The last two weeks have been a rollercoaster of feelings for Cedar Park. But the team has adapted, and they are still in line for a district title.
The only two undefeated teams in the district face off when the No. 3 Timberwolves face off with No. 5 Hutto Friday night at Gupton Stadium. The winner will lock up at least a share of the district title.
“It was an emotional game the week before,” Abseck said. “We won the game and came back, but had to deal with the emotional change and adjusting to the new personnel. Ryan (Fiala) played really well, we just didn’t play as well around him as we needed to.”
Cedar Park won its last two games, against Georgetown and Connally, but not in the way it had been rolling through the first part of the district schedule.
Senior quarterback Mak Sexton and senior safety Gunnar Chriswisser were injured early in the first half against Georgetown, and the Timberwolves scored 21 unanswered second-half points to pick up a 28-27 win.
Last Friday against Connally, which has just one win in district play, Cedar Park needed a pair of second-half touchdowns to hang on for a 21-14 win.
As soon as Sexton had surgery, he wanted to get back with the team. He wasn’t able to stay down on the field with the Timberwolves on Friday, but he was in the locker room before the game and halftime to help Fiala relax.
“It’s good to see him there and engaged,” Abseck said. “He does have a lot of experience, so for Ryan, it’s a good sounding board for him to be looking at the things he’s seeing and give feedback. Psychologically, it's good to have Mak and Gunnar around.”
In the last two games, Fiala is 47-of-72 passing for 331 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He didn’t throw any interceptions in the win over the Cougars last Friday night.
The Hippo’s offense is one of the most potent in the area. Junior quarterback Chase Griffin has thrown for more than 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns, while receivers DJ Baptist and Caleb Forrest each have more than 600 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns apiece.
Even with the loss of Chriswisser, the Cedar Park defense is still stout and has allowed 12 points per game in district play, the best mark in the league. Keegan Nichols leads the team with 72 tackles and Jackson Buckingham has 68. The Timberwolves had nine interceptions on the year, led by Cole Hollen with three.
“Their offense doesn’t really change anything we have to do defensively, except do what we have traditionally done,” Abseck said. “They are talented and they have a good quarterback running the show.”
The game was selected as the FOX Sports Southwest DQ Big Game of the Week and a TV crew will attend pep rallies and be on hand for special features which will be replayed after the game.
With the Timberwolves finishing the year at 3-3 Elgin and Hutto facing off with 1-5 Cedar Creek, this game can all but lock up the district title.