Seven Lake Travis alumni will take the field at Gerald J. Ford Stadium Friday night on ESPN for the start of the college football season.
Cavaliers head coach Hank Carter will have to settle for watching the game on DVR as he’ll be busy coaching his Cavaliers that night in their season opener against Converse Judson at home.
“That’s awesome,” Carter said. “I wish I was going to get to watch it live. I’m really proud of those guys.”
Among those seven former Cavaliers (five for Tech, two for SMU) are the last four quarterbacks that led the program to five state championships — SMU senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert and redshirt freshman dual-threat wide receiver/running back Collin Lagasse, and Texas Tech freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield and sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer.
From 2006 to 2012, those four quarterbacks compiled a combined record of 94-8.
“Garrett, my first year here, was going into his senior year,” Carter said. “He was the best high school football player I’d ever seen. He made every pass and was a great runner. He was a leader and a great kid, fantastic on and off the field. He led the team to two state championships. Brewer is not as big a guy but comes from a great line of football. He led us to back to back state championships. Michael was a little more elusive. He’s definitely very skilled. He’s a fantastic competitor.
Collin was a do-it-all guy for us. He’s a very strong, fast agile kid. He threw the ball well, but we knew his strength was more in running the ball. Baker actually came in when Collin got hurt the fourth play of the season. He went in and went off. Baker won a state championship as a junior. He’s a mix of Michael and Garrett. He’s not as big but has a strong arm and is a great competitor.”
Joining the previous high school quarterbacks are all current Red Raiders – senior punter Ryan Erxleben, junior kicker Kramer Fyfe and freshman wide receiver Zach Austin.
“I was hoping someone would ask me (what made Lake Travis quarterbacks so good) sooner or later,” Erxleben said. “I don’t know what it is. I think Todd Reesing and even guys before he did, he was a quarterback at Kansas, he just kind of set the tone for running the spread offense and throwing the ball around. I guess kids growing up saw that and just took on that role. It seems like we’ve had a great quarterback every year.”
When asked if he ever thought about playing quarterback, Erxleben laughed.
“Me, no,” he said. “I was in the class with Garrett Gilbert, and he was a beast. I decided I wanted to hit people so I went on the defensive side.”
Quarterback or not, Lake Travis players keep in touch with each other, even after graduation.
“It makes me feel best whenever colleges are on holidays because my office is full of former players,” Carter said. “They come back and are working out and lifting in our facility and are around our kids. It’s a neat thing. We’re like a big family. The guys continue to stay a part of the program and that’s pretty special. It’s neat to know I had that kind of impact, when at the age of 22 guys still come back to see you.”
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