It’s been a tradition at Cedar Park for nearly a decade to be practicing on Thanksgiving.
After beating Austin LBJ in overtime in the bi-district round last Friday night, the Timberwolves get ready to face off against undefeated Shadow Creek in the Area round Friday night at 7 p.m. at Bryan High School.
“They’re very much as talented as anybody we’ve played all year,” Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck said. “We’re going to have to do a good job up front on both sides of the ball and defensively just keep them in front of us. Offensively, we need to focus on ball control.”
Shadow Creek rolled through District 10-5A-DI with the league’s top offense (27.8 points per game) as well as the top defense (14.4 points allowed per game). This is the first UIL-sanctioned season for the school, which was established in 2016.
The Sharks beat Porter in the bi-district round last week, rushing for a combined 226 yards and three touchdowns, while senior quarterback Jamarian George threw for 150 yards and a pair of scores.
The Cedar Park defense had a phenomenal game against LBJ, sacking the quarterback six times, allowing less than 200 yards and pitching a shutout as the only touchdown for the Jaguars was an interception return.
That level of play will be needed once again Friday against the Sharks.
“Their goal is to get a shutout every week, but that’s not an easy task, especially against the people that we’re playing,” Abseck said. “We need our defense to play really well just like they did last week and keep us not having to chase a lot of points.”
In the win against LBJ, Jonathan Stockwell ran for 64 yards while Ryder Hernandez threw for 108 yards. Javion Mays had the only touchdown for the Timberwolves when he scored on a 4-yard rush in the first half.
Kicker Justin Bohrer hit a field goal in overtime to give Cedar Park a 10-7 win.
“We had moments where we did some good things, we were just terribly inconsistent and put ourselves in bad positions as far as down and distance go,” Abseck said. “We played into their strength by letting them do what they wanted to do.”
Cedar Park was tested in various ways throughout the district schedule, getting into a shootout with state-ranked Hutto, holding on to a lead against Manor and coming from behind to beat Georgetown at home.
Abseck said before last week’s game that the Timberwolves would be relying on many of the things that learned during district play.
But this game should resemble the playoff opener more than anything.
“I don’t anticipate it being a very high-scoring game, “Abseck said. “We’re going to have to grind it out and try to flip the field with field position. And when you get opportunities, you’ve got to make them count.”