Hudson Card is trying to process a life that’s coming at him at a high velocity.
A 15-year old, he just completed the fall semester of his sophomore year at Lake Travis High. Most teens in his shoes are thankful for the holiday break, a time to be with friends and family. Graduation doesn’t arrive until 2020, an eternity away.
Card, though, is not your ordinary teenager. He’s become a pivotal player this season for the Cavaliers, high school football royalty in Texas. Instead of worrying about last-minute Christmas shopping, he’s preparing for the biggest game of his young life —the Class 6A, Division I final that will match the Cavaliers against unbeaten Allen.
Yes, this has been a fall to remember for Card, who probably needed a name tag when he joined the varsity squad in the spring. So roughly eight months later, why all the fuss about him?
Maybe because Card, a 6-foot-2 170-pounder, has accounted for 23 touchdowns this autumn — 13 receiving, five rushing and five passing. SMU and Arkansas already have offered him athletic scholarships, and more schools will come calling in the next few years. On Sunday, a photo of Card catching a game-clinching touchdown pass against Katy in a driving rain storm was splashed across the front page of the American-Statesman sports section.
For good measure, Card also threw a touchdown pass in that victory, connecting with fellow wideout Garrett Wilson for a 42-yard completion.
On Monday, various reporters asked Card for his thoughts during the Cavaliers’ media day, and he will be a headliner when his team, the defending 6A, Division I state champion, faces Allen on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
When an American-Statesman asked Card a question about his college football future, he politely replied, “The only thing I’m focused on is now.”
That was Card’s way of telling the media — and perhaps every fan who follows the Cavaliers — to tap the brakes. College can wait. There’s a football game to played this weekend, and Card still has two more years of high school football before he puts pen to a national letter of intent.
“The work is not over yet,” said Card, “and I still have a lifetime of opportunities.”
Card can’t escape the fact, though, that he’s on track to be the Cavaliers’ starting quarterback once senior Matthew Baldwin graduates and begins a new chapter of his life at Ohio State.
Lake Travis has become a breeding ground for college football QBs. Every Cavalier who has played the position since Todd Reesing signed with Kansas in 2006 has gone on to play quarterback for an NCAA Division I team.
“When I first met him, I was impressed by his grit and the way he could throw the football,” Cavaliers head coach Hank Carter said of Card. “He’s not an athlete who plays quarterback, he’s a quarterback who happens to be a phenomenal athlete.”
Lake Travis offensive coordinator Mike Wall offered praise, too, saying, “Hudson’s got a chance to become one of the best dual threats we’ve ever had here.”
Card had a major hand this fall in playoff victories over San Antonio Madison and Katy.
With Baldwin sitting out the bi-district playoff against Madison because of an injury, Card took over at QB and completed 13 of 18 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-14 victory. In a 28-14 triumph over Katy, he caught nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Card, who has always aspired to play quarterback, switched to receiver this season to help Lake Travis in its bid to defend its state title. While Wilson has developed into one of the state’s best wideouts, Card also prospered, catching 69 passes for 1,137 yards.
“We started out the season wanting to win state and now we have the opportunity,” Card said.
Everything else can wait.