AUSTIN — One play. Three times. Three touchdowns.
Austin Travis junior running back Eric Strait led the Rebels to three one-play touchdown drives Thursday night in Austin at Tony Burger Stadium as they defeated Lampasas 55-28.
Strait scored six touchdowns and had more than 300 total yards against the Badgers.
“That kid is fast, so when he gets in the open he is hard to beat,” Lampasas coach Brian Emerson. “He had a couple runs where he went untouched up the middle and scored.”
Rebels’ head coach Armando Jacinto has been privy to some special talent and he sees a lot of one player in particular in the 6-foot-1 Strait.
“I coached LaDainian Tomlinson back in 1996 when he scored six times and this kid reminds me so much of (Tomlinson) – the speed and the style,” Jacinto said. “Eric can go as far as he wants to – the talent is there.”
The Badgers saw that talent in full bloom as Strait had runs of 58, 56, 54 and 44 yards to go with his two receiving scores. Strait ran for 282 yards on 16 carries and caught two passes for 53 yards, each for touchdowns.
“I really just followed my blocks and let my lineman lead me,” Strait said. “We just put in the work and we had a good day. The win is all that matters.”
Despite falling behind by 21 points in the second half, Lampasas kept up the fight, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to close within 42-28, but back-to-back Travis drives ended quickly with long Strait touchdowns.
“We lost Steven Jazdyk on the first play, and we really never recovered from that until the second half,” Emerson said. “By then we had dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t get out of. We are not designed to get into a pass-first type of strategy and when we fell behind it was tough to catch up.”
After falling behind 7-0, the Badgers forced a punt and started at Travis’ 45-yard line. Senior running back Gary Spencer took a Logan Irvin handoff for a 25-yard gain. After a 2-yard loss, Irvin connected with senior Cale Walker for 22 yards. A second catch was made a 19-yard touchdown that tied the game with just under four minutes remaining in the first.
“Logan (Irvin) has a real good arm and made the right decisions tonight without forcing anything,” Emerson said. “He held the ball and ran when he had to.”
Irvin threw for 126 yards on 8-of-12 passing with one touchdown but added 45 yards on the ground on nine carries.
After Jazdyk’s injury the bulk of the Badgers’ offense went through Spencer. The halfback carried the ball 19 times for 156 yards.
His longest run came on Lampasas’ final scoring drive that saw the Badgers’ chew up 99 yards – 79 came on one carry by Spencer.
He took the handoff and sprinted to his right and was finally tripped up at the Rebels’ 20-yard line but a Travis unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ball to the 5-yard line and one play later Avery Gary scored from 3 yards out.