The last time Austin Lake Travis played in Arlington, it was a narrow loss to Allen in the state championship game last December.
There weren’t championship stakes Friday night. The Cavaliers had to be content with a 35-14 victory against Arlington Martin at UTA’s Maverick Stadium.
Lake Travis (1-0) took care of business with a balanced offensive output. Quarterback Hudson Card passed for 219 yards and three touchdowns and running back Sean Brown-Nixon rushed for 103 yards and two scores.
Martin (0-1) was limited to seven first downs. One of the few bright spots offensively was a 77-yard touchdown run by Montrell Smith early in the third quarter that pulled the Warriors to within 20-14. But the Cavaliers pulled away from there, scoring the game’s final 15 points.
Martin and Lake Travis made significant playoff runs in 6A Division I last season. The Warriors lost to Allen in the third round. Lake Travis also lost to Allen in the championship game at AT&T Stadium.
Game was over when: Kyle Eaves hauled in a 42-yard touchdown strike from Card in the first minute of the fourth quarter, building a 21-point lead.
Play of the game: Lake Travis was clinging to a six-point advantage early in the third quarter when Brown-Nixon took a handoff and churned 33 yards up the middle, dragging several Martin defenders with him the final few yards.
Offensive player of the game: Card’s three touchdown passes, which included tosses of 4 and 2 yards to Ohio State commit Garrett Wilson in the first quarter, set the tone for the Cavaliers offense and forced Martin to play from behind for the majority of the game.
Defensive player of the game: Martin linebacker Julian Johnson sacked Card for a 13-yard loss on a third down play that began at the Warriors 43. That sack in the final minute of the second quarter ensured that Martin stayed within six points headed into halftime.
Unsung hero of the game: Eaves, the Lake Travis wide receiver, quietly put together a strong night. He caught five passes for a game-high 89 yards receiving. His touchdown grab to start the fourth sealed the deal.
Moment of the game: Brown-Nixon hauled in a 35-yard pass from Lake Travis backup quarterback Peyton Janecek midway through the third quarter. His impressive catch in traffic set up his second touchdown run of the night and gave Lake Travis a 14-point lead.
Stat of the Game: Lake Travis rolled up 24 first downs compared to just seven by the Warriors.
They said it: “He’s stud He just proved it. He’s going to help us a lot this season. He’s a good player.” — Cavaliers QB Hudson Card talking about running back Sean Brown-Nixon
Big picture outlook: Martin coach Bob Wager has shown a willingness to play some of 6A’s best teams in nondistrict. Despite the loss, Martin was competitive until the late stages. There shouldn’t be any more tests this tough in coming weeks. Lake Travis demonstrated it’s still a force to be reckoned with.
What’s next? Lake Travis journeys north on I-35 again, traveling to Mansfield Summit at News Stadium, 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 7. Martin travels to Hebron, 7 p.m. Sept. 7.