On Friday night, Lake Travis will travel to Westlake for the 14th meeting between the two rivals since 2006. The following day, two notable alumni from those high schools will reunite at Royal-Memorial Stadium.
It is expected that Texas and Baylor will start sophomore quarterbacks from Westlake and Lake Travis on Saturday afternoon. Sam Ehlinger was Westlake’s starting quarterback from 2014-16. Baylor’s Charlie Brewer won a state championship with the Cavaliers in 2016.
“He’s done some spectacular things (at Lake Travis) and continued to do that at Baylor,” Ehlinger said. “Much respect to him, one of my good friends and I look forward to seeing him on Saturday.”
In 2015, Ehlinger was named the American-Statesman’s All-Central Texas Player of the Year. Brewer took that title from him the following season. Those two seasons are arguably among the best ever recorded by an area quarterback.
During his junior year, Ehlinger accounted for 71 touchdowns as Westlake reached the Class 6A, Division I championship game. That season, he also became the all-time leading passer at a school that produced NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Nick Foles. Those accomplishments led to Ehlinger being featured on a secondary cover for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine the following summer.
In 2016, Brewer set a national high school record when he completed 77.2 percent of his passes. He threw for more than 4,000 yards and 56 touchdowns with only two interceptions as Lake Travis cruised to its first championship at the Class 6A level.
“In high school, I don’t think he threw an incompletion against us. He destroyed us,” said Texas safety Caden Sterns, whose Cibolo Steele lost a 59-56 game to Brewer’s Cavaliers in 2016.
Since their arrivals on their respective college campuses, Ehlinger and Brewer have combined for 22 starts. Ehlinger is coming off a five-touchdown performance against Oklahoma that garnered a slew of conference and national awards. Brewer, who is the son of ex-UT quarterback Robert Brewer, has thrown for 1,558 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
Said Baylor coach Matt Rhule of Ehlinger on Monday: “Sam is a great competitor. Watching Sam, he can run the ball if they have numbers. He can run zone read and scramble and he is extremely accurate, and he takes advantage of his big receivers. He is playing very well and is in a system that allows him to excel.”
Texas coach Tom Herman predicted Monday that Brewer “has a chance to be special.”
“They’ve opened up the offense a little bit more, that’s undeniable,” Herman said. “That’s a credit to their coaching staff, too, for recognizing the personnel that they have and the fact that they’ve got a really, really, really, really good quarterback.”
Ehlinger and Brewer have been on the same path for a while. Both players were sophomores when they made their high school’s varsity roster. Both players started as collegiate freshmen. Not much on-field history exists between the two, however.
Brewer was a back-up when Lake Travis and Westlake played in 2014. Ehlinger was injured for all but one quarter of Lake Travis and Westlake’s two meetings in 2016. A concussion also sidelined Ehlinger for UT’s 38-7 win in Waco last year. In that Texas/Baylor game, Brewer came off the bench to throw 27 passes.
That leaves Lake Travis’ 35-14 win over Westlake in 2015 as the only battle of significance between Brewer and Ehlinger. Brewer threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score in the showdown between the sixth and eighth-ranked teams in Class 6A. Ehlinger was limited to 114 passing yards.
On Tuesday, Ehlinger described his relationship with Brewer as friendly. The two quarterbacks have known each other since middle school and occasionally text.
“We love competing against each other,” Ehlinger said. “He’s a great dude.”