Mak Sexton picks up an 80-pound log and runs around the cross country track at Cedar Park. He calls it a ‘yancy’ workout and it’s just one of things the Timberwolves do to build chemistry and get stronger.
The senior quarterback has the chance to become the winningest quarterback in Cedar Park history. He has a 28-1 record as a starter after helping Timberwolves win the state title as a sophomore two seasons ago and taking them to the third round last season.
“I know the pressure should be there, but I’m just out here playing with my buddies like I have been for seven years,” Sexton said. “I think we’re just playing as a family and playing together. If you’re relaxed, you feel more comfortable and you’ll do your job better.”
When the Timberwolves and Westlake wrapped up preparing for the season with a scrimmage last week, Sexton threw two interceptions and was slow to get up after a tackle by a Westlake defender.
But you wouldn’t know it by looking at him.
“His demeanor makes him unique,” Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck said. “Looking at him and his face or his body language, you wouldn’t know if he threw an interception or touchdown. He’s the same all the time and that leads him to be successful because he doesn’t let the situation of the game affect his performance.”
Sexton had a career year last year, throwing for a school-record 2,266 yards and 18 touchdowns in 13 games. The only loss of his career was to Manvel in the third round when he had 415 yards and four touchdowns on a career-high 55 passes.
This season looks to be an even more focused on the passing attack. With to two running backs gone via graduation and three of the top for receivers returning, Sexton will have the green light to let it fly.
“He’s talented and hard working and his teammates love him,” Abseck said. “I couldn’t ask for any other quarterback to lead our team and we’re blessed to have him and it’s a big advantage. The younger quarterbacks have one of the best in the state to learn from.”
The senior was quick to return the love on his coaches. The Cedar Park coaching tree is vast with Chris Ross now at Boise State and local coaches Josh Mann at Rouse, Tim Smith at Leander, and Rob Schoenfeld at Glenn listing the Timberwolves amongst their former employers.
Abseck has been in charge of the Timberwolves for three seasons but has been on staff for more than a decade. He was the offensive coordinator when the team won the state title in 2012 and has helped the team make the postseason for 10 straight seasons.
“The coaching staff stands out,” Sexton said. “Looking at a few other programs, they’re nothing like this and it’s truly a family here and you can tell in the way they coach us. They’re so personal. We’re together more than we’re at home and they are like father figures to us.”
Abseck said pressure is trying to do the unexpected and Cedar Park and Sexton expect to be successful. The only pressure he puts on himself is his own and meeting the already established expectations he has for himself and the entire team.
College football is in Sexton’s future, he’s just not sure where at this point. At 5 feet, 11 inches and under 200 pounds, he’s smaller than most prototypical college quarterbacks, but his high school record shoed speak for itself.
“Some people are missing the boat on him right now,” Abseck said. “He’s been way overlooked. His performance will lead him to have some opportunities at the second level. It’ll all come around and he’ll get what he deserves.”
Sexton will be the first to say his fired and teammates are the ones who drive him and he’s given them everything he has. He knows he can’t have any regrets and wants to be remembered as the guy that did everything right and didn’t leave anything on the table.
Another state title wouldn’t be a bad way to go out, either.
“Obviously, we expect nothing less than 16-0 and a state championship,” Sexton said. “That bar was set two years ago when we were sophomores and that’s the level we expect every year. Last year we didn’t achieve it. We have the motivation this year to get there.”