Lake Travis opens district play with rebuilding San Marcos

Lake Travis will open District 26-6A play Friday night looking to do something it’s never done before: defeat San Marcos.

The teams spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons as district rivals, and San Marcos handled Lake Travis two of its most lopsided losses over that span. The Rattlers won the 2000 game 48-0 over what would become Lake Travis’ first playoff team and won 48-7 the following year. San Marcos reached the 4A Area playoffs in each season.

But this isn’t the early 2000s.

Lake Travis (1-0) welcomes a San Marcos team coming off consecutive 1-9 seasons. New coach John Walsh won two state championships during his stay at Denton Guyer and comes to San Marcos after taking his final Guyer team to the 6A, Division 2 title game [a 24-0 loss to Westlake]. Walsh is no stranger to success, but it may take time to get the Rattlers turned around. San Marcos (1-1) did taste victory last week, nipping Lockhart when Kannon Webb caught Isaiah DeLeon’s Hail Mary pass.

The Rattlers are still developing in Walsh’s image, but last week’s win gave the team a shot in the arm. They’ll use that confidence – and the running of Kanui Guidry (225 yards per game) – to give Lake Travis their best shot.

“They have some skill players that do some good things, and I’m impressed with their running back,” Lake Travis coach Hank Carter said. “He can make things happen when it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot there for him.”

Guidry won’t be the only dangerous running back on the field. Lake Travis put its top three running backs on display last week while running wild against Westwood. Weston Stephens (12 carries for 128 yards with 2 TDs), Marcelo Alanis (7-89, 2 TDs) and Gary Gordon (7-93, 2 TDs) helped the Cavaliers rush for 371 yards, the most in a single game since 2015, when the Cavaliers ran for 397 yards against Waco Midway.

“I’ve said it for a while, but we have never been as deep at running back as we are this year,” Carter said following the season-opening win.

The 2015 team, which reached the state championship game, rushed for more than 300 yards three times, including back to back games against Anderson (378 yards) and Austin High (407). In that win over Austin High, the Cavaliers had four players rush for at least 71 yards but none who topped the 100-yard mark.

While the run game certainly eased sophomore quarterback Bo Edmundson’s mind as he started in place of injured senior Nate Yarnell, Carter’s already taking a big-picture approach to the season – and the Cavaliers’ physicality.

“The teams that we’ve had that have been special, they were all talented but they had a chance because they were physical,” he said. “6A, Division I football is the heavyweight championship league, and we need to be physical to be in the hunt.”

Behind an offensive line that starts five players weighing more than 250 pounds, Lake Travis overwhelmed Westwood with physicality and aggression. Against a San Marcos team that will play in the physical style of a coach who’s been in plenty of big games, Carter wants to see his team take another step.

“I want to see us keep getting more physical,” he said. “I think we already check that box [that we can be very physical], but we have to be smart about it and execute in the moment at a really high level. That’s what I want to see from us.”