Growing up, Burnet senior Derek Kiser wanted to be Stephen McGee. Marble Falls sophomore Brennen Wooten, on the other hand, had childhood aspirations of becoming Stephenville’s next great quarterback.
A Bulldogs fan since his family moved to Burnet in 2001, Kiser grew up following McGee, a strong-armed quarterback who teamed with wideout Jordan Shipley to lead the school to two state title games. Wooten, a Stephenville resident until 2012, rooted for Yellow Jacket legends Kelan Luker, Jevan Snead and Kevin Kolb, a QB with three NFL teams.
Years later, Kiser and Wooten have become the targets of admiration for a new generation of kiddie quarterbacks. And on Friday night, their football paths will cross when Marble Falls visits Burnet for a non-district showdown.
“It’s one of the biggest weeks of the year,” Kiser said. “We want to throw the ball, but we want to get the win more than anything.”
The battle for Burnet County will showcase two of the Austin area’s up-and-coming quarterbacks. The anchors of Marble Falls’ spread offense and Burnet’s “Air Raid” attack, Wooten and Kiser have combined for 138 pass attempts this season.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 180-pound Kiser has thrown for 616 yards and five touchdowns. He recorded all five of his TD passes in Burnet’s season opener against Fredericksburg, and he led the Bulldogs to a 20-9 victory over Rockdale last week.
Kiser, who wears No. 7 in part because it was McGee’s number, originally made Burnet’s varsity team as a sophomore safety. He became the team’s starting quarterback in 2012, when he earned all-district honors. Kiser’s also a shooting guard on Burnet’s basketball team, which is coached by his father, Roy.
“He does a lot of things well,” Burnet coach Kurt Jones said. “He just loves being put in a competitive situation.”
Wooten is coming off a game against Smithville in which he completed 20 of 26 passes for 306 yards and accounted for five touchdowns.
Wooten, a 6-1, 175-pound pro-style passer, already has a scholarship offer from Akron. He’s also the first sophomore to start at quarterback for Marble Falls coach Todd Dodge, who won four state championships at Southlake Carroll. Among Dodge’s QBs at Southlake Carroll were his son Riley and future NFL players Chase Daniel and Greg McElroy.
“He is a lot of fun to coach,” Dodge said of Wooten. “He, really unusual for a young guy, takes the coaching from the film room to the practice field.”
A victory Friday would give Burnet its first 3-0 start since 2004. Marble Falls is 1-1, but the Mustangs are coming off a 69-point output against Smithville.
“We most definitely need to improve,” Wooten said. “We’re playing well, but we’re not at the level we want to be right now.”
Marble Falls, 4-6 last season, is chasing its first postseason appearance since 2010. Burnet will try to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh time in the past eight years.
The teams’ starting quarterbacks, however, have their eyes on a bigger prize.
Wooten said he’d like to see the Mustangs make a run in the Class 4A playoffs. Kiser, who was in the stands for Burnet’s losses in the 2002 and 2003 Class 3A, Division I title games, wants to lead the Bulldogs back to a championship game.
“I believe that if you reach your goals, you probably didn’t set them high enough,” Kiser said. “I want to win a state championship more than anything.”