GAME NIGHT PREVIEW: Liberty Hill vs Burnet


Liberty Hill (1-1, 5-2) vs. Burnet (0-2, 2-5)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26

Bulldog Stadium, Burnet


Burnet High School

Enrollment: 951

Coach: Kurt Jones

Mascot: Bulldog

Colors: Kelly Green/White

League: 8-3A

This is always the one matchup of the season in which you can throw out the records, but taking a look at them anyway, Liberty Hill possesses the opposite overall record of Burnet at 5-2 with one coveted district win.

Conversely, the Bulldogs are now 0-2 in the district and 2-5 overall following losses to two of the toughest teams in 8-3A — Brownwood and Gatesville. Burnet now faces off against its rival Liberty Hill, which also happens to be one of the better teams in District 8-3A.

The game is seemingly a must-win for both teams.

“It is for us and I know that it is for Burnet,” said Liberty Hill Coach Jerry Vance. “Burnet has to win this game to have a chance to play (in the playoffs) and so we expect them to be sky high and to be rocking and rolling from the word go.”

In last season’s matchup at Panther Stadium, Liberty Hill capped the regular season off with a 65-33 win over Burnet. This year, however, the Bulldogs play differently on both offense and defense under defensive coordinator-turned head coach, Kurt Jones.

“It’s a little bit different, but very similar to what we’ve seen the last four weeks starting with Wimberley,” Vance explained. “They throw the ball about 50-50, you still see the same pistol look that everybody is running now. Defensively they changed quite a bit. They used to be a split and now they’ve put in a 50 defense.”

Last Friday, the Bulldogs faced off against an undefeated Gatesville Hornets team and fell to 0-2 in District 8-3A with a 44-19 loss.

Gatesville scored once in the first quarter and took a 10-0 lead early in the second, but the Bulldogs answered with a pair of Austin Huff goals in the first half. However, between the two kicks the Hornets scored another touchdown and took a 17-6 lead. With just one minute left in the half, Gatesville completed a 40-yard pass and following the PAT it was Hornets, 24-6 at the break.

Burnet could not overcome the Gatesville offense, but with 4:25 left to play, Burnet QB Drew Dewald completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Blayne Parisher in the back of the end zone for the Bulldogs first touchdown of the night. Huff’s Pat made it 44-13.

Then following an onside kick that was recovered by Trenton Hafley, Burnet drove 49-yards and scored on a 4-yard pass from Dewald to Cameron Chafin. The PAT missed, which left the final score at 44-19.

Burnet’s loss to Brownwood was closer at 25-13, but a loss is a loss.  Coach Jones is still seeking his first district win, but it will not be easy against a Liberty Hill team looking to get back on track.

“The people over there are great football fans,” Vance said. “There will be a whole lot of green and a lot of woofs going on. It’s a good high school place to play. Their fans are just a rabid as anybody else, so that makes it a little tougher. The kids know each other; they’ve dated each other’s sisters so there is a sense of familiarity with this game.  ”

Liberty Hill will play its second of three district road games on Friday and hopes this trip has the same result as the Llano game – a win on the road. And Coach Vance is aware that this game could very well define the character of the 2012 Panther football team.

“How we respond to last Friday and how we respond to (Burnet) will tell us a lot about what kind of team we have,” he said.

-Joseph Garcia

The Independent Sports