trim the deficit to 26-22 at the half.
Rye said he thought some of the Bulldogs were a little sluggish during the first half and attributed that to leaving campus at 1 p.m. in order to get to Sonora in time for the Bulldogs’ pre-game routine.
“I felt like every week there’s some type of distraction to creep into every game,” he said. “(Against Sonora), it was a three-hour bus ride.”
Senior running back Marcus Escamilla scored the game’s last points when he ran 26 yards to the end zone. He finished with 15 carries for 135 yards and a score.
Denton caught two passes for 66 yards and a touchdown and senior receiver Bradyn McPherson had three receptions for 53 yards.
Sonora rushed for 360 yards on 50 attempts and had four touchdowns and four fumbles.
Rye commended his players for ending their pre-district schedule on a four-game winning streak. Burnet is on a bye this week as it prepares for the District 14-4A Division I opener at Lampasas at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 11.