High School Football

Smith: First week not death blow for season

Just one of six LISD teams won in Week 1


It’s the phrase no child wants to hear their parents say, ‘I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.’

That remark usually elicits a terrified and helpless feeling from the person it's directed at. Like there’s no way out. We’ve all been there.

That was the feeling across most of the LISD teams looking at the Week 1 scoreboard. Of the six games played, only Vista Ridge came away with a win, a 20-14 win against San Antonio Southwest in a game rescheduled due to Hurricane Harvey.

Rouse fell at Manor 42-13, Glenn lost 37-27 to North Lamar, Leander lost to Killeen Ellison 32-14 Thursday night at Bible Stadium, and Vandegrift had its second rally fall short in a 28-24 loss at Odessa Permian.

Cedar Park lost 35-28 to Waco Midway in their season opener for the first time since 2012, due to an uncharacteristic lapse in their vaunted ‘Black Reign’ defense with has been so dominant over the last few seasons.

Overwhelmingly, the feeling on the field after the game was one of disappointment. Head coach Carl Abseck firmly told his team to remember how it felt to watch the other team celebrate on their home field as the Panthers formed a giant kick line on the opposing sidelines.

But Cedar Park quarterback Mak Sexton probably said it best after just the second loss of his three-year varsity career, “One game does not define us.”

The combined record last season of the LISD’s first-week opponents is 34-28 and they combined for two playoff appearances. For example, Midway missed the playoffs but has five players bound for Division I college football.

Vandegrift and Hays were supposed to open the season against each other the last two years. When Vipers head coach Drew Sanders had to scramble to find a replacement, he could’ve scheduled a cupcake. Instead, he added one of the most historically successful teams in the state.

Playing the quality teams that LISD did in the first week of the season is not the normal practice. And mistakes that are bound to be made in the first week of a new season are amplified due to the talent of the team on the other sideline.

Even in 2012 when the Timberwolves lost their first two games and fell four times during the regular season, they went on to win the first state championship in school history.

When Vandegrift made it to the state semifinals in 2014, the Vipers had two losses close losses in district play. Rouse’s only trip to the semifinals came after falling four times during the regular season, including three times in district.

While the first game can, by all means, give a team confidence, it is in no way a death sentence.

The Timberwolves fell behind 16 points to start the second half and fought their way back with a pair of touchdowns and 2-point conversions. Sexton wasn’t going to be denied for the second score.

With the fourth quarter clock quickly winding down, the senior called his own number and scored from 12-yards out, diving into the end zone to set up the tying 2-point conversion.

The talent that every LISD team has can’t be written in a story and won’t show up in the box score. And while Sexton’s dive in the fourth quarter ultimately didn’t lead to a win, it showed that Cedar Park has what it takes to make this season a successful one.