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Mustangs, Bulldogs battle for Burnet County

Marble Falls versus Kyle Lehman, 2021

Marble Falls senior fullback Rio Suarez and the Mustangs are looking to execute their slot-T offense well against rival Burnet on Friday, Sept. 3. The Mustangs began the season with a 20-2 win over Kyle Lehman. Photo by Mark Stracke

The 105th edition of the Burnet County Big Game hits the football gridiron at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, at Bulldog Field, 1400 Bulldog Stadium Drive in Burnet. 

The Marble Falls Mustangs (1-0, District 14-5A Division II) enter the contest after a 20-2 win over Kyle Lehman in the Aug. 27 season opener. The Bulldogs (0-1, District 13-4A Division I) suffered a 44-7 setback to Leander on Aug. 26. 

Catch the contest on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune, KBEYFM.com, or the KBEY app starting with a 7 p.m. pregame show.

Burnet and Marble Falls didn’t play each other in 2020 because COVID-19 shook up the football schedule and the teams couldn’t work out a date.

This year’s Burnet County showdown also can be billed as the Battle of the Brians — or Bryans, depending on which side fans are sitting. Third-year Mustangs head coach Brian Herman is still seeking his first win over Burnet in Marble Falls purple, while Bulldogs head coach Bryan Wood is in his first year in Kelly green. 

Wood said he’s been told what this contest means to the county, and his focus is in helping his players prepare and improve at every opportunity. He noted the Bulldogs entered practices with the mindset he wants.

“Our kids were focused,” Wood said. “They did a great job of studying what we did well (against Rouse) and what needs to be corrected. They’re excited about the opportunity to show the Burnet fans that we’ll get better each week.”

Burnet versus Leander Rouse, 2021
The Burnet Bulldogs lost their season opener to Leander Rouse, 44-7. They will have their home opener against the Marble Falls Mustangs in the battle for Burnet County on Friday, Sept. 3. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Field, 1400 Bulldog Stadium. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

Against Rouse, the Bulldogs used two quarterbacks, sophomores Grant Glidewell and Grant Jones. Though Burnet had more offensive plays, 71 to 57, it had half the yards, 252 to 520, compared to the Raiders. 

Herman said that both Burnet quarterbacks “seem to have different strengths” — one likes to run with the ball and the other likes to stay in the pocket and pick apart the defense.

“It’s a very quarterback-centered (offense),” he said. “They like to use the quarterback in the run game. We’re definitely going to have to be geared up to stop the quarterback.”

But that’s not to say the Mustangs can simply zero in on the quarterback, he added, noting Burnet’s other skill players will present challenges, too.

Herman also was complimentary of the Burnet defense, saying the Bulldogs “want to force things” when it comes to turnovers and stops.

“They’re really good at running from sideline to sideline,” he said, referring to the ability of Burnet’s defense to keep offenses from getting around the end and to the outside. 

Wood also had good things to say about his team’s opponent.

“You can tell (Marble Falls is) well coached,” he said. “They’re ball controlled and want to control the time of possession. It seems like they take care of the ball really well. Their offense, it’ll be ground and pound. They don’t make many mistakes.”

In the season opener, the Mustangs had more plays and more total yards than Lehman, 324 to 78. Marble Falls used six different players in the running game, which produced 317 yards and all three scores. Even better, Herman said, was the Mustangs didn’t commit the mistakes that irritate fans and coaches.

“We had very few procedure penalties and overall penalties and were mostly clean in our execution,” he said. “We didn’t have to burn timeouts for personnel (to get substitutions in).”

Burnet Consolidated Independent School District is selling tickets to the game online. It is also First Responders Night, and BCISD will recognize local first responders before kickoff. Gates open at 6 p.m.

jfierro@thepicayune.com