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SAN ANTONIO — In his first game since suffering a foot injury in mid-October, Hudson Card returned under center for Lake Travis in the UIL 6A Division I regional finals versus Converse Judson and led the Cavaliers to a 48-35 victory.
Card and the Lake Travis coaches were careful with his foot as the Cavs called his number on the ground only four times. Card, one of Texas’ two quarterback commits in the class of 2020, finished the day 19/26 passing for 347 yards with three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and an interception.
For anyone who plays quarterback at Lake Travis, competing for the state championship is the standard. Great high school quarterbacks like Garrett Gilbert, Baker Mayfield, and Charlie Brewer all led the Cavs to state crowns. Card had one shot at it during his sophomore year when he stepped in for an injured Matthew Baldwin in the state finals. He came up just short versus Allen, 35-33.
In his senior year, Card returned to try and add one more star to the LT logo. The Cavs overcame an early 14-3 deficit versus the Rockets in order to get one step closer to that goal.
“It felt really good,” Card said Saturday. “That was my goal for the past couple of weeks, to get back out here and play again. We started off a little rusty, but in the second half we came in here. I’m just proud of our guys. We knew we’d have adversity at some point. We kept playing, and ended up winning.”
The LTHS offense didn’t charge out of the gate in the first half. Only one of Card’s completions was for 15+ yards, and he threw an interception in his fourth drive. Lake Travis was at risk of losing control of the game before Cavs RB Weston Stephens began his career day.
Just before halftime, Card found Stephens past the first down marker near the sidelines. With one man between him and the end zone, Stephens made a move and rumbled 70 yards for Lake Travis’ first touchdown of the day.
Lake Travis’ opening drive of the second half was short and successful. Card found slot receiver Kyle Eaves open on a slant route, and Eaves ran 56 yards for the touchdown.
On the next LTHS drive, Card rolled to his right and found Eaves once again for a 23-yard score, the second unanswered touchdown for the Cavs out of halftime.
“Kyle’s a stud,” Card said. “We knew he would have a big game. He has a big game every week.”
Though Lake Travis offensive coordinator (and former Texas quality control coach) Will Stein was careful with Card on the ground, he utilized Card’s legs in the offense a few times. Following an 44-yard pass to the Judson four, Card ran up the middle on a designed run and dove in for the score early in the fourth quarter,
After that, the Cavs could rely on Stephens to carry the load. He finished with 223 yards rushing, 90 yards receiving, and three total touchdowns. Card ended the game in victory formation, sending Lake Travis to the state semi-finals to take on Galena Park North Shore.
“Once we got in rhythm, it started clicking all around,” Card said. “I think the run game helped us too. That opens up passing lanes. All around, I think our team did an unbelievable job, especially in the second half.”
Card was kept clean by his offensive line. He was given time in the pocket and had to avoid defenders only a handful of times throughout the course of the game.
“Hats off to the O-linemen,” Card said. “They gave me some time back there so I really didn’t have to use it as much.”
The North Shore Mustangs eliminated Card and Lake Travis in the semi-finals last season on their way to the 6A Division I title. Card will have to contend against talented North Shore defenders like Miami commit Corey Flagg, K-State commit Joseph Wilson, and sophomore standout Denver Harris.
It’ll be a task for Lake Travis, but Card’s return increases the Cavs’ chances to win a seventh state championship.