Lone Star Gridiron

Cavaliers Move on to Face Katy

Garrett Wilson, Roel Sanchez

photo: Garrett Wilson (Lake Travis), Roel Sanchez (O'Connor)

Lake Travis Downs O'Connor 38-17

In game two of the tripleheader at the Alamodome, the home-team Northside O'Connor Cougars showed up with about three times as many fans as the defending Class 6A DI State Champion Austin Lake Travis Cavaliers at kickoff. Those numbers would come closer to even by the end of the first quarter.

Lake Travis opened up the game with a passing frenzy and balanced it nicely with a couple of runs to keep the Cougars honest. The drive featured many overthrown balls by Matthew Baldwin but also too many penalties by O'Connor. The result? After it was all said and done, the Cavaliers punched it in on a 3 yard TD run by Baldwin. With 7:30 to go in the first quarter, the Cavaliers led 7-0.

O'Connor responded with some trickery. After being stopped on their first 3 plays, a fake punt set the Cougars up with first and ten at the 49. From there marched down the field to the 9 where the Cavaliers stopped them and forced a 26 yard field goal my Michael Lyssy. With 2:31 left in the opening quarter, Lake Travis led 7-3.

Lake Travis began at their own 18 and were unable to make any headway. Facing fourth and inches a their 27 however, they chose to go for it and succeeded. On the very next play however, Baldwin coughed up the ball and Conner Callahan fell it on giving the Cougars first down on the 34.

The Cougars took the gift possession and just when it looked like the drive was ended, Roel Sanchez scrambled to the 7 yard line. He followed that up with a dive to the 2 and finally the score. With 10:08 remaining in the second quarter, the Cougars led the Cavaliers 10-7 to the delight of the majority in the Astrodome.

The Cavs took over on their 33 where Kyle Wakefield, Garrett Wilson, Carson Cross and Matthew Baldwin moved the ball mainly on the ground down to the 4 where they faced 4th and 2. The Cavaliers settled for a 20 yard Cameron Dicker field goal to even the score at 10 all with 6:07 to go in the half.

The Cougars took over deep in their own territory at the 4. Showing amazing poise, Sanchez avoided a sack for a safety and on two runs had the ball up to the 26. From there, Treyshaun Patterson rambled up to the 46. The Cavalier defense stepped up and forced them to go 3 and out from there. Again, rather than punt they opted to go for it and the ball went over to the Cavs at their 47 with 2:30 to go in the half.

Austin Lake Travis engineered a series of pinpoint sideline passes to conserve clock and move the ball. The drive ended on a 20 yard pass to Garrett Wilson who was wide open for the TD catch. The drive used only 50 seconds and made it 17-10. The quick score left O'Connor with 1:40 to go before the break. O'Connor made a valiant effort to make something happen but an interception in the endzone ended the scoring in the first half.

The second half saw O'Connor again open up with a drive that seemed destined for a punt. Again, they faked the punt and passed - this time it was dropped. Offsetting penalties forced a replay where a fake certainly wouldn't work. In the end, the punted down to the Cavalier 37.

The Cavs took over with the ball and the lead. Lake Travis drove to the 36 where the executed a sweet reverse to Garrett Wilson for the score. It was called back on holding. Undaunted, Baldwin tossed to a wide-open Wilson for 31 yards and a score on the next play. The Cavalier lead grew to 24-10 with 8:45 to go in the third quarter.

After swapping possessions, the Cougars took over at their 14. The O'Connor fire wasn't out as they put together a nice drive that took them to the 15 yard line to end the quarter. From there, 6 plays later the Cougars' Sanchez punched it in on a 4th and goal at the 1 yard line. With 10:12 remaining in the game, the Lake Travis lead was 24-17.

O'Connor attempted the onside kickoff but Hudson Card recovered it for the Cavaliers at their 38. The Cavaliers made the most of the drive by running the clock down to 6:50 on a drive that included a fourth and inches conversion. The drive ended with more Lake Travis points as Garrett Wilson swung around the right side untouched into the endzone. Lake Travis extended their lead to 31-17.

O'Connor's answer? A drive that started on their 12 came to an end at their 2. They punted out of their own endzone with only 5:28 to go in the game. The ball roll untouched to the Lake Travis 36. The Cavs switched to clock-burn offense and managed to force the Cougars to use all of their timeouts as they ticked the clock down to 1:50 before Dicker missed a field goal to the left.

When it rains, it pours. With no timeouts, the Cougars took over and promptly had a ball stripped by Brayden Roeder who returned it 30 yards for another Cav score. Lake Travis 38-17 with 1:32 to go. O'Connor's next and final possession ended the game.

Lake Travis advances to take on the Katy Tigers in the Semifinal round next week. The first and only meeting between Austin Lake Travis and Katy was they met in the 2015 Class 6A DI Championship. Katy won that one 34-7.

by Chris Doelle

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