The Battle of the Lakes played out like a true rivalry between two great teams as Westlake and Lake Travis traded blows in a heavyweight bout that went down to the wire. In the end, the Cavaliers came out barely ahead in a 26-25 triumph Friday at Cavalier Stadium in Lakeway, TX
“We would answer, then they would answer,” said Lake Travis senior quarterback Hudson Card. “Those are the games that we look forward to. Being a rivalry and a one-point game, it’s crazy. I’m just happy with the way we fought and came out victorious.”
Card passed, ran, caught and kicked his team to victory in an all-around performance for the ages. He completed 20-of-31 passes for 224 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against a Westlake defense that wasn’t making it easy on him.
He also led the Cavs in rushing, caught a key third-down pass on Lake Travis’s game-winning touchdown drive, and pinned a punt inside the five, which was followed by a game-changing safety.
The play everyone will remember, however, is the go-ahead touchdown pass to Grayson Sandlin. Facing 2nd & goal from the 9, Card threw a fade on an option route to the 6-foor-4 Sandlin, and Sandlin (11 catches, 99 yards) came down with it even as Westlake all-district cornerback Leo Lowin was all over him.
“I just knew the way he was playing me all game, I knew Hudson would put it where I needed it. That’s all it took,” Sandlin said. “It’s incredible… It’s the best feeling in the world, honestly.”
After getting dominated in the trenches last year, Lake Travis matched Westlake’s physicality and shut down the Chaps’ offense in a first half that had few fireworks beside a 30-yard touchdown pass from Card to senior Kyle Eaves (five catches, 89 yards, two touchdowns). Card rolled right, got the entire Chap defense to move with him, and then launched a ball downfield to a wide-open Eaves on the opposite side of the field.
“We just installed a lot of stuff early in the week to stop their run and it was working,” said senior Lake Travis linebacker Maui Traveino. “They told us to be physical and do that and it was working… Last year we definitely were not being physical enough and this year the seniors really stepped up.”
Westlake made some key halftime adjustments, however, and opened the second half with back-to-back touchdown marches to take a 17-10 lead. The Cavs picked back up some momentum when Raleigh Erwin and Trey Wright met at the quarterback on a zero blitz for a safety. Eaves got behind the Westlake defense on a play-action pass the next possession to put Lake Travis back ahead 19-17.
The Chaps got a third second-half touchdown when sophomore Cade Klubnik hit senior Jackson Coker over the middle for a 20-yard score, but with all the chips on the table in the final minutes, came up short on a 43-yard field goal.
“We finished the half with a lot of momentum and then they took the third quarter and owned it,” said Lake Travis coach Hank Carter. “In the fourth quarter we got it going a little bit and luckily were able to finish with the win.”
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