This month's tale revolves around a running back that came from Bentonville High School via Smackover to begin his dominance in the SWC. His name was Bill Burnett and he played running back alongside quarterback Bill Montgomery.
In the early '60s, Clell Burnett moved his family from the small town of Smackover, AR where he had been a successful high school football coach winning the state football championship in 1943 behind the running of another great future Razorback running back, Clyde "Smackover" Scott, to another small town a few miles north of Fayetteville where he would teach both math and physics. The small community of Bentonville would allow the family to be close to Bill's older brothers Tommy and Bobby who both played for Frank Broyles and the Razorbacks in the years around and including the 1964 National Championship team.
Bill's high school career began in the 9th grade when he found himself starting at the guard position on the offensive line. Bentonville High School was not the dominate team that it is now. At the time when Bill was in the 9th grade, the facilities and money had not found its way to Northwest Arkansas. During these early years of his career, the football stands for the fans amounted to moving the bleachers from the baseball field and placing them in the outfield. The remainder of the outfield would then become the gridiron. This was Bentonville High School football. Much like what was found in other small towns around the state of Arkansas at the time.
During his first high school game, he was designated as one of the two guards on the offensive line. However sometime in the first half, the starting running back was injured and Bill was then moved from his guard position to the backfield. Throughout the remainder of the first half, he was never to carry the ball.
Things would be different when at the beginning of the second half fans would find the emergence of the running back that would become the leading running back in Bentonville High School history. During the second half, Bill would carry the ball seven times, scoring on six. After this, Bill Burnett would never again play guard on the offensive line. Bentonville had now found its running back!
During his career the Hogs had a record of 28 wins and only 5 losses (3 times against Texas-Texas once again shows up as spoiler). Bill still holds the single season scoring record of 120 points scored in 1969 on 20 touchdowns based on 209 carries for 900 yards. He also holds the career scoring record of 294 points from 1968 through 1970. Throughout his career, he scored 49 touchdowns and rushed for 2,204 yards on 526 carries. What a legend! As one of the true legends in Razorback football history, he has been selected as a member of the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor. With his selection in 1996, Bill along with Clell, and Bobby make up the only football family honored with three members belonging to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. In the classroom, Bill was no slacker either, after having been selected as an Academic All-American for his efforts there.
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Razorback Red written by J. Paul Scott,
performed by The Rivermen