The Lake Travis pregame spirit crew ran from one Alamodome end zone to the other with six flags, one for each state championship.
And if quarterback Matthew Baldwin has anything to say about it, the local seamstress might want to get started on No. 7.
On a day when Cavalier alum Baker Mayfield received college football’s highest individual honor, Lake Travis’ latest field general moved his talented team one step closer to another gold ball.
San Antonio O’Connor was game.
Lake Travis was Lake Travis.
The 38-17 win in Saturday’s Class 6A, Division I regional final sets up an epic showdown with Katy at San Antonio’s Alamo Stadium at 3 p.m. next Saturday.
Baldwin completed 24 of 30 passes for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added another score on a rush. Through three playoff games, he has completed 59 of 77 for 709 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception. He missed the playoff opener against San Antonio Madison with an injury.
Numbers aside, Baldwin didn’t do it alone. Lanky junior speedster Garrett Wilson hauled in two touchdown passes and ran for another while the defense, led by tackle Kade Langston and ball-hawk backs Nathan Parodi and Brayden Roeder, held up strong against an unpredictable opponent that faked two punts, went for it on fourth down deep in its own territory and attempted an onside kick with 10 minutes, 12 seconds to go.
“My offensive line was huge,” Baldwin said. “They gave me time to make some adjustments early. They had a couple of absolute studs on the back end. It was the best secondary we’ve faced since Steele.”
In the end, the 12-2 Cavaliers had all the answers because they had the two best players on the field in Baldwin and Wilson.
“That’s my boy on and off the field,” Wilson said. “We’re with each other. We’ve got that connection every single time. I trust in him, and he trusts in me. It translates to the field.”
Wilson will have his pick of Division I offers, but Baldwin, a senior, will be the one signing first. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder had already committed to Colorado State and was being courted by Texas State and UT-San Antonio, but when Ohio State’s Urban Meyer came calling, he had to change his course.
“Matthew is a great player, and he’s still getting better,” Lake Travis coach Hank Carter said. “He has only 14 starts under his belt. The sky is the limit.”
He isn’t a burner like J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller, though he does have some wheels when called upon to scramble, and he’s already an accomplished passer in the mode of Mayfield by comparison. Recruiting services classify him as a pro-style quarterback, and it’s easy to see why. He has an easy throwing motion, and the ball comes out cleanly and gets there in a hurry.
Lake Travis fans will get at least one more week to enjoy his work, then perhaps another great college career like the one Mayfield has enjoyed.
“Baker has great pride in Lake Travis,” Baldwin said. “He will wear an LT hat in interviews every now and then. He loves it here and comes back here and works out with us and hangs out. A lot of us guys are good friends with Baker.”
Westlake produced the best quarterback in Austin history in Drew Brees and later a good one in Nick Foles, but Lake Travis is the 512’s resident QB factory. Baldwin will be the seventh Cavaliers quarterback to play for a Power Five university over the past 12 years, a list that has Charlie Brewer (Baylor); Michael Brewer (Texas Tech); Dominic De Lira (Iowa State); Garrett Gilbert, a Carolina Panthers backup who won the first of the school’s state titles after splitting time at Texas and SMU; Mayfield; and Todd Reesing (Kansas).
Baldwin is just getting started.
And the Lake Travis QB factory rolls on.