STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
In its first District 14-4A Division I contest, the Burnet High School football team is hitting the road to face Lampasas, a favorite for the title.
The Bulldogs (4-1) and Badgers (4-1) kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 11, at Badger Stadium, 190 E. Avenue B.
“I don’t know that they have any holes anywhere,” said Burnet head football coach Jerod Rye about Lampasas. “They’re big and physical.”
The Badgers are led by three-year starting junior quarterback Ace Whitehead, who has 92 of 129 completions for 1,444 yards, 16 touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also has 186 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 40 carries.
“He’s been there forever,” Rye said. “He’s completed over seventy percent of his passes, and he’s a running threat. His best asset is his decision making.”
Rye believes being in the same spread system for that long has only made Whitehead better, especially when it comes to communicating to coaches and teammates. His play illustrates his comprehension of the system and getting the ball to the right Badger.
“They’re balanced on running and passing,” Rye said. “On any play, it could be a run or a pass.”
Also for Lampasas, junior running back Jack Jerome has 537 yards and seven touchdowns on 79 carries, while senior running back Daunte Cuffie has 264 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries.
Senior receiver Cameron Everts has 35 catches for 496 yards and four touchdowns and 76 rushing yards on five carries. Senior receiver Jaylon Porter has 24 receptions for 401 yards and four touchdowns.
Everts is the team’s possession receiver, while Porter is the big-play receiver.
“They have five or six weapons where they can hurt you,” Rye said. “You can’t load the box against them. They spit (the football) out to guys who can hurt you. You can’t let them get comfortable.”
Defensively, the Badgers return seven starters led by Everts, Cuffie, senior free safety Koby Allen, and senior defensive end Ethan Rasco.
“I think they’re really talented in the secondary,” Rye said. “You have guys who can run and guys who can man up.”
The Bulldogs will counter with junior quarterback Matthew Tippie, who has 78 of 126 completions for 1,145 yards, 20 touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Junior running back Marcus Escamilla has 405 yards and four touchdowns on 74 carries. Senior receiver Blaine Burkhalter has 78 receptions for 513 yards and nine touchdowns, and senior receiver Bradyn McPherson has 16 catches for 269 yards and five scores.
Whitehead also is the team’s kicker, making 33 of 36 extra points. He averages 46.7 yards on kickoffs and has five touchbacks.
The Bulldogs used their bye last week to focus on individual player improvement in the fundamentals, Rye said.
“It was good to have a bye going into (this game),” he said. “Our kids are looking forward to the challenge. I think our kids are excited about the opportunity. I think they have confidence right now.”