TMQ: Reliving Rudy's reluctant run
Lake Travis linebacker Rudy Teshler won’t soon forget Friday night’s game in Del Valle.
The senior sprinted the Cavaliers onto the field prior to the game and sprinted them back into the locker room by reluctantly returning a fumble for his first varsity touchdown on the game’s final play.
“I wasn’t trying to score,” Teshler said Monday after his zig-zagging run took him from midfield toward the Cavalier sideline and eventually to the goal line. “It was already 58-0 and I didn’t want to run up the score.”
Head coach Hank Carter has long held the belief, rarely spoken, that 60 points is too much in a lopsided game, and if he can hold the score below that, he feels better. He’d pulled his starting offense before halftime and the starting defense barely played into the third quarter. If he had any reservations about a late touchdown that pushed the final margin into the 60s, his joy for Teshler’s success overrode it.
“We didn’t tell him not to score, and I think Rudy was wondering if he should get down,” Carter said after the game. “But he was so close to the end zone. It was neat to see him get the chance to scoop a ball up like that and go score. I’m excited for him.”
Things happen in the blink of an eye on the field, and Teshler said somehow, in the indecision of the moment, he managed to score without actually intending to.
“I didn’t know what to do at that moment,” he explained. “There was so much going through my head. I thought I heard some people [on the bench] telling me to get out of bounds, but I thought I heard other people telling me just to go at the same time.”
At one point Teshler turned toward the sideline as if he would simply run out of bounds. But a Cardinal nearly tackled him, and somehow he got turned around and found himself jogging toward the end zone. He tried to set the ball down before crossing the goal line but got his feet tangled at the end.
“I didn’t want to score,” he said. “That’s kind of why I put the ball out at the very end of the play. I tried to stop but I tripped a little bit and the referee said the ball hit the goal line.”
Teshler wondered if scoring would make it appear the Cavaliers had run up the score, but his teammates and coaches wouldn’t let him diminish his moment that way.
“Everyone was happy for me,” he said. “I thought about sliding down but there was just so much going through my mind at the time it. It was a crazy time and a crazy moment for that to happen.”
Teshler’s score came on a night when his coaches honored him by making him the team flag-bearer. They choose one player each week to carry the flag and lead the team out of the inflatable helmet.
“He led the team out of the tunnel tonight because of his attitude and his effort this week,” Carter said. “He’s such an amazing kid.”
While the touchdown run will have a life of its own, Teshler might just remember the pregame run a little longer.
“It’s pretty crazy leading the tunnel out,” he said. “Everyone was chanting my name. It was really cool.”
On that run, at least, he knew what he had to do.
“I was just trying to go as fast as I could so I didn’t get caught.”