This class of Cedar Park seniors won — a lot.
The Timberwolves graduated the winningest class in program history for the fourth straight season, having won 51 games in the past four years with two state title game appearances and one state championship.
“They don’t know anything but winning,” head coach Carl Abseck said. “Our kids have been learning the system, playing together and have learned how to work hard. People look at our season and there’s disappointment. We had a great season, but it wasn’t the standard that has been set.”
Some of the seniors in this class first played on varsity as sophomores. In that timeframe, they’re 40-5 overall, have never failed to be the district champions and never played less than 13 games.
Cedar Park as a program is 89-12 since this group was in sixth grade. Each regular season is 10 games, meaning the Timberwolves have played the equivalent of 11 seasons in the past seven years.
“We treat it like a family,” Abseck said. “They’re our sons they just don’t sleep in our house at night. It’s the kids that make it work because they’ve bought into what it takes to be successful. What others look at as extra work, they think is expected.”
The Timberwolves stormed through the regular season, finishing undefeated for the second straight year. They averaged 40 points a game while the defensive unit was one of the best in the state allowing just 11.4 points per game.
West Point commit Tyler Levine dominated the ground game, rushing for 1,265 yards and 25 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Mak Sexton finished the season with 2,681 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Levine was named District 19-5A MVP. Senior Jordan Diver was defensive MVP, junior Jackson Buckingham was defensive newcomer, junior Jonathan Kelly was offensive lineman MVP and Abseck was coach of the year.
The Timberwolves were all over the first and second teams as well. Mason Brooks, Nick Langlois, Sexton, Logan Peel, Obinna Udoye, Hunter Valk, Will Harris, Nathan Sloey, Keegan Nichols, Storm Jensen and Zach Taylor were first team All-District.
Trajaan Chase, Omar Alzer, Hayden Craig, Gunner Chriswisser, Nicon Greenwell and Thomas Sacco all earned second team honors.
“Going into the games, because of our week of preparation, we knew that if we played our games, we’d win,” Valk said. “And we can play with anyone. That’s just how we’re taught. We don’t have the DI athletes that other teams have so we needed to be ready.”
Cedar Park’s quest for a second straight state title ended in the state quarterfinals against Manvel at Kyle Field. Despite a second half comeback, the Mavericks snapped the Timberwolves’ 28-game winning streak.
“I’ll remember the Manvel game most because on paper we have no business playing with those guys,” Craig said. “They have tons of DI athletes and they’re so athletic but we pounded them and kept it close and that’s an accomplishment on its own.”
Leaving a legacy is sometimes an overused quip, but when asked what they thought this group would be most remembered for, the captains couldn’t remember the 28 wins in a row that have “defined” the team for the last two seasons.
Instead, they wanted to focus on what the team accomplished in the seasons separately. Winning a state title last season and being dominant on the defensive side of the ball this year with a school record six shutouts.
“People would always talk about the streak and how much we won,” Valk said. “I wanted to go out and pave our own path and be remembered for what we did this year. Yeah, it’s cool but it was a different team and it’s not always about the wins.”
Abseck had been at Cedar Park as an assistant for 10 years before taking over as head coach last season. Throughout it all, they’ve kept their demands and expectations on the team consistent.
The tradition of winning this senior class set will assuredly continue as next year’s seniors need just two wins to be the fifth straight graduation class with the most wins in a four-year span.
“I think it’s more they’re just continuing the legacy,” Abseck said. “Every one of them leaves something. They continued the success and commitment to excellence and commitment to each other. Next year they’ll work their tails off to see if they can outdo the class before them.”