84° F Friday, July 28, 2017
Jacob Pate reacts after seeing Lake Travis' season come to a sudden, shocking close.

Jacob Pate reacts after seeing Lake Travis' season come to a sudden, shocking close.

By Jay Plotkin

By the slimmest of margins, Pflugerville held on to defeat Lake Travis 23-20 Friday night, ending the Cavaliers’ run of five consecutive state championships and 30 consecutive playoff wins.

Lake Travis senior quarterback Baker Mayfield fought back tears as he described his feelings after the game.

“This is the worst feeling I’ve ever felt,” he said. “The whole weight of five years of perfection. Some good things have to end and it ended right now and it’s nothing that we wanted.”

“I’m hurting for [our guys],” Lake Travis coach Hank Carter said after the game. “I’m so proud of how we played. [Pflugerville] played well. They threw the ball better than we’d seen all year long and that’s a credit to them.”

In a see-saw fourth quarter, both teams made plays when they had to have them in the final four minutes. Lake Travis took a 20-16 lead when Shaun Nixon – back from a knee injury — broke a handful of tackles on a 37-yard touchdown scamper.

Undaunted, Blain Kruemcke drove Pflugerville 49 yards in nine plays after Lake Travis had taken a 20-16 lead on Shaun Nixon’s 37-yard touchdown run with 3:17 left. Kruemcke scrambled for 20 yards to convert a second and long, them made the play of the night. Facing fourth and nine with 59 seconds left, Kruemcke lobbed a screen pass to Brandon Woodward that not only converted the first down but set up Adrian Dilworth’s 2-yard touchdown with 46 seconds left.  It was Woodward’s first catch of the season.

Needing a miracle finish, Lake Travis nearly got it. Mayfield found Tyler Payne twice and then spiked the ball at his own 41-yard line. After a false start – the last of 11 offensive penalties – Mayfield found Grant Foster at midfield. After an incompletion on third and short, Nixon rushed five yards for the first down, but with only eight seconds left, Lake Travis had only one chance.

“We wanted to get the ball to the perimeter and try to get out of bounds to get as many plays as we can, try to get in range where maybe we can chunk one up,” Mayfield explained. “You know what? We had a chance.”

Foster hauled in Mayfield’s Hail Mary pass at the back of the end zone as time expired. Press box replays later showed that Foster’s heel landed in the end zone but the front half of his foot landed on the end line. The back judge – in the ideal position to make the call – immediately and emphatically ruled the catch out of bounds, leaving the Pflugerville sideline celebrating an improbable but well-earned upset and the Lake Travis sideline in utter disbelief.

“I don’t know. I haven’t seen the replay,” Mayfield said. “Maybe he caught it, maybe he didn’t. I don’t know.”

For all the drama in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers simply made too many mistakes to overcome. Aside from the 11 penalties, the Cavaliers committed three turnovers, one of which led to a Pflugerville field goal. Two of the turnovers came on snaps that sailed over Mayfield’s head, one of which lost 36 yards on a punt attempt. The Panthers turned that mistake into Josh Ianno’s 24-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the third quarter.

“We just kind of ran out of gas, made too many mistakes,” Carter said.

Under constant pressure throughout the game, Mayfield made big play after big play and nearly pulled another rabbit out of his hat. He completed 13 of 27 passes for 150 yards with an early interception but rushed for 133 yards on 16 carries despite being sacked five times. In the end, he said, Pflugerville’s pressure kept the Cavaliers off-balance.

Nixon, in his first game back from a knee injury, rushed 13 times for 84 yards.

“They were big boys up front and they got through the line,” he said. “It hurt us with our timing and we couldn’t get the ball out in space. Nothing clicked tonight.”

Lake Travis led 7-0 in the second quarter when Mayfield went 60 yards for a score on a quarterback draw. Pflugerville answered immediately. Jay Bird returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards, and three plays later Clarence Guidry scored from a yard out. Josh Ianno’s extra point missed, and Lake Travis clung to a 7-6 lead late into the third quarter.

