There was a time when 34 points WON a game by 28; it didn’t LOSE by 28! There was a time when there were afternoon newspapers in big cities.
Soon, there will be no clock at college and high school football stadiums. First one to a hundred will win. Burnet might pen that doctrine, November 9, against Lampasas.
It reached a hefty amount, November 2, and the Bulldogs whipped Llano 62-34 on the LHS lawn. This was Senior Night—no seniors in Black and Orange Cap and Gowns have won this meeting since those in the Class of 1999.
“We couldn’t stop their explosive plays,” sighed Jackets’ head coach Craig Slaughter.
“We tried our best” was the way Zach Morgan quietly summed up the proceedings. “It wasn’t enough.”
This game could be remembered for the third quarter when 47 points was scored. The third quarter of the calendar? No big deal, really. Happens in the NBA all the time.
Let’s just begin our saga there. Layton Rabb tossed a screen pass to Carter Tatsch, and Carter, who likes space better than John Glenn did, won the Dawg race, and it was a 62-yard touchdown, his third score of the night, his season and career. It was 21-21.
Burnet’s Derek Kiser, who had thrown five TD aerials a week ago in a monumental win over Liberty Hill, matched that in Llano. He went five yards to Cameron Langley with 8:32 left in the score-at-all-cost period. “The offensive line blocked their butts off,” observed Kiser, who would go 21-of-26 for 392 yards—of the 553 his bunch bunched together for the evening.
Under a minute after the go-ahead six, Blayne Parisher intercepted a Rabb pass and returned it 27 yards to the Jackets’ 28. Langley reached the end zone on an 18-yard sprint.
This was the same Burnet team which a couple of weeks ago looked like it had as much chance to make the playoffs as King Kong did of getting the blonde to go to the prom with him. The Bulldogs had lost their first two district games (for a 2-5 overall mark) and were down 14-0 to Liberty Hill after a quarter. The (then 5-2) Panthers powered their way to a 44-36 loss.
Now Burnet is the best 2-2 district team Dave Campbell ever met.
“The kids had every reason to hang their heads,” first-year coach Kurt Jones declared concerning the 0-2 start in 8-AAA, “but they went back to work, got a huge victory last week, and it carried over to this week.”
41 seconds after that last score, Jeremy Ayers jumped the route of a Rabb pass and galloped 38 yards for a touchdown and a 41-21 advantage. That’s three TDs in two minutes and 33 seconds.
Rhett Brooks, playing his final game at Llano Stadium, sculpted a signature moment. Rhett is Carter Tatsch with power. He barreled his way down the left sideline for a 57-yard run to paydirt.
“He’s a stinkin’ warrior,” said an emotional Slaughter, who can write my copy anytime he wants. “I miss him already. He’s one of those kids you love, love coaching.”
“Brooks could be lined up any place and do great things,” offered Jones.
The Bulldogs, which flunked clock management, needed two plays to go 68 yards. Cory Cavender for 22 on the ground, Kiser to Cavender for the remaining 46. It was 48-27.
“We didn’t tackle,” lamented Llano defensive coordinator Clint Easley. “Maybe it was team speed; they were able to exploit some of our weaknesses.”
Back on offense, Tatsch, irritated by my previous comment, gobbled up 45 yards on two carries, and Layton lofted the ball to Matthew Center in the end zone. Center made a super catch for a 20-yard score. “Rabb trusts me,” Matthew mentioned. “I adjusted and kept my feet in bounds.”
And that’s how 21-14 at intermission becomes 48-34, 12 minutes later.
Burnet, of course, wasn’t done. Trenton Hafley went on a 61-yard waltz for the first of the last two touchdowns. The Bulldogs, playing as if the spirit of McGee and Shipley was hovering over them, had completed a remarkable seven-quarter, Friday-to-Friday run, believing that from the abyss they might actually first-down their way toward December.
And Llano is left to ponder a tortuous night, a 10th consecutive loss to its neighbor and rival, and no answers could possibly surface in minutes or hours.
The seniors, even though this game had been painful, stayed around for conversation and picture-taking before they walked off the Llano Stadium gridiron for the last time.
Slaughter, who embraces energy and soul like Hemingway embraced sentences, hates losing worse than Patton, but he shut that door momentarily and reminisced about the Graduates of ‘13: “I’m going to enjoy them to death; they are special kids. I’ll be sad when they’re gone.”