Strong start for football

Kristen Smith

Last year, Cedar Park’s football season ended abruptly. With three seconds left in their last playoff game, the Timberwolves took the field to face down a final opponent in overtime play. The only thing keeping Cedar Park from going deeper into the playoffs was a field goal. However, the field goal was kicked short and the Timberwolves were sent packing instead of sending the game into double over time and possibly advancing.

Cedar Park came into spring ball with a chip on their shoulders, but they are determined to prove themselves in the 2010-2011 season. The team has one main goal in mind; making it to the State Championship game.

“It’s been our class’s mindset since seventh grade,” Tyler Chauvin, senior offensive guard, said. “We’re going to state our senior year. If we keep working at it, we know we will achieve it. The team knows that we determine our own destiny.” The State Championship is a lofty goal but Cedar Park is off to a great start, going 8-0 in their first eight games, and beating their opponents by an average of 42 points per game. The way things are going for the Timberwolves, state might not be such a long shot after all. The true tests for the Timberwolves however won’t come until much later in the year. Perhaps the biggest test of all will be against the three time defending state champions, Lake Travis High School.

“We all talk about that game in the locker room,” Ryan Roberts, senior cornerback said. “It’s a district game this year, so it actually matters. It’s not just a pre-district game anymore. And especially after last year’s loss, it left a really bad taste in our mouths.”

Along with the numerous transitions the team is facing, the move down to 4A is something the boys are adjusting to. Instead of facing 5A threats such as Stony Point, the team will receive a whole new batch of schools, including Lake Travis. 4A has numerous tough teams, such as Longview High School who made it to the championship game in 2008 and 2009. Longview is one the teams the Timberwolves could face if they do in fact go deep into the playoffs, and Cedar Park is extremely aware of that. All the gossip about the advantages Cedar Park has over other 4A teams isn’t necessarily true.

“I wouldn’t say moving to 4A gives us any sort of advantage. It’s really obvious that Lake Travis is better than 5A teams; they’ve beaten us the last two years, and Westlake the last three,” Brandon Allen, senior, safety, said. “We’re aware of the teams we’re going to be competing against, and they’re all tough teams.”

Before the district opener, Cedar Park will have the opportunity to fix their inconstancies and reinforce their strengths. Going into the season, pre-season reports complimented the Timberwolves’ offensive and defensive lines. The defensive line is led by Texas Longhorn commit Chet Moss, and Collin Middleton who will play for the Air Force next fall. The offensive line is arguably one of the top in the state with Baylor commit Spencer Drango, Rice commit Matt Wofford, and another Air Force commit Jarrett Hudson all heading up the front seven. Along with those strengths, come weaknesses.  The Timberwolves are focused on making the weakness list shorter, and they recognize that if they want even the slightest chance at a state title, mistakes are inexcusable.

“Although our front seven on both sides of the ball are extremely strong, our pass defense is a little weaker this year. But if all keep working at it, and the defensive line keeps pushing forward we’ll get to the point where we need to be,” Chauvin said.

Something that could weaken opposing defenses is the fact that Cedar Park has two quarterbacks who are both used as threats. Junior Brian Hogan has the legs of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and with those legs, has the tendency to confuse the defensive players trying to stop him. He often leads Cedar Park in rushing yards, and in possibly his most memorable game during the 2009 season against Stony Point, he debuted as the Timberwolves’ quarterback. Alongside Hogan is senior Matt Posey, who has a cannon right arm. His most notable throw perhaps is when he connected with Joe Washington for a huge gain down field, also during the Stony Point game. With these two men under center, other schools understand the threats both quarterbacks give.

“It’s really nice to be able to count on two quarterbacks. They’re both threats and have their individual qualities. They really help the team out,” Roberts said.

Cedar Park has all the ingredients to make a run at state, now it’s just a matter of how and when they use their strengths to their advantage. With all the hype surrounding the state talk, the team aims to remain focused so that their dream of going to state doesn’t slip right through their fingers.