Jerry Burton’s storied career as a Bulldog came to an end Friday night as Priceville closed the 2020 season with a 35-29 overtime victory over St. John Paul II.
Burton entered his final high school game needing 180 yards rushing to reach the 5,000-yard mark for his career.
He opened the game with a 63-yard burst for a touchdown on the Bulldogs’ first play to take a 6-0 lead, topping the 1,000-yard mark for the season on the run. He scored his second touchdown on a 27-yard run with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter to extend the Priceville lead to 12-0, running the ball six times for 70 yards in the drive.
After stopping the Falcons fourth-down try, the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 15-0 on a JJ Vallejo 36-yard field goal with 1:23 left in the first. The drive’s highlight was a Wyatt Hurt 27-yard completion to William Baker to get Priceville into scoring position.
The Falcons cut into the Priceville lead with 9:16 left in the second quarter when they scored on an eight-yard run to make it 15-7.
Burton scored his third touchdown on a 50-yard run to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 22-7. With the 50-yard run, he topped the 5,000th career yard mark.
St. John Paul II scored twice in the final 2:15 of the first half to cut the Bulldog lead to 22-17 heading into halftime.
Burton finished the first half with 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
“I thought we came out early on and were firing on all cylinders,” said Priceville Coach Chris Foster. “We had a couple of mistakes in the first half that kept them in the game.”
The Falcons took their first lead of the game, 23-22, with 7:18 left in the third quarter on a 20-yard pass completion.
JPII extended its lead to 29-22 on a 24-yard run with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs tied the game at 29-29 on their following possession when Hurt connected with Xander Gaines for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 3:15 left in the game.
With the game tied 29-29 at the end of regulation, it headed to overtime.
On fourth and three, Gaines took the handoff and dove to get the ball across the goal line to give Priceville a 35-29 lead.
Tyler Cappi ended the game when he batted a Falcons’ pass and then hauled it in for an interception.
“We struggled to find some footing offensively early in the second half, but luckily our defense kept us in the game long enough for the offense to find pay dirt,” said Foster. “Our guys kept battling once we got to overtime and pulled out the win.”
Burton finished the game with 266 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with 5,086 yards rushing and 61 rushing touchdowns for his career.
“Jerry is a special young man and as humble of a high school football player that I have met,” said Foster. “He has been the main focal point offensively for our offense the past two years. We will miss him for not only the things he did on the field but also everything he did outside of football.”
Priceville (6-4) finishes with its second consecutive winning season under Foster. His two-year record of 14-8 is the best two-year record for any Priceville coach to start his career. The last time the Bulldogs had consecutive winning seasons was in 2006 and 2007 under Donald Weeks.
“I am just really proud of the seniors and the fact they were able to finish off back–to–back winning seasons,” said Foster.