Cedar Park has the obvious goal of repeating what it did last season when it went undefeated and won a state title. But while the Timberwolves have been a pinnacle of consistency all season, they understand this is a different team than last year’s champions.
The Timberwolves begin their run at another championship Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the road against Willis. Two other LISD teams are in the postseason as well as Vista Ridge travels to face San Antonio Churchill and Vandegrift hosts San Antonio Johnson.
“As a team, our ultimate goal is to match what we did last year,” Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck said. “Our focus is to develop that consistency. Our focus is on Willis and we know there is no second round if you don’t stay focused.”
The Cedar Park defense has set a high bar, shutting out teams in more than half the games this season and allowing less than a touchdown per game. But the offense has taken a step forward as well, averaging 193 yards through the air and 184.6 yards on the ground this year.
“We’ve played well defensively nine of the 10 weeks,” Abseck said. “We’ve gotten better offensively each week. We had some guys that were out early and made some moves. The kids have shown the ability to be consistent and have the same mindset week to week.”
Cedar Park throttled Elgin 55-0 last Friday to push its winning streak — which has spanned two seasons — to 26 games. The Timberwolves held the Wildcats to 65 yards, including just six rushing yards.
For Abseck, this is a different year and the title from last season doesn’t count towards this season. No matter what talking points there are, this year’s team has only won 10 games and they want to win more.
“I haven’t felt like there has been an issue of overconfidence,” Abseck said. “It goes back to taking it week to week. The team doesn’t take for granted that we’ve won a lot of games in a row. We’re confident, but we’re not cocky.”
Vandegrift’s only two losses in district play this season were to perennial powers Lake Travis and Westlake and the team is in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Alex Fernandes has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Mack Parker and Isaiah Smallwood each have at least 500 rushing yards.
San Antonio Johnson finished third in District 26-6A and hasn’t won two straight games since the first two weeks of district play. The Jaguars’ defense is formidable, holding teams to 13.7 points per game, good for second in the district.
Vista Ridge needed some help to make the playoffs in the final week of the regular season and snuck into the postseason despite a loss at Westlake in the regular season finale thanks to a loss by Leander at Lehman. The Rangers head to San Antonio to take on district 26-6A runners-up Churchill, which is riding a four-game winning streak.