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The Dotted Line: Charles Wright ready to solidify legacy at Austin High with playoff win

Iowa State dealt the Longhorns a blow last Friday by coming into Austin and beating Texas. It was payback for Charles Wright, a three-star quarterback from Austin High who flipped his commitment from the Cyclones to Texas on Aug. 22.

Austin High quarterback Charles Wright looks for a receiver in play action against Connally Friday at The Pfield.  [LOURDES M SHOAF/for Statesman]

Wright is Texas’ only quarterback pledge in the 2021 class. He plans to sign during the early period in December and enroll in January.

But he’d like to rewrite some history at Austin High first. The Maroons haven’t won a playoff game since the 1950s. Wright and his teammates hope to change that after qualifying for the state playoffs in Class 6A with a win over Del Valle just hours after the Longhorns’ loss to Iowa State.

Call it a pallet cleanser.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. We’ve worked extremely hard to have an opportunity to rewrite the record books and for that I’m extremely grateful,” Wright said after the win. “Of course we all understand our playoff win drought, but I would say it’s more motivation rather than pressure.”

Wright is playing at an all-district level. He’s completed 198 of his 310 passing attempts for 2,549 yards and 29 touchdown passes to eight interceptions through eight games. Although ranked as a pocket passer, he's also leading his team with 397 rushing yards and five rushing scores. 

“My overall football knowledge has grown so much since my first start,” he said. “Film work, knowledge of defenses, and knowing my own offense well enough to check plays and execute them have played a huge role in my success.”

Maroons head coach Michael Rosenthal sees similar progressions for Wright. The senior cracked the varsity lineup in a handful of games as a freshman before taking over full-time as a sophomore. He was a first-team all-district selection as a junior. 

“He has improved his knowledge of the playbook and has taken his decision making to another level. He has freedom to check plays at the line of scrimmage and he has done a good job of putting us in the correct play for success,” Rosenthal said. “Physically he has improved because of the work he has put in over the summer. He is faster and stronger than last year.”

Wright’s experience allows for mental freedom.   

“He is not afraid to make a mistake, so he is really confident going out on the field and just playing,” Rosenthal said. 

Wright also sets the tone for his program behind the scenes. 

“Charles is a great leader because he is the most accountable player we have on the team. He is a vocal leader, but also leads by his actions,” Rosenthal said. “He is our hardest worker, our best player, and puts in extra work on the practice field, in the weight room, and watching film.” 

That amount of work doesn’t go unnoticed by his peers. 

“He is a three-time captain voted on by his teammates each year,” Rosenthal said. “He works at getting better every day in practice.”

Wright and his teammates are idle this week with a bi-district game looming the following week.