Burnet trying to regain old form

Since back-toback title games, Bulldogs stuck in neutral

In his first start, junior quarterback Derek Kiser led Burnet to a 26-21 victory over Fredericksburg Friday night. 
Matt Ward/FredericksburgStandard In his first start, junior quarterback Derek Kiser led Burnet to a 26-21 victory over Fredericksburg Friday night. Matt Ward/FredericksburgStandard While there haven’t been any McGees or Shipleys on the roster in the past eight seasons, Burnet has been trying to recapture the magic those two star players provided with varying degrees of success.

Quarterback Stephen McGee and receiver Jordan Shipley both now play on Sunday, while the architect for those successes, hometown hero Bob Shipley, roams somebody else’s sidelines on Friday night.

Since their departure in 2003 (Bob Shipley left in 2006), the Bulldogs have gone 48-39, which a lot of teams would gladly take, but not up to previous Burnet standards.

Half those years have resulted in losing seasons for the Bull-burnet at rockdale

Junior guard Dedrick Page graded out highest among the offensive linemen. Junior guard Dedrick Page graded out highest among the offensive linemen. dogs, including a 4-6 ledger in 2011 which included just one district victory.

The road doesn’t get any smoother this season as Burnet was stuffed into District 8-3A with No. 20 Liberty Hill and perennial power Brownwood, which is helmed by Shipley.

Not to mention Lampasas, which went 10-2 last season and included its first playoff victory in 13 years.

Burnet is picked to finish fifth in the league.

Trying to recapture some of the old magic, Burnet moved up long-time defensive coordinator Kurt Jones, who took the job after Doyle Walker retired last December after a 30-24 run from 2007 to 2011 as a replacement for Shipley.

Jones has been coaching the Bulldogs for 11 seasons and was on board during both trips to the state games in 2002 and 2003.

“We have always had high expectations and this year is no different,” Jones said. “Our kids understand that we want to go win championships. When we come in from day one we tell them to think like champions, act like champions and walk like champions.”

Jones will have his work cut out for him with just nine starters back and only four on offense.

He must replace Burnet’s leading passer, rusher and receiver.

On defense, the Bul ldogs allowed more points than they scored last season under Jones.

Junior Derek Kiser (6-1, 175) started at quarterback against Fredericksburg, replacing threeyear starter Weston Cozby.

One bright spot is senior Cameron Langley (6-2, 200), who moved outside to wide receiver and is the only all-district performer returning for the Bulldogs.

So impressive as a receiver, Langley was named to the all-tournament team at the 7-on- 7 state tournament as the Burnet team reached the semifinals.

Langley also starts at linebacker.

Burnet starts six sophomores and just six seniors.

“You can’t trick them, they’re sound,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “They’re young like us and set to make a good run.”

Against Fredericksburg last Friday, after leaping out to a 20-0 halftime lead, the Bulldogs had to use a great leaping touchdown catch by Langley with seven minutes left in the game to stave off the Battlin’ Billies 26-21.

Kiser tossed two touchdowns and ran for another.

Rockdale and Burnet (which has nearly 1,000 students) do have a brief history, playing five times and the Bulldogs lead the series 3-2.

They split four regular season games from 1998 to 2001 and Burnet knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs in 1995 19-12 in bi-district.

What: Burnet Bulldogs (1-0) at
Rockdale Tigers (1-0). Home Opener.
Where: Tigerland Stadium (2,850
capacity, grass).
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Favorite: Rockdale by 6.
Last week: Rockdale 35, Salado
21; Burnet 26, Fredericksburg 21.
Series record: Burnet leads 3-2.
District outlook: Burnet is picked
5th in District 8-3A, (Liberty Hill,
Brownwood, Lampasas, Gatesville,
Bulldog to watch: No. 34 Sr. TE
Cameron Langley.


• Elijah Brooks surpassed both brother and father as far as making their varsity debuts. Here’s the numbers:

Elijah Brooks 18 carries, 211 yards, 3 TDS Daniel Brooks 2-94, 1 TD vs Llano 2009 Tony Brooks 1-15 vs. Waco LaVega 1982 (Brother Daniel was a sophomore, father Tony was a freshman)

• Two-way senior starter William Dean suffered a broken wrist and will be out indefinitely. Junior Devantra Burgess will replace Dean at receiver and Hayden Offield at cornerback. Offield gives the Tigers’ four sophomore starters.

• Last years’ starter at fullback, junior Marco Hernandez also suffered a broken wrist in the Robinson scrimmage and sat out Friday night’s game. Hernandez will play Friday.

• Elijah Brooks and Markus Hayes are both suffering from turf toe, but will be ready Friday. Patric Trejo is still hobbled by a sore ankle and played only offense Friday.

• Sophomore Justin Offield will start at defensive tackle in place of senior Gabriel McQuinn, who starts on offense.

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