Wolves hope to live up to motto
caster on Friday night at Cowboys Stadium.
The Timberwolves already have re-written history by reaching their first state-title game.
A playoff regular for a decade, Cedar Park has reached the postseason seven times in that span. The Timberwolves were a combined 24-4 the past two seasons under former coach Chris Ross, losing to eventual state champion Lake Travis in the Class 4A, Division I quarterfinals both times.
Ross laid the foundation of Cedar Park’s program before leaving last spring to become the athletic director of the Leander school district. On Friday, he will be an honorary game captain for the Timberwolves.
“First and foremost, coach Ross had a vision to build the program up when he became head coach (in 2005),” Willis said Wednesday.
“He hired the right people and put them into place. He helped make the booster club as big as it is now. And then he got the entire community more involved.”
Cedar Park has enjoyed success throughout its athletic department in recent years. The boys cross country team won a state title in 2010 and finished second in 2011 and 2012. The boys basketball team reached the state tournament in 2011, and the volleyball team advanced to the state tournament for the first time this fall.
All this has happened under principal Barbara Spelman, who’s in Cedar Park vs. Lancaster, 8 p.m. Friday, FSSW Plus See more photos and get the latest local playoff scores and stats at
Sher fifth year at Cedar Park and who noted this week that Cedar Park’s marching band also is the state’s reigning Class 4A champion.
Spelman said Ross’s “unbelievable work ethic” was one reason the Timberwolves became a state football power. She also said Willis was Ross’ appropriate successor.
“Those two guys are so close to each other that if one starts a sentence,” Spelman said, “the other can finish it.”
Several Cedar Park players said the coaching transition from Ross to Willis barely produced a ripple within the team. Payne, offensive lineman Austin Hisler and fullback Thomas Middleton said they were confident 2012 would be the year the Timberwolves would finally reach state.
Their new coach encouraged those thoughts while alluding to Cedar Park’s back-toback losses in the state quarterfinals.
In another early meeting with his team, Willis set forth the team motto for 2012: “Finish!”
Regardless of the calendar, the Timberwolves believe it’s their time.
Cedar Park’s Chad Whitehead (81) and Sam Brock celebrate a TD reception by Brock against Manor in the semifinals last Saturday. RODOLFO