Lake Travis senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert is spearheading the Cavs' effort at back-to-back Class 4A state titles. But he's also always linked to his Texas commitment as a focal point for the Class of '09 to be signed in February.
Gilbert's two worlds collide 2 p.m. Saturday when Lake Travis (13-0) plays Killeen (9-4) at Royal-Memorial Stadium. It'll be Gilbert's first official game on Longhorns' turf, but he and the Cavs are trying not to make it more than a nice place to play.
Gilbert, in fact, was out Monday night for a study group _ academics not game video.
"I think the team has the attitude that this is just another place to try and go win a football game," said Garrett's father Gale, who also coaches Lake Travis' summer 7-on-7 teams. "Our receiver, Cade McCray's dad (Hardee McCrary) used to be a Texas assistant coach under Coach (Mack) Brown and I think he may have helped things."
Gilbert will be making his Royal debut along with Cavs senior offensive lineman Paden Kelley, another highly rated Longhorns' commit for '09. And if all goes well, Gilbert will be getting his chance to play at Texas A&M next week. A 4A Division I semifinal with the winner between Friendswood (10-1) and Beaumont Central (9-3) meeting the LT-Killeen winner is set for 2 p.m. Dec. 13 (Saturday) at Kyle Field.
Royal-Memorial Stadium isn't available often during the state playoffs. It'll be Lake Travis' first game there. Lake Travis is just a few miles west of Royal-Memorial and the Cavs' neighborhood rival Austin Westlake has played a few games at Memorial Stadium over the years.
First-year Lake Travis coach Chad Morris said it was a mutually agreed site with Killeen coach Sam Jones when it's availability became known. Lake Travis beat Killeen, 50-9, in a District 25-4A game Sept. 26 at Lake Travis.
For Morris, the focal point of the week is convincing the Cavs that beating a team earlier in the season doesn't mean it's an automatic to happen again.
"I told the team that I haven't done too well beating the same team twice in the same season," said Morris, in his first year at Lake Travis after being at Stephenville. "We (Stephenville) beat Wichita Falls Rider for two years but lost to them in the playoffs.
"Teams change during the year and I think our kids can see that Killeen is a much different team than the one we played earlier."
Morris said Lake Travis plans no weekday walkthroughs at Royal-Memorial to get adjusted to the setting. But the Cavs will arrive at the stadium about 30 minutes earlier Saturday to get a good feel for their environment.
Gilbert continues to amass monster numbers with a high-octane offense. In leading Lake Travis to a 28-1 record the last two years, Gilbert has passed for 8,698 yards and 96 touchdowns while completing 596 of 901 attempts.
Record watch Career TD passes 167 Graham Harrell, Ennis 2000-03 125 Garrett Gilbert Lake Travis 2006-present 116 Colt McCoy Jim Ned 2002-04
Career completions 970 Drew Tate Baytown Lee 1999-02 829 Garrett Gilbert Lake Travis 2006-present
Career attempts 1576 Drew Tate Baytown Lee 1999-02 1277 Garrett Gilbert Lake Travis 2006-present
Single-season records Yards 1. 4,827 Garrett Gilbert Lake Travis 2007 Attempts 1. 556 Garrett Gilbert Lake Travis 2007 Single-season completions 1. 360 Garrett Gilbert Lake Travis 2007