GEORGETOWN – Lake Travis did not secure their national football championship until the goalkeeper Adam Schantz wrote his fingerprints on the ball.
For the record, Lake Travis and Plano were tied 0-0 after regulation. After extra time, they equalized 0: 0. The Cavaliers won 4: 3 on penalty kicks, winning the 6A class championship Saturday night at Birkelbach Field.
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This was the game Lake Travis was supposed to win in regulation. The Cavaliers dominated the match and earned an 8: 2 lead in goal shots. Plano goalkeeper Henry Huffstetler was great all night and repeatedly blocked Cavalier’s shots that appeared in the back of the net.
But when it mattered most, it was Schantz who held the MVP trophy in the game.
In a match that never seemed to end, Plano played the first three penalty kicks. Lake Travis countered with three direct penalty kicks himself.
That’s when Schantz took over.
With the scoreboard 3-3 ahead of him, Cavalier changed the outcome in the second year by firing a shot by Wildcat striker Aaron Myers.
Lake Travis took advantage of the break when Cavalier senior Alex Bethke, who pledged Mary Hardin-Baylor, attacked with a kick that stroked the right corner of the neck, giving the Cavs a 4-3 lead.
Plano’s last chance to win was thwarted when Schantz knocked down midfielder Diego Valer Zamora’s shot to the left.
“I don’t crack under the pressure,” Schantz said. “I’ve been dreaming about this moment – blocking shots to win the championship – since I was 6 years old.”
Lake Travis has won the last 14 matches and ended the season 24-3.
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Lake Travis, however, felt frustrated because so many opportunities were missed. Overall, neither team scored in 100 minutes.
In the second half, the 25-yard direct kick from midfielder Cavalier Ben Platt hit the crossbar and got out of the field with a carom. In front of Huffstetler, the shot of the older player of Lake Travis, David Arellan Vargas, bounced into his hands.
These heart-pulling moments only served to make the end sweeter, Bethke said.
“The game was perfect,” Bethke said. “I wouldn’t want it to turn out differently. But I thought we dominated the match.”
Lake Travis was 4 in 4. The Cavaliers turned midfielder Ben Platt, midfielder Connor Sanders, midfielder Pablo Gill and Bethke.
Schantz was rushed by cheerful teammates after the public spokesman said he had won the MVP. He said he gained an advantage over Plano players because he watched their feet a split second before kicking the ball.
The tumultuous crowd in red and black clothes also showed their appreciation as they stood and cheered into the dark night. Each Cavalier headed for Schantz after Plan’s last penalty kick was knocked out.
After handing over the team’s gold medals, veteran coach David Bammel gathered his troops. The quiet-speaking coach then fired a message the Cavaliers should remember, well, forever.
“You just made history tonight, guys!”
This was also a special night for Debbie Garinger, who is in her first year as director of Lake Travis High. After putting medals on each player’s neck in a series of celebrations, she joked that she had brought good luck to the team.
“My heart is filled with joy,” Garinger said as she watched the players and coaches soak up the euphoria of the night.