You can forgive Austin (Texas) Lake Travis High if they channel a little Rodney Dangerfield over the coming weeks. After all, the concept that a four-time (yes, four-time) defending Texas Class 4A state champion could enter a new season without receiving a single first-place vote in the state's Class 4A AP football poll is more than a little slight to the program's extended dominance.
Yet, despite the fact that Lake Travis' voting miss defies all statistical and polling logic, that's precisely what's facing the Cavaliers as they enter the 2011 season. While the team will once again look to replace an extremely talented quarterback -- Michael Brewer graduated in 2011 after following in the footsteps of current University of Texas passer Garrett Gilbert -- the young signal caller to fill that void got plenty of experience while his predecessor was injured during the 2010 season.
As RivalsHigh senior analyst Dallas Jackson points out, the fact that Lake Travis' new quarterback, Colin Lagasse (pictured at right), has already committed to join June Jones' pass, pass and pass some more offense at SMU next season only contributes to the general notion that he can probably sling the ball effectively for Lake Travis.
Interestingly, Jackson himself wouldn't rank Lake Travis as the top team in Texas' Class 4A, according to his current RivalsHigh 100 rankings. Lake Travis enters the season in the RivalsHigh100's number 38 slot, behind fellow Texas Class 4A contender Aledo (Texas) High (which is at number 22). In a fitting piece of scheduling genius, the teams will get to prove who really deserves to be the top ranked team in their class shortly after getting out of the gate, with the two teams scheduled to face off on September 9.
That might be comforting for the AP's voters, yet it hardly justifies the notion that every single one of them agree that Aledo is currently the better squad. In fact, most of them seem to believe that Denton (Texas) Ryan, ranked number 86 in the first RivalsHigh 100, is also better than Lake Travis.
"Our kids have come out and exceeded our expectations each year," Lake Travis head coach Hank Carter told Jackson. "So to think we wouldn't do that again this year may not be giving them enough credit for the work they put in. We will be young but I expect us to be very good."
For a normal program, none of those polling decisions would necessarily be out of order. In fact, they might not even be surprising. Lake Travis is not a normal team, and starting them off behind the proverbial eight ball could only mean bad things -- i.e., a very motivated Cavaliers team come September 9 -- for Aledo and other Class 4A contenders going forward.
- Lake Travis