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December 22, 2010

Lake Travis on historic run

Matt Stepp,
Senior Analyst, TheOldCoach.com

Email questions or comments to: mstepp@theoldcoach.com
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Heading into Saturday afternoon's Class 4A Division I State Championship Game against 15-0 Denton Ryan, Lake Travis, the three time defending state champions, found themselves in an unfamiliar spot, some considered the Cavaliers as the underdog.

That role didn't sit too well with the Cavs who felt they were disrespected by many in the media, especially in the DFW area.

Behind defensive MVP, Austin Williams, the Cavaliers put forth an inspired effort and cruised to their fourth straight state title with the 27-7 win over Denton Ryan.

Winning a fourth consecutive championship is history making in and of itself, but when you dig into the numbers the streak Lake Travis has gone on has been simply amazing.

Lake Travis is the first ever program above the 3A level in Texas high school football history to win four consecutive state crowns. The Cavaliers join an elite group of teams who have won four consecutive championships in lower levels.

There have been only two other programs to accomplish the feat. Sealy in Class 3A from 1994-1997 and Celina in Class 2A from 1998-2001 hold that achievement.

The Lake Travis accomplishment seems even more impressive when you consider that the Cavaliers have had three different head coaches during that four year period.

Prior to 2004, Lake Travis had four winning seasons in its history. In 2007, Jeff Dicus, who took the Lake Travis program from perennial loser to champions, won the school's first crown finishing 15-1.

Chad Morris came over from Stephenville in the spring of 2008 and built his mark on that championship foundation, winning two more state titles and leaving Lake Travis with a perfect 32-0 record after two seasons.

In Morris' last game, Lake Travis beat Longview 24-17 to secure the Cavaliers' 46th consecutive victory and their third straight state championship. Morris left soon after to take the offensive coordinator position at the University of Tulsa.

Longtime Morris assistant Hank Carter took the reins in the spring of 2010. Carter had proven himself a capable coordinator and was the popular choice for program continuity.

Under Carter the Cavaliers saw their 48 game winning streak at home end, but despite battling injuries the Cavs finished the regular season at 8-2 and then reeled off six playoff wins en route to the state crown.

The 48 game winning streak that was stopped this season ranks among the most impressive runs in state history. But Lake Travis also sports a remarkable playoff streak at 24 consecutive wins. Only Celina, who won 25 straight playoff games from 1998-2002, has a longer string of wins. The Cavaliers have a chance to shatter what was once thought an unbreakable record in 2011.

Another obscure trivial fact about the incredible run Lake Travis has produced? Last summer the Cavaliers won the championship at the Texas State 7 on 7 tournament held at Texas A&M.

The Cavaliers joined Celina, who in 2000 and 2005, took home the 7 on 7 championship and the UIL football crown in the same calendar season. Tyler Lee performed the double feat in 2004.

Although Lake Travis graduates quite possibly their most decorated senior class in school history, this is now a program that is in the mold of Highland Park, Katy and several others statewide that have the expectation of not rebuilding but simply reloading.




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