Photo: Gordon Deloach/TexasHSFootball

ARLINGTON — Lake Travis, nearly stole a state-title worthy win after dealing a possible trump — no pun intended — card after a bad deal.

Allen High School, though, countered with near-loaded deck during Saturday’s 35-33 UIL 6A Division I State Championship victory against the Cavaliers, calling upon an ace in the hole to help it weather a furious rally.

“A lot of what took place on this field today was Adam Garry. He never complained and fought like a warrior. He was exactly what an Allen Eagle is,” Head Coach Terry Gambill said of his team’s motivation to bring a state title back to Allen for the first time since Kyler Murray did it in 2014 and earn its fifth since 2008.

While 18-year-old Garry’s tragic death from cancer on Oct. 28 may have been an added spark to Allen’s gasoline-powered talent, Lake Travis battled a more recent demon — an game-ending injury to its starting quarterback on the first play from scrimmage.

After the loss of Ohio State hard commit Matthew Baldwin, though, the Cavaliers thrust Hudson Card onto the biggest stage in high school football. Through the arm and legs of their uber-mobile sophomore quarterback  they staged the UIL State Championship games’ second insta-classic in as many days, rallying from a 21-point deficit in the second and third quarters.

Gordon DeLoach/TexasHSFootball

“I wanted to be that guy that gets our team hype and back in the game. I knew all it takes is one play to get back in the game,” said Nathan Parodi, who returned a kick return 86 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter — the Cavaliers’ first of three consecutive scoring drives. ” We had seen that before against [Converse] Judson, when we were down 17. We just knew to walk back out there with our heads high and forget about everything — fumble , interception, or whatever — and move on.”

Lake Travis channeled Card, who threw for 224 yards and a touchdowns and completed 21 of his 32 pass attempts and ran for 73 more and added another touchdown in state championship relief.

With Card, Parodi and re-established defense building momentum, the Cavaliers erased the 21-point gap despite two costly interceptions after Nathan Parodi’s return, Card’s 3-yard barrel into the end zone little more than 30 seconds into the second quarter, and a Cameron Dicker 32-yard eight minutes later.

Though Allen’s Brock Sturges rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in the first 24 minutes and 176 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries total, the Cavaliers kept themselves in the game — through  Dicker’s 42-yard field goal and Card’s 7-yard strike to Kyle Wakefield.

Allen RB Brock Sturges ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday in the win over Lake Travis. Gordon DeLoach/TexasHSFootball

Not only did Lake Travis take the lead with 2:25 left in the third quarter, it did it with a sophomore signal caller under center. Poised and with momentum after Kyle Eaves’ 29-yard interception return, the Associated Press No. 1 and USA TODAY High School Sports national No. 3 Eagles seemed primed for a knockout blow.

That’s when Garry, its goal, and their city rushed to the forefront.  So did the lessons learned from Arlington Martin, Coppell, and South Grand Prairie.

Tisdale ran for 81 yards and scored a touchdown during Friday’s state championship game at AT&T Stadium. Gordon DeLoach/TexasHSFootball

“At the beginning of the season the goal was about doing it for the city. After Adam died it had a whole different meaning,” Sturges said about the mood on the sideline after the pick-6. “We knew what we were and who we were. We’d been in those situations before. That’s what I told [Tisdale] after the interception. There’s going to be big plays that happen against us and big plays that go for us. It’s all how the ball falls. We don’t panic, we keep pounding.”

That’s when the Eagle defense stood tall and made arguably its two biggest stop of the game. It pressured Card on a 2-point conversion that proved to be the difference between a state championship loss and overtime and saw Defensive MVP Taj Bickham’s intercept the sophomore quarterback on a play that stole away the last hopes of Lake Travis claiming its seventh state championship.

By the time Tisdale ran for his 71st yard of the game, Allen’s stake in a share of 6A title game glory was academic — and in earshot of a smiling Murray on the sideline.

“We really didn’t think about [Kyler’s legend], we were more focused on making our own way,” Sturges said. “It’s like former player Zachery Washington said before the game, ‘Make your own legacy.’ We wanted to make our own legacy and raise our own banner in 2017.”

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Marcus Matthews-Marion is the managing editor of TexasHSFootball, covering prep football throughout the Lone Star State. Follow him on Twitter, @TheMJMatthews, and read more of his content here.

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SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter                                                                                         AHS         LT

Jayden Jernigan 14-yard fumble return                                        7           0
(Brady Elsworth kick)
11:46

Brock Sturges 13-yard run                                                                   14          0
(Brady Elsworth kick)
9:25

Brock Sturges 3-yard run                                                                   21          0
(Brady Elsworth kick)
4:40

Nathan Parodi 86-yard kickoff return                                         21          7
(Cameron Dicker kick)
4:30

Second Quarter                                                                                     AHS         LT

Hudson Card 3-yard run                                                                    21           14
(Cameron Dicker kick)
11:27

Cameron Dicker 32-yard field goal                                                21          21
3:41

Third Quarter                                                                                         AHS         LT

Kyle Eaves 29-yard interception return                                       21          24
(Cameron Dicker kick)
2:25

Grant Tisdale 2-yard run                                                                     28          24
(Brady Elsworth kick)
7:49

Cameron Dicker 42-yard field goal                                                28          27
3:15

Brock Sturges 5-yard run                                                                    35          27
(Brady Elsworth kick)
0:51

Kyle Wakefield 7-yard pass from Hudson Card                         35          33
(Cameron Dicker kick)
9:57

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