Cedar Park might not have left Aggieland with a trophy, but what it did gain was confidence in the passing game.
The Timberwolves, the only representative from LISD to make it to the 7-on-7 Texas State Championships in College Station last weekend, dominated pool play before falling in the Round of 16.
“The kids played really well,” Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck said. “Our goal is to go out and compete for championships, and it starts with a district championship, and that started before 7-on-7 even started.”
Cedar Park went 3-0 and finished in first place in Pool N, beating Birdville 50-22, Jacksonville 43-26, and Cypress Creek 32-28 in the final game of the first day of competition on Thursday evening.
The Timberwolves returned to action on Saturday in the Division I Championship Bracket and dominated Plano 43-14 in the Round of 32. They then lost in the Round of 16 on the final play of the game to Waxahachie, who would eventually lose to Lake Travis in the championship game.
“Defensively, we moved a lot of guys around and gave a lot of guys a chance to play,” Abseck said. “Unlike a lot of teams, we play with linebackers and secondary guys. We used it as an opportunity to evaluate our personnel on defense and work out playing different coverages.”
The Timberwolves open the regular season at Gupton Stadium on Sept. 1 against Waco Midway and travel across town to meet LISD rivals Vandegrift in Week 2. The district slate begins at home against Bastrop on Sept. 15.
Cedar Park has been throwing the ball a lot more the last two years, setting school records in passing yards in both seasons.
As a sophomore, Mak Sexton led the team with 934 yards and 1 touchdowns in 2015 and the Timberwolves won the state title for the second year in school history. As a team, they had 1,397 passing yards on the year. Sexton beat the team total from 2015 by himself last season, passing for 2,266 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
And while the senior is an established starter, Abseck knows he has a capable backup in junior Ryan Fiala, who started three of the four weeks in the LISD 7-on-7 league Cedar Park hosted this summer.
The tournament didn’t change anything as far as expectations for the season, but it did reinforce the fact that Cedar Park plans to throw the ball even more than they have the last two years and have the talent at quarterback and wide receiver to set another school record.
“Mak is a special player and a three-year starter,” Abseck said. “Those guys don’t come around very often and when you get someone like that, it gives you an advantage. Offensively, it allows us to open it up a little more and do some things we haven’t done in the past.”