STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
For the Burnet High School football team to have a chance at making the playoffs, the Bulldogs must beat a winless Taylor opponent in a District 14-4A Division I contest November 8.
And Burnet (5-4 overall, 1-3 district) still has to hope Fischer Canyon Lake will defeat Liberty Hill to eliminate the Panthers from postseason contention. If those two things happen, the Bulldogs are in the postseason.
Burnet travels to Taylor (0-9, 0-4) on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Taylor Stadium, 355 FM 973.
Burnet head coach Jerod Rye cautioned that people shouldn’t believe the Ducks will be an easy opponent.
“If we do that, we’re going to get disappointed,” he said. “In every district game until halftime, they’ve all been competitive. There’s a proud tradition in Taylor.”
The Ducks line up in various formations in their spread offense. Quarterbacks want to run the zone read, which means they see what the defensive end is doing then decide to either hand the ball off or pull it back and run with it. The Ducks use senior Michael Schneider and junior Chris Fabian at quarterback. Taylor’s receivers and running backs also do a good job when they get the ball, Rye said. Senior Jason Martinez is the top runner, while junior Jayson Saucedo is the top receiver.
The receivers and running backs also are the starting defensive backs and linebackers. Rye said the Burnet offense has been challenged to eliminate the errors that stalled drives during the 10-7 loss to Fredericksburg on November 1.
“We know offense is about execution,” he said. “We have to clean those up.”
Burnet junior quarterback Matthew Tippie threw interceptions for the first time this season during the loss to Fredericksburg. He has completed 156 of 271 passes for 2,005 yards and 27 touchdowns on the year. Junior running back Marcus Escamilla has 150 carries for 713 yards and five scores, and senior Blaine Burkhalter has 40 receptions for 663 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Rye said the Bulldogs will have a business-like attitude for this ballgame.
“I know we’re going to go there and get their best effort,” he said. “You know you’re going to have to go be on top of your game.”
Though it was a loss, Rye said the 10-7 setback to Fredericksburg “was a heck of a ballgame.”
“It was going to take our best effort to beat those guys,” he said. “It was a game where we were frustrated offensively, and we battled and battled and battled.”
He noted the offense had scoring chances and weren’t able to capitalize on them.
He commended the Bulldogs’ defense to limiting the Billies to their lowest point total in a contest all season. He credited the defensive game plan that called for blitzes from different angles and kept Fredericksburg off-balance.
“Defensively for us, it may have been our best game of the year,” he said.