Fourth-ranked Allen wins fifth Texas title with gritty 35-33 win

Randy Jennings Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Eagles squander 21-0 lead but behind three touchdowns from Brock Sturges defeat Lake Travis before 43,321 fans at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Brock Sturges's highlights Martin High School
Video: Highlights of Allen RB Brock Sturges
Senior running back rushes for 176 yards and three touchdowns to lead state-championship win.

ARLINGTON, Texas — How Allen (Texas) fits into the national rankings picture, Terry Gambill is not sure.

But the Eagles' head coach knows exactly where Allen stands among Texas' largest schools — unbeaten and not — after a 35-33 victory over Lake Travis (Austin) in the Class 6A Division I state title game before 43,191 Saturday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.

Allen entered ranked No. 4 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and Lake Travis, coming off a 28-14 state semifinal win over Katy, was No. 12.

Is Allen No. 1?
Allen coach Terry Gambill celebrates his team's UIL Texas 6A-1 championship on Saturday.
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
"I really don't pay much attention to national rankings, but to me, Texas high school football is the best in the country,'' Gambill said. "There are so many outstanding programs and the UIL does such a great job with the state championship, playing in a stadium like this [AT&T Stadium]. Anybody would like to have what we have.''

Asked for his argument to those doing the ranking: "We finished 16-0 and played a lot of great programs.''

When Allen gets to the big game, it finishes the job. The Eagles improved to 5-0 in state championship games.

Six-time state champion Lake Travis (13-3) lost in a title game for only the second time.

Running back Brock Sturges, an Arizona State signee, led Allen with 176 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the way to offensive MVP honors.

"This means the world to me,'' said Sturges.
Brock Sturges with one of his three touchdown runs.
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
Allen raced to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, aided by a series of Lake Travis mishaps, but the Cavaliers rallied with a run of 24 points to go in front briefly in the third quarter.

Lake Travis played without quarterback Matthew Baldwin, an Ohio State signee, who reinjured his knee on the first play from scrimmage. His fumble on what turned out to be his only play was returned 14 yards for a touchdown by Allen defensive lineman Jayden Jernigan.

An interception return to the Lake Travis 3-yard-line by Demontre Thomas set up Sturges for Allen's third score.
Lake Travis' rally began with a Nathan Parodi 84-yard kickoff return for a score. By halftime, the Cavs closed the gap to 21-17 on a sophomore quarterback Hudson Card short touchdown run and a 32-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker.

Kyle Eaves shocked Allen with a 28-yard interception return on the first play after intermission for a 24-21 Cavalier lead.
Lake Travis' Garrett Wilson (5) goes up high with Allen's Taj Bickham and Tkai Lloyd.
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
Allen steadied with a pair of touchdown drives of 74 and 44 yards in the third period. Lake Travis countered with a 42-yard field goal by Dicker and entered the fourth quarter trailing by eight points, 35-27.

Card, who threw for 224 yards and rushed for 73 in an emergency role, finished a 72-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Wakefield to narrow the Allen lead to 35-33 with 10 minutes remaining.

Needing a two-point conversion to tie, Lake Travis tried trickery with a reverse pass, but an onrushing Jace Waters caused a hurried incompletion.

Midway in the fourth quarter, Allen safety Taj Bickham's perfectly timed interception intended for Garrett Wilson spoiled what turned out to be Lake Travis' final offensive play.

With Sturges doing the heavy lifting, Allen was able to control the ball the remaining six minutes.
Allen quarterback Grant Tisdale threw only eight times, but rushed for 82 yards and a score.

Wilson, one of several Lake Travis players going both ways, finished with eight catches for 99 yards.

"It was an awesome year,'' said Lake Travis coach Hank Carter. "I've got the best kids in the world. We fell short and we're disappointed. Losing a player like Matthew set us back and it took awhile to get everybody on the same page.''
Hudson Card (1) did a superb job in relief of injured Matthew Baldwin.
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
Allen's Jake Fee salutes another state title.
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
Allen's CJ Johnson (7) goes up over Garrett Wilson (5).
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw
Allen coach Terry Gambill with his state-championship team.
Photo by Robbie Rakestraw

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