The Burnet High School football team opened their season on the right foot with a 46-6 victory against the Jarrell Cougars on Aug. 28 at Bulldog Field.
The Bulldogs dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball; the offensive line led the way for 326 rushing yards, and the defense registered two sacks and nine tackles for loss.
“I feel like we won it on both sides of the ball,” Bulldogs head coach Jerod Rye said. “They had a tough time blocking our defensive front, and our offensive line really got after them when we had the ball.”
Senior halfback Marcus Escamilla was the top rusher for the Bulldogs with 18 carries for 165 yards and three scores. Despite the numbers he posted, he gave full credit to his offensive line.
“A running back without his blockers is nothing,” Escamilla said. “I saw a lot of unity, and we’re such a great team when we’re all connecting. It’s so fun to play with these boys that I’ve been playing with for 11 or 12 years.”
The Burnet defensive line bottled up the Cougars running game holding all Jarrell runners to 1.7 yards per carry. Senior defensive end Braeden Howell set the pace with three tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
The game started on a sour note for the Bulldogs after Escamilla fumbled on the first play of the game; Jarrell recovered the fumble but turned the ball over on downs at the Bulldog 21 yard line.
Burnet responded with a long drive capped off by a 24 yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jaxson Denton to junior wide receiver Devonte Miller.
On the next Cougars’ possession, the game started to get away from them. The Bulldogs recovered a fumble, and Denton connected with senior wide receiver Gunnar Blair for a 22 yard score. The Cougars bobbled the very next offensive snap and the ball landed conveniently into Howell’s hands for a scoop and score to give the Dawgs an 18-0 lead with 3:11 left in the first.
The Bulldogs continued to pile it on with two scores by Escamilla and another by Blair to create a 40-0 halftime lead.
Escamilla scored his third touchdown in the third quarter as the Dawgs cruised to a 1-0 record.
Even in a pandemic-shortened season, Rye acknowledged that there’s a lot of football left to be played.
“We’re going to watch film and see a million different things that we can fix,” he said. “To go beat some of the teams we need to beat to get into the playoffs, we’re going to have to fix a lot of stuff. To feel like you’ve arrived because you had a big win week one would be the worst way to approach it.”
He said the offseason felt longer than usual due to the uncertainty surrounding sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really proud of our kids and proud of the event that we didn’t know that we were going to get to do,” he added. “It’s great to see kids on the field playing, hear a band playing behind you and fans cheering in the stands.”
Denton finished 11-for-18 for 102 yards and three scores in the air; senior running back Mason Thornley carried the ball nine times for 100 yards; and Blair ended with three catches for 40 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior linebacker James Alexander and junior defensive backs Landon Christian and Caleb Roberts led the Bulldogs with four tackles each on defense. Christian also snagged an interception.
The Dawgs hit the road for their first away game of the season on Friday, Sept. 4 when they face Gonzalez at 7:30 p.m. The Apaches lost their season opener to El Campo 35-0.