As I reflect back on the past 12 months for this year in review my thoughts are focused on what the future may bring with hopes of a much better 2021.
If you see a pack of toilet paper, hurry and snatch it up, especially if it’s the good stuff. Don’t forget your mask, you’re essential, but you are not, well at least not this month. The past 12 month’s journey through life in a pandemic has been anything but clear. In the early months of 2020 things were still normal, but as the COVID-19 numbers rose so did panic in the streets.
The January 2020 Burnet Bulletin pages showed a still normal everyday life; the Bulldog swim team covered the sports pages along with a lead photo of Kam 011ison from basketball. The Tex Robertson swim meet had drawn in 475 competing swimmers, imagine the crowd on hand to watch them.
By mid-January 2020 me and the boys had survived a tornado in Caddo Lake, Texas so we scheduled a family revisit on the one-year anniversary.
Bulldog basketball player Casey Davis was being recognized after scoring 14 points in a four minute span. Davis came off the bench and helped lead his team to victory with 20 points.
By the end of the first month spring sports were in full swing, basketball, soccer, powerlifting, baseball, softball, tennis and swim.
State qualifying divers Zoe Nicholl and Tristan Smith graced the Feb. 5 pages of the Bulletin. The Feb. 12 edition recognized BHS superstar Blaine Burkhalter who was signing to play football in New Hampshire. Softball was underway and a photo of senior Stephanie Garcia swinging the bat was one of several cover shots.
Burnet track athletes soon got their season started but little did we know how soon the world would seem to stop spinning. By late February there were reports of a heated boys basketball game in Taylor that had fans escorted from the gym as tempers were lost in the stands. The Burnet varsity boys remained cool-headed and collected the win that night 59-54.
The March 4 edition was full of sports photos from a Llano track meet, soccer pics versus Jarrell and basketball versus Fredericksburg. Former basketball player Marissa Escamilla was named student athlete of the month at Tarleton State University.
At this point there were already teams pulling out of events, like the Llano track meet, but no one would have imagined that entire seasons would soon be cancelled.
Burnet Little League got to have their opening ceremonies, and former Little League President John Erskine was pictured throwing out the first pitch in the March 11 sports section.
Seven Regional qualifying Bulldog powerlifters were also recognized in these pages.
By March 18 the UIL had suspended all athletic events; people were in shock over some of the decisions being made, and the fear of COVID 19 was quickly spreading. On March 25 a bold headline read: “All sports sidelined by COVID 19.”
2020 began bringing heartache to many, whether it was through illness or the widespread effects of it. In a panic people quickly began stocking food pantries, but at a limited amount per person. As expected, Texas guns sales went up, but the sky rocketing sales of toilet paper, what were people thinking’?
April, May, June, July
The sports world was quiet in the middle months of the year. All schools were closed. The UIL shutdown all activities. Seven on seven didn’t start, and many other season were suspended indefinitely. The playoffs didn’t begin for some, while others had their season stopped right in the middle of state tournaments. It was a weird time. Sports arenas were dark and many student athletes, especially seniors, had their hearts broken.
August brought on much excitement after a July ruling by the UIL allowing for 4A and below sports to start back up in the eighth month of the year. After the screeching halt March brought about, August was welcomed with open arms even though many things looked different. Rules put in place to enforce social distancing were commonly seen including seats marked off and lots of green tape.
Even though it was an inconvenience Bulldogs and their fans were eager to comply as long as it meant seasons would not be cancelled again.
Two-a-days were soon looked on with joy; athletes couldn’t wait to take to the courts and fields. It suddenly seemed like the hours of hard work was a gift they couldn’t get enough of.
The headline of the first week of August simply read: The Bulldogs are back.
Unfortunately, some things were different. Meet the Bulldogs was cancelled, ticket sales were very limited and all online, fans were required to wear masks and stay six feet apart.
The Wednesday, Aug. 19 edition was a welcomed one to the eyes of many. It looked like the sports section of old. Football, volleyball and tennis graced the front page.
Many spent the first month back holding their breath, wondering if and when it would all be taken away.
The Bulldog football team played their first game on the last Friday of August. The gridiron excitement brought fans from near and far.
The football team opened their season on a high note defeating the Jarrell Cougars, 46-6.
Volleyball was doing well earning many wins. Cross country got started with races in Florence and Hudson Bennett collected his first gold medal of what would be a great sophomore season.
In the second week of September the annual sports tab was released titled, “Made for this.”
The cover featured all of Burnet’s Fall Sports athletes, just in a different way. Instead of being photographed together they were each taken separately with just their groups to maintain social distancing.
Volleyball made waves in Brownwood with a clean sweep over the Lady Lions. The Bulldog football team moved to 2-0 after defeating Gonzales, 29-21. Sub-varsity football was also undefeated on the season.
Midway through September the varsity Bulldogs lost their first football game to Boerne’s Greyhounds.