Ianno’s field goal gave his team its first lead, but the Cavaliers responded. On fourth down at their own 43, Mayfield ran another draw for 55 yards to the Panther 2-yard-line and scored on the next play for a 13-9 lead. The Panthers responded, using a 49-yard screen to Adrian Dilworth to get close before Dilworth, who bulled his way to 65 yards on 22 carries, scored from a yard out with 7:03 left, setting the stage for the final, frenetic moments.

Box score:

Pflugerville         0              6              3              14 – 23

Lake Travis          0              7              0              13 – 20

Scoring:
LT-Baker Mayfield 60 run (Kevin Marcotte kick)

PV-Clarence Guidry 1 run (kick failed)

PV-Josh Ianno 24 field goal

LT-Mayfield 2 run (run failed)

PV-Adrian Dilworth 1 run (Ianno kick)

LT-Shaun Nixon 37 run (Marcotte kick)

PV-Dilworth 2 run (Ianno kick)

Team stats          PV          LT

 First downs        13           13

Rushes-yards     48-100   33-168

Passing Yards     158         150

Passing 9-14-0   13-27-1

Fumbles-lost      0-0          2-2

Penalties-Yards 7-60       11-60

Punts-Avg 7-36.8              6-34.5

Individual stats

Rushing:

LT: Mayfield 16-133, 2TD; Nixon 13-84, TD; Chayce Pannell 1-4; team 3-(minus 53)

PV: Dilworth 22-65, 2 TD; Guidry 10-12, TD; Preston Iloka 6-23; Blain Kruemcke 6-1; Jay Bird 3-14; team 1-(minus 14)

Passing:

LT: Mayfield 13-27-1-150

PV: Kruemcke 8-13-0-152; Jacob Sowell 1-1-0-6

Receiving:

LT: Nixon 4-9; Tyler Payne 3-55; Grant Foster 2-48; Dominic Packer 2-6; Preston Dupre 1-16; Zach Joiner 1-16

PV: Caleb Horton 2-34; Guidry 2-30; Noah Menke 2-20; Dilworth 1-49; Brandon Woodward 1-19; Iloka 1-6

Comments

  1. Steve Jones says:

    I have been a big Cavalier fan for five years, and I have to say that I am impressed by this year’s team. This team may have faced more adversity than any other, but never let it overcome them. They believed in themselves until the last second of the last game. I am impressed. Hold your heads up guys, you still have my respect and admiration.

  2. Keep you heads high Lake Travis!

    For a half a decade we have been successfully executing in critical situations, whether it was stripping a ball loose from an opposing player on the way to end zone, returning a punt, getting a goal line stand or holding on fourth down, a deep pass when we were behind or a key interception. Last night it was our opponent that executed on the game’s critical play. We have been remarkably injury free for the last five years, particulary during the playoffs, but finally injuries caught up with us. We have sent 30 teams in row home with their dreams of state championship crushed, only today it is our turn. We have not played our best in every playoff game but somehow managed to survive and get better and peak during the championship game, but not last night. All of those intangibles have to be in place to win a state championship, that is why it is such an accomplishment, and why what Lake Travis football has accomplished is so rare and not likely to be repeated in my lifetime. Yesterday’s game, if anything, should remind us to cherish those rings and trophys, and to realize what an enormous achievement they were.

    In what was our most challenging season in a half decade, you never stopped fighting, you never quit, you pulled out win after win on sheer desire. You lost two games by a total of five points to very solid teams that played their best games of the season, while perhaps not playing our best, and still it came down to one half of a size 9 shoe being out of bounds, to keep us from winning.

    Seniors, most of you leave with a 25-3 record , a state championship and a district championship, things 95% of high school football players can only dream of.

    I suspect that there are a slew of sohpmores and juniors that will remember last night, the pain that was felt, and come in to spring ball with a new appreciaton for winning. I feel sorry for our district next year! Congratulations on a great season! We are all so proud of you!

Leave a Reply