December 8, 2007

Gilbert's stock soaring with playoff success

Garrett Gilbert hasn't played a role in every disappointing playoff loss that the Lake Travis Cavaliers has suffered over the course of the current decade, but he's certainly carried the burden that losses created this year.

Throughout the year, Gilbert has dodged questions about his status as a superstar prospect and instead kept his focus on leading his team new heights in the post-season.

Suddenly, Gilbert doesn't have to worry about his team's reputation for not getting it done in the playoffs. The month of December is upon us and the Cavaliers are two wins away from a state title.

While Gilbert can take pride in knowing that his team has chucked every perceived monkey off their collective backs, there's something new that he's playing for whether he knows it or not.

His legacy.

After completing 24 of 31 passes for 278 yards and seven touchdowns in a thrilling 57-43 win over Beeville on Friday night, Gilbert's reputation as the state's top quarterback prospect is starting to reach new heights.

With most of his peers in Class of 2009 are no longer vying for state championships, Gilbert has let his performance on the state's biggest state - the state playoffs - do all of his talking.

"I've really been focused on this season and haven't thought much about (recruiting)," Gilbert said. "I know a lot of people thought that we were a team that could only play in the regular season and we wanted to prove that we could be successful.

In four playoff games this season, Gilbert has shredded teams for 1,080 yards and 16 touchdowns, while completely eliminating the interception from the playbook. While his play is certainly peaking at the right time, that's not the thing that has him thinking that this team has a state championship in its destiny.

"The thing is, we hadn't played a complete game until the playoffs," Gilbert said. "But, we've been playing so much better as a complete team since our first playoff game. We're playing our best football right now.

Thus far this season, Gilbert has completed 304 of 479 passes (63.5%) for 3,982 yards, 38 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. Also, despite his reputation as a pass-first player, he's also added almost 400 yards and four touchdowns as a threat in the running game.

Despite all of the success, Gilbert's not quite ready to pat himself on the back and he's certainly not ready to think about recruiting.

"All of my focus is still on trying to help the team," Gilbert said. "I'll talk about recruiting when we finish the season. I want to focus completely on our team until the season is over."

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