5 things about Hays
Lake Travis vs Hays: Five things to watch
· Land of the Giants
Hays has historically had good football teams stocked with plenty of talented players, and this year is no different. Cody Gandy is a promising prospect at running back, and at 5-foot-9 he can get lost amongst the trees of his massive offensive line. The Rebels have college football-size on the offensive line. They average 265 pounds from tackle to tackle , led by Texas A&M commit Connor Lanfear. Lanfear stands 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, and he’s not the biggest Rebel lineman. Mateo Mendoza earns that honor, checking in at 6-foot-3, 290. Sophomore Gabe Galvan figures to be next up to anchor the line. He stands 6-foot-3, 240. Lake Travis’ largest lineman is Aiden Rourke, who goes 6-2, 280.
· There’s the Beef, but where’s the D?
Behind its massive line, Hays has found success on offense, averaging 33.5 points in its first two games. But Boerne Champion and Georgetown both topped the 40-point mark against the Rebels, which doesn’t bode well with high-scoring Lake Travis up next. Dating back to last season, Hays has given up at least 35 points in three straight games, all losses.
· The guy who follows the guy who follows the guy
Hays head coach Neal LaHue knows the legacy of coaching the Rebels. Texas high school legend Bob Shelton, one of the state’s all-time winningest coaches, patrolled the sidelines at Hays from 1968-2010. Over his tenure, the Shelton took the field with his Rebels 507 times and came out a winner 313 of them. At least LaHue isn’t filling Shelton’s shoes directly. He took over from Blake Feldt, who coached the Rebels for two seasons before leaving for Odessa Permian.
· Feels like the first time
Lake Travis and Hays are no strangers, though they haven’t been frequent football opponents. They’ve met three times, and Lake Travis is still looking for its first win. Hays won 14-7 in 2000, 61-20 in 2001 and 35-14 in 2006, when the teams met in the bi-district playoffs. Following that 2006 loss, Lake Travis won 30 consecutive playoff games, a state record.
· Unusual slow start
Hays has lost its first two games for the first time since 2009, when the Rebels started 0-5. That team rallied to win four of its final five regular season games to qualify for the playoffs, where Huntsville beat them in the Bi-District round.