Long before he became the starting quarterback of Lake Travis’ football team, Charlie Brewer took his lumps from some of the bigger kids in his neighborhood.
As a 9- and 10-year-old, Brewer sometimes hung out with a group of the older fellas. Among them were a trio of future Lake Travis quarterbacks: Garrett Gilbert, Baker Mayfield and Charlie’s older brother Michael.
“We were a little bit rougher on Charlie than we needed to be,” Michael said this week, speaking by phone from his apartment in Blacksburg, Va., where he and his teammates at Virginia Tech have been preparing for the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26.
Expanding on Michael’s comments, Robert Brewer recalled his sons roughhousing outside, with Charlie battling to keep up with boys who frequently were a foot taller than he was.
“Charlie would come home with a bloody lip, snot coming out his nose, stickers all over him after being bumped into the bushes,” said Robert, who, like his father, Charles, was a starting quarterback for Texas.
Intentional or not, the bumps and bruises served as Charlie’s initiation into an exclusive club. Now a junior at Lake Travis, he has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in Central Texas while helping lead the Cavaliers to the brink of a sixth UIL state championship.
On Saturday night, Lake Travis will face Katy for the Class 6A, Division II title at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Brewer (6 feet 1 inch, 175 pounds) grew up during the Cavaliers’ run of five straight Class 4A state title years in 2007-11. While Michael was directing Lake Travis to two of those titles, Charlie was on the sideline as a ballboy.
“I would see the success Michael was having at Lake Travis and remember that I wanted to be part of that, too,” Charlie said. “My brother has played a big part in the success I’ve had, and so has my dad. They both have been real helpful without trying to push me.”
Behind Brewer, Lake Travis’ offense has averaged 45 points through five playoff victories this fall. Over that span, Brewer has thrown for 13 touchdowns against two interceptions and averaged 243 yards passing per game.
“Charlie’s got that football thing in him,” Cavaliers receiver Cade Brewer said. “It’s in his blood.”
Robert Brewer was named MVP of the 1982 Cotton Bowl after guiding Texas to a 14-12 victory over Alabama. Last season, Michael Brewer led Virginia Tech to an early season upset of Ohio State, the eventual national champion.
On Saturday, though, all eyes will be on Charlie. Michael, who has never seen his younger brother play in high school, will watch the Lake Travis-Katy contest on TV. He said he’s followed Lake Travis games online, picturing Charlie making plays in his mind.
Michael, who recently earned his master’s degree in instructional technology management, recalled how proud he was to listen to the broadcast of Lake Travis’ 35-14 victory over Westlake on Oct. 23.
“I was nervous for Charlie that night,” Michael said. “I know all about the good job that coach (Todd) Dodge has done at Westlake. It was really exciting for him. He played lights-out in the second half.”
Charlie, who has a scholarship offer from SMU, is expected to become the sixth straight Lake Travis quarterback to play for an NCAA Division I program. One of his best friends is Mayfield, the Oklahoma quarterback who finished fourth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy. They text each other and talk on the phone occasionally.
“Baker has taken Charlie under his wing,” Robert Brewer said. “He recently sent a photo of him eating with coach (Bob) Stoops.”
On Saturday, Charlie Brewer hopes to join Gilbert, Mayfield and Michael as quarterbacks who earned state championship rings.
Charlie’s goal is to match the two championship rings Michael earned as the starting QB for the Cavs in 2009 and 2010.
“We’ve jawed back and forth,” Michael said. “Charlie tells me this year’s Lake Travis team would beat any of the Lake Travis teams I played on. The important thing is that it’s his show now.”
CLASS 6A, DIVISION II FINAL
Lake Travis (15-0) vs. Katy (15-0)
8 p.m. Saturday (NRG Stadium, Houston)
Tickets: $12. Note: On-site parking costs $15.
STATE FINAL APPEARANCES
Lake Travis (6): 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015 (Record: 5-0)
Katy (14): 1959, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 (Record: 7-6)