The Burnet Bulldogs lost 42-14 to the Port Lavaca Calhoun Sandcrabs on Nov. 17 to end their Class 4A playoff campaign. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The Burnet Bulldogs (8-3 overall, 4-1 District 13-4A) lost 42-14 to the Port Lavaca Calhoun Sandcrabs (7-4, 4-1 District 15-4A) in the area round of the Class 4A playoffs on Friday, Nov. 17, at Bastrop High School.
The Sandcrabs outscored the Bulldogs 28-0 in the second half.
Burnet started the game with a bang, recovering the opening kickoff after senior Gilbert Valdez hopped onto an untouched ball on the Calhoun 29-yard line. Three plays later, the Bulldogs cashed in on an outside run by senior Grant Jones for a 2-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.
The Sandcrabs responded with a strong drive of their own with multiple rushing plays for junior Alex Parker and senior Jayce Campos. Following several inside run plays, the Sandcrabs banked a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Parker to tie the contest.
Burnet junior Rhett Murray followed the Calhoun score with short pass plays to senior Trenton Park and junior Khris Kassner to ignite the Bulldogs’ drive. After bringing his squad to the goal line, Murray found senior Will Johnson for a 3-yard touchdown to regain the lead, 14-7, with little time remaining in the first quarter.
Motions behind the line of scrimmage and persistent dominance from the Calhoun offensive line helped the Sandcrabs remain in the contest. After driving down a short field, Parker lunged in for another 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
The Sandcrabs avenged their opening kickoff catastrophe by recovering the ensuing kickoff on a surprise onside kick by senior Ta Moo. Campos and Parker continued their early success on the drive. Later in the drive, junior Darrik Salinas scored on an outside run play to give his squad their first lead of the game, 21-14.
Calhoun built on the momentum generated by the Salinas score by forcing a quick punt by the Bulldogs to regain possession of the ball with over two minutes left in the contest. The drive crescendoed after Salinas scampered for 16 yards on a fourth-down-and-2 with 38 seconds left in the half. Campos put an exclamation point on the drive with a 2-yard rushing touchdown with five seconds left in the half, making it 28-14.
Burnet continued to struggle after fielding the second half kickoff. After failing to gain much of anything on the first three plays on the drive, the Bulldogs lined up for a successful fake punt run by Park to extend their drive. A muffed snap recovered by a hoard of Sandcabs swapped possession early in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs appeared to have the Sandcrabs on the ropes after making several defensive adjustments to stave off their opponent’s strong offensive performance. Unaffected by the halftime changes, Parker sprinted up the field for a 51-yard rushing touchdown on a third-and-5 to improve Calhoun’s lead to 35-14.
Burnet’s Murray responded with a 63-yard bomb to Park to bring the ball to the 12-yard line. The Sandcrabs refused to give up any meaningful yardage after the big play, stopping the Bulldogs in their tracks on fourth-and-goal on the 3-yard line.
Calhoun capitalized on the long, 97-yard field as an opportunity to bleed the game clock midway through the third quarter. Multiple long runs by Campos set up a 1-yard touchdown for the senior to mark the final score of the game.