Quarterback Danny Webster Jr. led the Havelock Rams to the eastern 3A championship game while breaking the school’s single-season all-purpose yardage record in 2009.
Garrett Crowe threw for more yards than any other Ram quarterback, leading Havelock to a perfect 16-0 state title season in 2011.
Pharoh Cooper broke Webster’s record and helped produce another state title in 2012.
Well, Travis Sabdo — what have you got?
The junior quarterback is following three of the school’s most legendary signal-callers, and so far, he has the Rams off to a 4-0 start to the season.
“I know I have some big shoes to fill,” Sabdo said after Havelock’s 37-0 victory over Kinston on Friday. “They’re all legends at Havelock High School. I don’t feel any pressure (to follow them). I just feel like I have to go out on Friday nights every week and do what I’m coached to do, not turn the ball over and get the ball to my playmakers on the outside and keep getting wins so we can get where we want to go.”
Sabdo has completed 35 of 67 passes for 749 yards and eight touchdowns. In his first year as a varsity starter, he has not thrown an interception and has not fumbled.
“I think turnovers are a big lack of focus in the passing game,” Sabdo said. “Coach (Jim Bob) Bryant stresses it a lot in practice to not turn the ball over and to not take unnecessary shots down the field. He’s done a good job with me and taking care of the football.”
Of course, Sabdo understands he is not the sole reason behind Havelock’s 4-0 record. He is quick to credit a Ram defense that has surrendered just two offensive touchdowns.
“Our defense is playing absolutely great,” he said. “They are getting to the ball fast. We’ve got some great players on defense, and they are playing lights out. If they keep playing like that, we’re going to win a lot of games and hopefully get to where we want to go.”
As if guiding the top-ranked 3A team in the state isn’t enough, Sabdo does so under the close watch of his father, Bob Sabdo, an offensive line coach for the Rams.
“My dad coaching is a big thing for me,” he said. “He knows not to stress out on me a lot. He’s a good mentor for me, to talk to me before the games and make sure my head’s right. I’m glad Coach Bryant has him on staff, and hopefully he can keep giving me good advice for games to come.”
The first game to come is Havelock’s final non-conference contest against Northside at 7 p.m. Friday at Havelock.
“It’s a big game,” he said. “It’s our second game at home, and we’ve got to get better every week so we can peak at the right time.”
And for Havelock, the right time is the Coastal 3A Conference season and the playoffs.
“All 50 guys in that locker room believe we can win the state championship,” Sabdo said. “We have to keep having games where we don’t give up any points and the offense is getting 40 or 50 points. Coach Bryant keeps saying that if we have turnover-free games, we’ll keep winning on Friday nights. If we can keep taking care of the football, we’re going to be real good. We all think we can win a state championship, but we have to keep getting better each week.”