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Cavaliers and Chaps: a series recap

Series History with recaps

2006: the Great Lakes Shootout

Central Texas football fans can thank Chick-fil-A proprietors Alan Williams and Darryl Zavodny for putting their heads together to help Lake Travis and Westlake begin a football rivalry. Williams, a Lake Travis parent who established the Chick-fil-A in Westlake, and Zavody, who operates the Chick-fil-A in Bee Cave, created a trophy that still goes to the winner. Okay, Westlake coach Derek Long and Lake Travis coach Jeff Dicus deserve credit for agreeing to play as well. Thanks to future NFL stars Nick Foles and Justin Tucker, the trophy went home to Westlake after the Chaps pulled away with a 37-14 win. The Chaps went on to fall to Todd Dodge’s Southlake Carroll in the state championship game.

2007: the one that got a way

In what would become an improbable state championship season, turnovers plagued Lake Travis in a 28-21 loss at Westlake. The Chaps opened up a 14-0 lead before Lake Travis stormed back with touchdown passes from Garrett Gilbert to Jason Bird and Cade McCrary and an interception return by Sean Robinson to lead at the half, but turnovers killed the Cavaliers. Gilbert threw four interceptions, including one in the end zone late in the game as the Cavaliers tried to tie. Little did anyone know at the time that the Cavaliers would pull things together and become a state championship team. The lasting image came from Lake Travis coach Dicus, who knelt in the end zone in tears following the game.

“We had opportunities there at the end and we just didn’t cash in,” he said later. “But, it made us regroup and made us understand that we can be beat if we don’t take things seriously, work harder and do the little things that were necessary.”

The Cavaliers won their final 14 games to win the school’s first football title.

2008: satisfaction at last

Back in Westlake, the Cavaliers finally tasted victory in the series. With new coach Chad Morris and a team that returned almost its entire championship nucleus, Lake Travis dominated from the start. Gilbert shook off his 4-interception performance from 2007 and rushed for three scores while adding another through the air, and Lake Travis rolled to a 38-17 win. Defensively the Cavaliers controlled things, forcing three turnovers and sacking Westlake quarterbacks three times. The Cavaliers rolled through a perfect season to win their second straight title.

2009: Brew Crew

Lake Travis evened the series with a convincing win in 2009. Michael Brewer took over the offense and led the Cavaliers to a 28-7 lead after three quarters, rushing for two scores and hitting Connor Floyd for a 48-yard score en route to a 42-21 win. Brewer finished with three rushing touchdowns but 422 passing yards. Both Floyd and Andy Erickson totaled more than 160 receiving yards, getting behind the Westlake defense to set up short touchdown runs. Once again the Cavaliers ran the table, finishing 16-0 to win their third straight 4A title. Westlake regrouped after the loss and reached the 5A, Division I title game, falling to Euless Trinity in overtime.

2010: Costly victory

Playing for the first time to open the season, more than 30,000 fans flocked to DKR to see Lake Travis rally for a 32-21 win. Floyd, Lake Travis’ all-state receiver, broke his leg while blocking on Cameron Wrinkle’s go-ahead touchdown run and missed the next 13 games. Westlake led 15-10 at the half in Hank Carter’s debut as Lake Travis coach, and Floyd’s injury, though it came on a play that finally gave the Cavaliers the lead, took things from bad to worse. But the Cavaliers persevered. Tyler Paulsen capped the win with a 25-yard interception return.

“The defense figured it out and we came away with the win in that game,” Carter said later, “but still, losing Connor, that was tough.”

Despite two losses, Lake Travis won its fourth straight 4A title.

2011: Shake and bake

Another season opener, another key Lake Travis injury. Senior quarterback Colin Lagasse injured a shoulder five plays in, opening the door for Baker Mayfield. The junior didn’t miss a beat.

“Here comes Baker,” Carter said later.

Mayfield hit the ground running, He passed for 278 yards, completing 14 in a row after missing his first one, and rushed for 94 more, leading Lake Travis to a 35-7 domination. The Cavaliers would finish 16-0 and win their record fifth straight 4A title.

2012: Hail Grant

Westlake played a near perfect game, and two fourth-quarter plays by Lake Travis ruined the Chaparrals’ night. Leading 11-7 with less than four minutes left and his team facing fourth down and short from the Cavalier 5-yard line, Chaps coach Darren Allman kept his offense on the field to try for the first down that would ice the win. But the Lake Travis defense rose up and stuffed the try. Two plays later, Mayfield scrambled in his end zone and lofted a long pass over the Westlake defense that Grant Foster ran under and took 96 yards for a shocking game-winner for Lake Travis. The win gave the Cavaliers the District 15-5A title but Pflugerville ended Lake Travis’ championship streak in the opening round of the playoffs.

2013: Another comeback

For the second straight year, Westlake all but dominated the game, leading 27-14 heading into the fourth quarter before Lake Travis took over. Dominic De Lira found Tyler Payne for a touchdown to cut the lead in half. The Cavalier defense forced a quick Westlake punt, and Shaun Nixon went to work. The senior carried the ball eight times on a 10-play drive that ended with him punching in the winner from a yard out with 4 minutes left. The defense forced another three-and-out and the offense ran out the clock.

“We came out and talked to the linemen,” Nixon said. “We told them we had to put the hats on ‘em and get out there and get to work. We powered them downhill and it paid off for us.”

The Cavaliers reached the state semifinals before falling to eventual champ Cedar Hill.