July 13, 2012 - "Making of a Champion"

Feature in the Lake Travis View.

“Drive to Five,” a book that chronicles the Lake Travis High School footabll team’s five-vear reign as the Class 4A state champion, is expected to be released prior to the start of the 2012 season.

Two former Lake Travis View employees have teamed up to write “Drive to Five,” a forthcoming book that documents how Lake Travis High School’s football program made the unthinkable journey from doormat to what many consider the greatest dynasty in Texas high school football.

The Cavaliers laid claim to that title after beating Waco Midway 22-7 in December 2011, becoming the first Texas high school to win five consecutive state championships at any level. Jay Plotkin and Max Thompson, the former publisher and sports editor, respectively, at the Lake Travis View, visited with players, coaches, community members and others in an attempt to get a complete picture on how, why and, most importantly, who helped Lake Travis rise to the top of the Texas football ranks, and why many believe Lake Travis won’t be just a five-year flash in the pan.

“There has no doubt been a tremendous switch in the way people look at Lake Travis football,” Plotkin said. “It wasn’t that long ago that Lake Travis wasn’t just bad at football; it was a laughing-stock. When you look at exactly how far the program has come in such a short time, you can’t help but want to look for the story behind the success. And it’s not just one story. There have been countless successes, but there has also been some drama and heartbreak that not everyone remembers or knew about as it happened.”

Most Lake Travis football fans know that just 10 years ago, the Cavaliers suffered through a dismal 0-10 campaign, capping a two-year stretch that saw the team win just once in 20 games. The administration had seen enough. The superintendent found an athletic director who found a head coach who, together with the parents and community, laid the groundwork that turned into unprecedented success.

“Athletics in general, and football in particular, was not important at Lake Travis,” former athletic director Jack Moss explains in the book. “Why? I don’t know.”

Two years after the winless season, the Cavaliers won the district title. Three years after that, they won a wholly unexpected state championship. Lake Travis has hardly lost since, and never when the stakes truly mattered.

“Everyone always asks how Lake Travis has done all of this,” Thompson said. “This was our best effort to answer that question and add as much detail to the story as possible.”

Through two head coaching changes and the normal cycling through of key players – only a handful of whom played college football at its highest level – the Cavaliers keep winning state championships, and even as they begin life as a Class 5A school, they don’t expect anything less.

“I really don’t see it as a difference, and people try to make it out that 5A is so much better than 4A,” said former Cavalier Griffin Gilbert in “Drive to Five.” “But the way I see it – yes, 5A has some very, very good teams – there are more good teams but not necessarily better teams.”

“Drive to Five” should be released before the 2012 football season. Information, including excerpts, photos, pricing options and how and where to purchase the book, may be found online atltfootballbook.com.