Arguably the two best Class 4A dynasties of the last decade meet in the Division I state title game at noon Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.
Denton Ryan (15-0), which appeared in four straight state-title games from 2000 to 2003, meets an Austin Lake Travis team (13-2) that's gunning for its fourth straight state title.
"There's a reason they're the three-time defending state champions -- they are very well coached, they are very talented and they play very hard," Ryan head coach Joey Florence said. "It's going to be a battle."
Both teams enter the matchup on hot streaks. After a three-year down period following its dynasty days, Ryan is back among the top 4A programs in the state, riding a stellar defense to an undefeated record in a season in which only two teams have challenged the Raiders this year.
Ryan survived a late Wylie rally last week to clinch a berth in the state title game, winning 25-20. Waco Midway pushed Ryan in the third round of the playoffs, but the Raiders defense scored nine points in a 19-10 win.
Lake Travis overcame some rare adversity to make it back to the title game. It had a 48-game winning streak snapped by Aledo in nondistrict play in a game in which quarterback Michael Brewer didn't play. The Cavaliers suffered another loss in their regular-season finale, losing to Cedar Park, 35-21.
But Lake Travis was its old self in the playoffs, racing past contenders Kerrville Tivy (48-42) and Friendswood (24-3) in addition to avenging its loss to Cedar Park (21-20).
The matchup pits Ryan's defense, one of the best in the state, against a Lake Travis offense that's guided it to unprecedented success.
"We haven't really faced anybody throwing it quite like they're throwing, and certainly nobody as good as they're throwing it," Florence said. "It ought to be an interesting matchup for our defense."
Ryan's defensive front six boasts a bevy of Division I talent, including defensive ends Mario Edwards and Ty Hook (Louisiana Tech) and linebackers Jordan Richmond and Alex De La Torre. Edwards, Richmond and De La Torre are juniors.
After winning two state titles with current Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Lake Travis is hoping that Brewer, a Texas Tech commit, can match his predecessor by winning his second.
Despite an injury-plagued season, Brewer has thrown for 2,654 yards and 26 touchdowns. Receiver Griffin Gilbert, Garrett's younger brother, leads the team with 70 receptions, 1,110 yards and 11 touchdowns.