STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Though the Burnet High School football earned a big District 14-4A Division I win against Liberty Hill on October 25, head coach Jerod Rye made it clear it’s not enough.
In fact, Burnet (5-3 overall, 1-2 district) needs to continue winning to earn a playoff spot.
“The reality of it means we have a district win,” he said of the 35-31 victory over Liberty Hill. “We’re in a spot where it improves our playoff chances.”
That’s why the last home game of the regular season Friday, November 1, when Burnet welcomes Fredericksburg to Bulldog Field, is crucial.
The outcome is also important for the Billies (5-3, 3-0). If Fredericksburg beats Burnet, it sets up a district champion game between the Billies and Lampasas on November 8 to end the regular season.
Fredericksburg’s offense leans heavily on four skill players:
- senior quarterback Tucker Elliott, who has 117 of 229 completions for 1,617 yards, 16 touchdowns, and seven interceptions and 131 carries for 510 yards and seven scores;
- senior running back Jarrett Beard, who has 70 carries for 379 yards and four touchdowns and 50 catches for 851 yards and 12 touchdowns;
- senior running back Dylan Ahrens, who has 57 carries for 262 yards and three scores;
- and sophomore Judson Beard, who has 17 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
“Their quarterback is a dynamic athlete,” Rye said. “When he takes off, he can run well. The Beard brothers are dynamic players. They have a lot who can make plays.”
The Billies operate the spread offense with the intention of making passes that turn into long gains. It allows Elliott to run or pass depending on what he sees the defense doing, which puts added pressure on the Bulldogs to contain him.
Defensively, Fredericksburg is led by senior outside linebacker Hunter Metzger with 58 tackles, senior lineman Luke Duderstadt with 55 tackles, and senior free safety Jarrett Beard with 26 tackles and an interception.
As a unit, the Billies have 20 sacks led by senior linebacker Davis Reeh with seven and senior lineman Christian Avilez with six.
“They’re active upfront,” Rye said. “They’re quick in the box. All can tackle. They’re going to be a tough task.”
Burnet junior quarterback Matthew Tippie has yet to throw an interception. He has completed 132 of 226 passes for 1,709 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Junior running back Marcus Escamilla has 135 carries for 636 yards and five scores, and senior receiver Blaine Burkhalter has 40 catches for 663 yards and 10 scores.
Rye noted that while this year’s Liberty Hill game was his first as the Bulldogs head coach, it was his 12th time to coach in that contest. He called it a great rivalry win.
“It’s fun when the community is fired up,” he said. “I love that our kids are getting that recognition. I couldn’t be prouder of the way our kids played. We found a way to get out with a win.”
Kickoff on Friday is 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Field, 1400 Bulldog Stadium Drive.