Burnet High School football player Braeden Howell (center) signs his National Letter of Intent to play football at Sam Houston State University as his parents, Jason and Kim Howell, look on. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
Burnet High School celebrated four of its senior student-athletes Wednesday, Feb. 3, as they signed their National Letters of Intent to play college sports.
The four are football player Braedan Howell, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville; football player Jaxson Denton, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton; soccer player Phebe Musasa, Schreiner University in Kerrville; and swimmer Maczimus Griego, Alfred State College of Technology in New York state.
BRAEDEN HOWELL, FOOTBALL
A three-time all-district player who was one vote away from being the 2020 district most valuable player, Howell kept pushing himself to improve despite the COVID-19 pandemic. During the spring, when schools closed to in-person activities, Howell worked out on his own.
“He kept doing things on a daily basis to keep him where he wanted to go,” said head football coach Jerod Rye. “He had the discipline to keep doing that and the drive to keep doing that because this is important.”
Howell, who will be a tight end, said he chose Sam Houston State for a couple of reasons: The small-town feel and support remind him of Burnet and the university offers a construction management degree, which falls in line with what he wants to do as a career.
“I loved it and everything about it,” he said of the East Texas school.
His degree plan narrows in on business management and also teaches specific duties for the construction industry.
Rye said he hopes other players follow Howell’s example, which would lead to incredible success.
“It would be unbelievable where we can get to,” he said.
JAXON DENTON, FOOTBALL
Perhaps no player was more versatile than four-year letterman Denton.
During his tenure as a varsity Bulldog, Denton played defensive back, quarterback, running back, and receiver. This past season, he returned to quarterback and was voted first team all-district.
Denton, who will be a defensive back at Mary Hardin-Baylor, said the program “seemed like the best fit. It’s only an hour and 10 minutes away. They have great facilities and great football. They won two national titles.”
He believes his knowledge of the quarterback position will help him immensely as a defensive back in college.
“You know what the quarterback is looking for so you can disguise coverages better,” he said.
Denton plans to major in criminal justice to be a game warden.
Rye noted that if Denton could pick his position, the Bulldog probably wouldn’t be a quarterback, but when his team and his coaches needed him to assume that role again, Denton stepped up.
“He had the confidence in any scenario to say give me the ball,” Rye said. “We went to him with a lot of different things. He never blinked an eye. Whatever it takes to win is what he’s going to do.”
PHEBE MUSASA, SOCCER
Musasa, who plans to major in communication to be a sports journalist, said once she visited Schreiner University and heard the plans for the program and her role in it, she knew she belonged there.
She has played soccer for a decade, and being on the pitch resonates with her in many positive ways.
“When I’m on the field, it’s a different type of adrenaline rush,” Musasa said. “Everything feels different. It’s just me and the ball. I have a certain type of happiness I don’t feel in other things.”
Girls head soccer coach Kim Myhrie noted Musasa’s contribution to the athletic department can’t be overstated.
“She is a huge asset to soccer,” the coach said. “She’s a leader, she’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. She is one of the most athletic girls I’ve ever met. She motivates those girls consistently. She’s made them better and I’m better because of Phebe.
“We use her leadership in athletics every day,” Myhrie added. “Every girl athlete and every boy athlete is better because of Phebe.”
MACZIMUS GRIEGO, SWIMMING
Griego has served as Burnet’s team captain for two of his four years on the high school squad. He has also earned spots on the all-district and all-region teams.
Griego has been swimming competitively for seven years.
“It is the only sport that had a thrill to it,” he said. “It’s an independent sport that has many races as well. That’s very exciting and never gets old to me.”
He will major in motorcycle and power sports technology at Alfred State College. Griego’s goal is to open his own motorcycle shop.
Swimming head coach Stephanie Pegues said she has watched the senior improve in many areas
“Maczimus’ leadership, work ethic, and speed have been just a few of the many skills he has possessed over the last four years,” she said. “He has been an instrumental part of what this team and the program have been built around. I am immensely proud of the young man he has become.”