Havelock’s Travis Sabdo didn’t just have to follow one legend. He had to follow two.
Garrett Crowe led the Rams to the 2011 state championship as a senior quarterback, and Pharoh Cooper did the same in 2012.
Sabdo won the starting quarterback job for 2013 as a junior, and all he did was help guide the Rams to a 16-0 season and another state championship.
“It feels great,” said Sabdo, who was named Havelock’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player after Saturday’s 21-13 victory over Concord in the state 3A title game. “These seniors deserved to go out on top. This coaching staff deserves a heck of a lot of credit, and those boys in the locker room deserve a lot of credit. Those boys do a heck of a job in practice and the coaches do a heck of a job on the weekends and during the week getting us ready for each and every Friday night.”
Sabdo was 14 of 24 passing for 126 yards in the contest. Though he didn’t throw a touchdown pass, he also didn’t throw an interception. He also avoided being sacked in the game.
“What we asked Travis to do was not take big sacks and not have turnovers,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said. “He did a great job of that. If we don’t have turnovers with the defense we’ve got, we’ve got a chance to win every game we play.”
The Rams started slowly in the contest, and Sabdo even failed to connect with center Michael Howard on the exchange of the football on a fourth down in the second quarter. Concord’s Rocky Reid scored on the next play, giving the Spiders a 10-0 lead.
However, the Rams answered quickly when Derrell Scott ran 51 yards for a touchdown a minute later, breathing life back into the Havelock players.
“We needed to bounce back,” Sabdo said of the fumble. “We needed a play, and we called on Derrell and Derrell made it. Those boys up front did a heck of a job, and our receivers did a good job blocking.”
Sabdo spread the ball around among his receivers, with Matthew Boykin, Micheal Bowman, Taylor Woods and Kyran Bowman catching three passes each.
“Our receivers are real good,” Sabdo said. “When I throw the ball to them, they can turn a 5-yard gain into an 80-yard touchdown pass, so you get the ball on the edge to those playmakers, and it’s real easy for us. They do a heck of a job in practice catching the ball and catching the ball in traffic and getting hit, and I’m proud of those boys. They did a good job today.”
Still, Concord’s defense proved stout, limiting Sabdo’s ability to get the ball deep down the field.
“Concord defense is a heck of a defense,” he said. “They gave us a lot of different looks. They’re fast and physical. We knew that coming in, but the coaches put together a great game plan for us to succeed and it worked.”
Sabdo, in his first year as a varsity starter, said he wasn’t nervous before the game.
“I tell myself before every game that it’s just a game. I’ve been playing this game since I was 4 years old. Most of those guys on the team, we’ve been together since we were 4. I love each and every one of those boys.
“Nerves weren’t a part of it. I was just anxious to play. I was ready to play for these seniors and I was ready to play this last game this season.”
Sabdo finished the year with 2,593 yards passing and 36 touchdown passes, with just five interceptions. He has yet to lose a game as a junior varsity or varsity starting quarterback.
“He had a great junior year,” Bryant said. “I’m looking forward to having him back next year.”