The Bullpup teams got their season started.
BHS volleyball teams were getting ready for district play and Bennett had collected three golds in as many cross country races.
Homecoming happened at the end of the month bringing in a little more normalcy. There was a parade, a bonfire, and a homecoming court. Kaitlyn Taras and Cooper Stuteville were named Homecoming King and Queen before the big game took center stage.
Unfortunately, the Dawgs fell to 2-2 with a loss to Brownwood.
Before the month ended Bennett set a new personal record with a 15:57 at the state qualifiers meet taking third overall while competing against the state’s best runners at all levels.
The football team ended the month with a win over Robinson moving their pre-district record to 3-2.
October started out with a bang. Cross country collected four medals at the district preview race. Swimming and diving were getting their start. The Lady Bulldog volleyball team was 2-2 in early district play.
Burnet soon opened district play with a huge win over the Battlin’ Billies. The tennis team earned some victories over Taylor. The Lady Dawg volleyball team did the same ending round one of district play, 3-2.
The boy’s cross country team earned a team first place finish in McGregor.
The Green Wave had a strong performance in their home opener. The Lady Dawg volleyball team clinched a playoff spot. Team tennis got a district victory. Cross country ran well in its final non-district race. The Bulldog football team fell to Lampasas in district play and learned that their game versus Taylor would be cancelled.
Before October ended, Bennett won the district crown and the entire boys’ team earned a spot at Regionals. Lady Dawg runner Rose Flores also earned a spot at Regionals after a ninth place individual finish at district.
The varsity volleyball team finished third in 19-4A after sweeping top ranked Salado to end district play. The tennis team defeated Jarrell, 18-0. Burnet freshman football team moved to 8-0. The annual Hoot-N-Holler had several members of the Green Wave posting personal records and earning medals.
In the first week of November it was reported that the varsity football team lost a tough battle versus LBJ. The Dawgs fell to the Jags, 18-10. LBJ went on to the state semi-finals.
The Lady Bulldog volleyball team won their first playoff game since 2011 defeating La Grange in a bi-district match. Also, in November, sophomore runner Hudson Bennett took first place at Regionals earning a ticket to state for the second straight year. Fellow cross country runner Andy Urista also earned a state ticket with an inspired run at regionals.
After taking a 2-0 lead over Carthage in the Area playoff game Burnet’s volleyball team dropped three-straight sets to fall from post season play.
Burnet’s freshman football team ended their season 10-0 after they defeated Canyon Lake in their final game.
The varsity football dropped the final home game to Canyon Lake but remained playoff bound.
The swim team continued their dominant ways, and Burnet’s volleyball team placed nine on the All-District list. Kyli Davis was named the district’s Defensive MVP, and MaeSyn Gay was selected the District’s Newcomer of the Year, among other awards.
In mid-November the Esprit de Corps earned a ticket to Area. The Bulldog football team fell to Boerne to end their playoff journey at Bi-District. Basketball began to hit the sports pages and Burnet’s varstarted 3-0.
By the end of the month people were taking notice of the Lady Dawgs basketball team. The front page of sports had a photo of the varsity girls holding up five fingers signifying a 5-0 start to the season.
The first edition of December brought a congratulations to Bennett and Urista for their performances at state. Bennett finished 20, Urista 97.
The boys’ basketball team earned a pair of solid victories moving their record to 3-1 after they defeated Little River Academy and Canyon Lake. The Lady Dawgs remained undefeated despite playing some good 5A and 6A schools.
By mid-December the varsity Dawg basketball team had to face challenges beyond anything they had prepared for. Burnet lost their top two scorers when seniors Kam 011ison and Luke Kiser went down to injuries in the same week.
Burnet senior Strat Roy quickly stepped up and scored 30 points versus Stacey. The Dawgs eventually moved a pair of freshman up and ended the calendar with hopes of better outcomes in 2021.
Burnet senior football player Braeden Howell played in the Blue-Grey All-Star game in December. He recorded four sacks in the contest and was named the game’s Defensive MVP.
The varsity girls’ basketball team earned 11-straight wins before suffering their first loss of the season.
The swim team returned to the pool in December; and The Esprit de Corps earned a bronze metal at State tying their best ever season.
The Bulldog football team was well represented on the All-District list with 15 players being honored.
First team selections went to Jaxson Denton, Marcus Escamilla, Braeden Howell, Jonathon Nandin and Landon Christian.
The Bulldog programs took the week of Christmas off, but all are eager to get back to it. Soccer will kick-off the season soon. Basketball and swimming will continue their seasons in January. Baseball, softball, track, golf, tennis, and powerlifting will soon return after having their seasons cut short in 2020.
It was a different year no doubt; one that won’t soon be forgotten. Bulldog fans are ready for 2021 with hopes that the seasons will continue without interruptions.
Good-bye 2020; let’s see what the future holds.