Clutch kick seals deal, 38-35 double OT

BY WAYNE CRAIG/ BULLETIN SPORTS
 

Barn burner: (noun) something that arouses much interest or excitement.

Many on hand for last Friday night’s football game between the Burnet Bulldogs and the visiting Gatesville Hornets would agree that there was plenty of interest and excitement from this contest.

It wasn’t always pretty but the Bulldogs overcame a handful of self-inflicted set-backs with a double overtime victory, 38-35.

Eventually it was the trusty toe of Tyler Torres that had fans breathing a sigh of relief. A 21-yard Torres kick sealed the deal but let’s not forget the Drew Kiser strip nor his snap , or the great Godfrey hold.

Before a signal was even given Torres was on a dead sprint across the Bulldog turf with celebrating teammates in hot pursuit.

It’s a good thing for digital technology, the following quotes came from sunny Florida where Tyler Torres was located on Saturday.

In response to the question, what was it like on the final play to get the chance to kick a game winner, Torres said, “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, It’s something many players dream of, to have teammates rely on you to win a game, but to actually make the kick was the greatest feeling of my life. I was ecstatic to put it down the middle even more so knowing it helped keep our team’s postseason hopes alive. I have always dreamed of helping my team win in crunch time. Something that Coach Jones says has always stayed in my mind, ‘have visions of making big plays for your team’. ”

After the play Torres dedicated the kick to his mother, “I dedicate this to my mother because she’s the one helping make big things happen in my life. If there’s one thing I want to do, it’s to make her proud, all my successes are for her.”

That district victory was a great one to come away with but just the first of several needed.

The Bulldogs will have to travel to Liberty Hill Friday night and nobody needs a reminder of how Burnet’s last two playoff seasons ended.

While the overall wins in the Highway 29 rivalry game are still in Burnet’s favor, 2012 was the Bulldogs’ last varsity football victory over the Panthers.

It seems as though there’s always added hurdles playing the Panthers at home. They too are 1-1 in district play and a quality team.

As always they’ll  bring a steady dose of run game, an element of the game the Bulldogs have struggled to stop.

The Panthers are coming off a 27-16 victory over Lampasas. Game time Friday is set for 7:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium.

The game-

The game versus Gatesville started off with a fumble nullified by a penalty. Those loose ball occasions and yellow flags came way more often than one would expect this late in the season.

A huge 14-yard sack by Jordan Godfrey helped put a halt to a potential Hornet scoring threat mid-way through the first.

After a shanked punt by Gatesville the Bulldogs put together the first point producing series of the game, a 10-play 57-yard drive that ended with a 34-yard Koby Edwards to Kyle Cavender touchdown connection. Tyler Torres kick was good, 7-0, 1:19 left in the first.

During second quarter play the Bulldogs made two trips deep into Gatesville territory to the 18-yard line on one occasion and the 14 on another but both drives ended on first down turnovers with one fumble and one interception.

Those type of mishaps kept the Hornets in the game and before long a 22-yard Jett Truss score had the game tied at 7-7, and that was eventually the halftime score.

With 8:23 left in the third Truss found pay-dirt again, this time on a 5-yard option play that capped an 8-play 86-yard drive. The Pat was good, 14-7 Hornets.

A heads up onside kick recovery by Cotton Woodum led to a 6-play 61-yard game tying score by Burnet. On the heels of Ian Carter, Steven Gallardo, Kyle Cavender and Tyler Ford Burnet pushed to the Hornet 29. From there Edwards delivered a 29-yard pass to Kiser who beat double coverage to the zone for the TD. Torres’ kick after was good, 14-14, 5:48 third.

Gallardo’s special teams speed played a huge role on both sides of kickoffs but his down-field coverage was surely a contributing factor.

All the defensive lineman had shining moments but Seth Carpenter was a man on a mission during the next Hornet series. He single-handedly put them in a third and nine hole and a pressured errant pass by Woodum forced a three and out punt.

Edwards completed passes to sterling Galban and Kiser to start the next series. Ford served his time carrying the ball next followed with a short run by Carter. Sounds like past Presidents. Gallardo went to wild dawg for a first down, before a short pass to Ford turned into a quick 43-yard score. Torres again split the poles and made it a 21-14 ballgame with 1:50 left in the third.

The hustle of Gallardo paid off on the ensuing kick with a loose ball fumble recovery that positioned team green 26 steps from the zone.

Gallardo then stepped behind center and avoided a sack with a heaved up pass to his trusty teammate Kiser who fought to secure it at the Hornet 8. Galban shortly found some unoccupied real estate near the back line of the zone and Edwards found him for a quick six. Torres swung the leg and it was 28-14 with 1:01 left in the third.

At the 9:20 mark of the fourth quarter it was game on again after the Hornets had produced a 10-play 81-yard scoring drive. Their TD came on a 14-yard Alex Thompson run but the PAT failed leaving the score 28-20.

Thompson found the black paint again with 6:24 left in regulation on a 49-yard up-the-gut run. Truss punched in the conversion for Gatesville and the game was tied at 28 all.

Each defense displayed some key plays down the stretch in regulation forcing the game into overtime.

Gatesville won the toss and Burnet got the first go on offense. One play was all it took. Gallardo took a short pass from Edwards and raced to the land of six behind a nice Kiser block. PAT good, 35-28.

The Hornets answered in two snaps, scoring on a 5-yard Truss run and tying the game with the PAT, 35-35.

They then went back on offense again per overtime rules.

Just when it appeared the Hornets were cashing in again with a second overtime score Kiser made the defensive play of his career with a goal line strip from Hornet RB Thompson that Cavender recovered in the endzone.

“Honestly the play happened so fast I’m not really able to recall what my emotions were like during the play, said senior Bulldog Drew Kiser, but when I looked up and saw that Cavender had the ball and the refs were signaling that it was ours I was just ready to get on offense and finish the game. Ultimately I was just happy that I could make a play for my teammates, who had played their hearts out the entire game.”

That gave the Bulldogs an adrenaline boost and the comfort to line up a third down game winning overtime kick that Torres put right down the middle.

So in closing there were many standout plays, but two monumental ones that will be long remembered, a strip, a kick, and the double overtime victory for all their efforts, 38-35.

Burnet has three games remaining on their district schedule. They will play in Liberty Hill this Friday, host Lampasas next week, and close out 13-4A play in La Vega. The La Vega Pirates knocked off unbeaten China Spring on Friday to move to 7-0.

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