SUGAR LAND – For the first time since 2010, the Travis football team celebrates a district title. But for the first time ever, the Tigers enter the postseason unbeaten.
At a wet and windy Mercer Stadium, the Tigers finished their best regular season in their 11-year history, beating Bush 21-10 to move to 10-0 and win the District 20-6A title.
Travis will celebrate its accomplishment, but not for too long. The Tigers will prepare to face a 9-1 Katy Tompkins squad in the first round of the 6A Division I playoffs next Thursday at Mercer.
But for now, the Tigers will celebrate their district title and undefeated regular season.
“We talked to the kids about the legacy that you’re leaving, and no matter what happens from here on out, this team will be remembered for the first team that went 10-0,” Travis head coach Trey Sissom said. “And you can’t take that away from them.”
The wet and windy conditions affected Travis at the start of the game, as the offense struggled with dropped passes and a fierce Bush pass rush that forced Tiger quarterback Eric Rodriguez to make hurried throws.
Bush took an early lead on a 39-yard field goal by Andrew Gonzalez with two minutes left in the first quarter. But midway in the second quarter, Travis got a fumble recovery by senior defensive lineman Patrick Brown, and that was turned into a 32-yard field goal by junior kicker Sergio Rubio to tie the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Travis recovered the short kick at the Bronco 28. Six plays later, senior running back Kaelen Shankle scored on a 3-yard touchdown to put the Tigers up 10-3.
“Since our freshman year, we knew our class was special,” Shankle said. “We just came out and executed, and now, we’re undefeated.”
Bush answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Michael Adeyeba to tie the game at 10 heading into halftime. The score was set up by a 27-yard run by running back Donovan Nixon.
Travis’ offense improved a bit in the second half, giving Rodriguez more time to get passes off. After a 27-yard screen pass to senior receiver Parker Washington put the Tigers in Bronco territory, runs by junior running back Aundre Smith led to a 9-yard touchdown run by Rodriguez to put Travis back ahead. Rodriguez then found Washington in the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 18-10.
Rubio added a 30-yard field goal midway in the fourth quarter to put Travis up by two scores. Meanwhile, the Tiger defense slowed down a wounded Bush offense, holding the Broncos to only 74 rushing yards and 126 total yards in the game.
Rodriguez was only 7-of-20 for 63 yards passing, but ran for 43 yards. Shankle ran for 45 yards on 10 carries.
“We came out with some big plays in the second half and (Bush) had their share of injuries, but our kids played well in the second half and pulled it out for us,” Sissom said. “And we’re excited to be 10-0.”