Cedar Park’s Fry is tough ‘nut’ to crack on the field
wolves try to reach the state semiflnals after three straight trips to the quarterflnals. Fry, according to coaches, teammates and student trainers, displays an infectious personality that helps keep everyone upbeat.
“Ethan’s the kind of guy everyone wants to be their friend once they’ve met him,” said Bradi Bedell, a sophomore trainer.
“He’s a nut,” said former Cedar Park coach Chris Ross, who’s now the athletic director for the Leander-Cedar Park school district.
Whether Fry’s wearing “fake glasses that make him look like a nerd” or telling jokes in the locker room, Ross said, every team needs a player like Fry, one who can break the tension of a pressure-packed season.
“This is probably the loosest team I’ve been on,” said Fry, a three-year varsity player. “We’ve become a very closeknit team.”
Willis said Fry had no objections to switching positions, even though he excelled as a running back last season. At receiver, Fry has a great opportunity to make big plays down the fleld, but he still lines up in the backfleld on occasion. The red jersey he wears in practice indicates he also is a backup quarterback.
The emergence of Grimm as a top-fiight quarterback has helped Cedar Park become a versatile team on offense. The Timberwolves, who averaged only 11 points in their flrst flve games, have averaged 36 in their past eight contests.
In playoff victories over Crockett, Kerrville Tivy and Alice, Cedar Park has averaged 45 points.
“We’ve got seven or eight guys we can turn to on any given night for offense,” said Willis, who replaced Ross before this season. That group includes running back Nathan Harwell (90 yards rushing on three carries against Alice); Grimm (318 total yards against Tivy); and running backs Chris Hutchings and Stoney Schoenfeld (150 rushing yards combined against Crockett).
After losing to eventual state champion Lake Travis in the quarterflnals in 2010 and 2011, Cedar Park will be satisifled by nothing less than a state title this year. When asked if he had “dreams” about winning state, Grimm changed the tone of question.
“Winning state is a goal,” Grimm said, “not a dream.”
A state trophy would surpass an impressive achievement reached by a handful of Timberwolves when they were flfth-graders. Back in 2005, the Leander-Cedar Park Bengals, which included Fry, Harwell, and offensive linemen Austin Bryant and Austin Hisler, reached the Pop Warner National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
“We came in third place,” Fry recalled.
Third place isn’t the goal this year. offense, which he tweaked at mid-season by putting flrstyear quarterback Jordan Severt under center more often and adding additional pass protection. Now, the Chaps are two victories short of a state-title game.
“I don’t want to be anywhere where there’s not any pressure,” Allman said this week after practice for the Chaps’ quarterflnal matchup against Plano West on Saturday. “We haven’t had any tough times comparatively. I’ve seen good programs that have fallen on hard times. Losing in the flrst round is not a tough time.”
Depends on your vantage point obviously. A 1-3 start to this season didn’t look promising, but the defeats included losses to defending state flnalist Cibolo Steele and A&M Consolidated, a defeat Westlake avenged in a big way in the playoffs. Allman coached one-time powerhouse Brownwood through a 1-8-1 season. Before he went 33-6 in his last three seasons at Odessa Permian, his flrst team at his alma mater flnished 5-5. Those were tough times.
Certainly the photogenic fans in the fourth row may see it differently than the guy making the decision to go for the flrst down or kick the fleld goal. Speaking of which, Allman was smart to go for it and run an off-tackle power play — Westlake’s bread and butter — rather than have the talented Michael Barden kick a short fleld goal on a fourthand-2 inside the 5 against Lake Travis.
The play got stuffed, and
Westlake (9-4) vs. Plano West (9-4), 2 p.m. Saturday (Waco ISD Stadium)
Georgetown (13-0) vs. Nederland (12-1), 3 p.m. Saturday (Berry Center, Cypress)
Rouse (9-4) vs. Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (13-0), 7 p.m. Saturday (Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos)
Cedar Park (11-2) vs. San Antonio Brennan (13-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday (Alamodome, San Antonio)
Manor (10-3) vs. Fort Bend Marshall (13-0), 8 p.m. Saturday (Alamodome) Lake Travis burned Westlake for a 96-yard touchdown pass and a 14-11 win, but Allman has no regrets.
“Darren didn’t blink,” offensive coordinator Jeff Rhoads said. “We went for it, and we’d do it again. Darren’s a great visionary. Everything he touches, he makes better.”
He hasn’t made the Chaps a state champion yet, but remember, Schroeder produced just one in 17 years at Westlake and is still lionized.
It hasn’t helped that Westlake plays in the shadow of — and now in the same 155A district as — Lake Travis, but Allman tips his hat to Lake Travis’ dominance and even says he was rooting for the Cavaliers before they joined Westlake’s district. He acknowledges the Cavaliers’ presence makes Westlake better, the same as Midland Lee did for Odessa Permian. Even Cavs coach Hank Carter said, “Darren and his staff do an incredible job. They get a ton out of their kids, but that’s not enough for some people.”
For Allman’s part, he said, “It’s healthy to have a rival like them. It keeps the flre hot.”
Hot flre, he’s already got, but the physical grind of Lake Travis’ flrst season in 5A may have worn down the injuryriddled Cavs, who bowed out in the flrst round of the playoffs. Hall noticed and said, “Here we are, and they’re not.”
The same could be said for Allman, and Westlake should be glad he’s here.
Cedar Park quarterback Nate Grimm leads an offense that has averaged 45 points per game in playoff victories over Crockett, Kerrville Tivy and Alice.