It's not 'if' but 'when' De Lira returns as Cavs prep for Hays
The Lake Travis coaching staff may soon find itself with an interesting decision to make.
Be it this week against Hays or on Sept. 26 against Del Valle – or whenever Lake Travis senior quarterback Dominic De Lira is deemed eligible to play, the Cavaliers will have to choose a starting quarterback.
De Lira, the District 15-5A Newcomer of the Year last year, has yet to play in 2014 after committing to Iowa State over the summer. An off-field incident benched the quarterback for a pre-season scrimmage and the first two games, and head coach Hank Carter will not comment on when De Lira will return to the lineup.
In his first year as a starter, De Lira quarterbacked Lake Travis to the 5A, Division II state semifinals. Though his yardage numbers were modest compared to those of his predecessors, he took care of the ball, throwing 25 touchdown passes against just six interceptions.
One thing became clear on Monday: De Lira remains in Lake Travis’ plans.
“When Dom comes back it will work itself out,” Carter said. “We don’t know exactly how it will, but we also know that Dom is a heck of a talent. He’s a special player.”
“It,” as Carter mentioned, is a potential dilemma. With De Lira out of the lineup, Lake Travis has turned to sophomore Charlie Brewer at quarterback. Brewer’s first two game passing totals rank second in Lake Travis history. His 624 yards trail only older brother Michael, who passed for 801 yards against Westwood and Westlake in 2009.
Following his debut against Waco Midway, Brewer said he’s taking things one week at a time, preparing as best he can for that week’s game.
“I’m going to go day by day, do my thing and get ready every week,” he said on Sept. 1. “I need to play and not look forward, just do what I need to do every single day to get ready for each single game.”
That’s the message that Carter, along with offensive coordinator Michael Wall, has driven home consistently at practice. Each player should view each practice as a daily competition for a starting spot.
“We say it all the time,” Carter said. “The kids decide who plays. It’s by who’s performing. Depending on who’s available at that time, we’ll evaluate it and we’re going to put the guy out there who gives us the best opportunity to win.”
It’s expected that Brewer will start Friday against Hays in the District 14-6A opener. The Rebels enter 0-2 but figure battle for one of the fourth playoff spot. The Rebels are huge along the offensive line with Texas A&M-bound Connor Lanfear (6-foot-6, 280), Mateo Mendoza (6-3, 290) and Gabe Galvan (6-3, 240) and utilize various offensive schemes that take advantage of that size.
“A lot of misdirection, a lot of unbalanced sets, a lot of tackle over to utilize [their size],” Carter said of the Rebels. “They have several big offensive linemen including the kid who’s going to A&M. He’s a heck of a player. He didn’t play last week but we’re planning on him playing. They can score points.”
That his defense returned to form against Copperas Cove after surrendering 38 points to Waco Midway comforts Carter, as does the play of his offense, led – at least for now – by his young but rapidly maturing quarterback.
“We’re very pleased with Charlie and how he has progressed,” Carter said. “He took a big step forward from Midway to Copperas Cove, just in his decision-making and the things he did. He didn’t make the same mental errors he did against Midway, and we’re excited about that.”
He may not be as excited about the prospects of having to choose between his hot hand and quarterback of the future and a Division I-bound senior itching to get on the field, but the coach isn’t going to over-think things.
“In our minds things haven’t changed,” he said. “We’re going to go with who gives us the best opportunity to win. That just depends on the guys who are available for that week.”