Lake Travis offensive lineman Taylor Doyle had a bittersweet state championship game. On one hand, Lake Travis won the Class 4A Division I championship, Lake Travis's third state title in as many years. On the other, Doyle suffered a broken ankle, one that took multiple surgeries to fix.
"I was really just cleared to do everything last week," Doyle said. "It has really been a long process. That really motivated me to come back stronger and better than I was."
Doyle said the ankle was about 95 percent, thanks to extensive rehabilitation sessions along with his weekly workouts. He was well enough to compete in the Texas Lineman State Challenge with his Cavalier teammates, the offensive line's answer to the summer's 7-on-7 events for the skill position players.
"They had a lot of random competitions," Doyle said. "You had the bench press, of course, but you also had how fast you could move sandbags or blocking sleds. It was a lot of fun competing."
A competitive nature is one of Doyle's strong suits. A 6-foot-5, 270-pound tackle in high school, Doyle has earned a reputation as an athletic lineman with a mean streak, somebody who, more often than not, wrestles his opponents to the ground and who shows the ability to get to the second level and finish blocks.
For a competitive player, it's hard to find a better school than Lake Travis. The Cavaliers have won 46 consecutive games and haven't lost in Doyle's high school career.
"I feel like that puts a little pressure on us," Doyle said. "We want to keep that tradition going. It's not just for us, it's for the players who have already come through the program and built it to what it is now. I think it serves as extra motivation for the younger kids as well. They know they need to work to keep the streak alive.
"We play for the people who have already played, and we play for the coaches who got us to where we are," Doyle said. "It's a motivator. Nobody wants to be the team that lost. Nobody wants to be the team that breaks the streak."
Doyle elected to join a college program that was also used to a high level of success, becoming one of the Longhorns' first 2011 commitments back in Februrary.
"I've lived in Austin all my life. I've grown up going to Longhorns games," Doyle said. "I've always thought those guys were the best football players in the world. So to walk through those facilities, to get that offer and the chance to play there, it was a pretty easy decision for me.
"Everyone here at school has their own team … we have some A&M fans who give me a hard time about it," Doyle joked. "But my friends have been great and supportive, and I really liked the close feeling between the Texas players and coaches."
While Doyle plays tackle in high school, he said a move to guard would likely happen in college.
"The coaches told us, at the end of the day, the best five offensive lineman will start, whether you're a guard, or tackle or center or whatever," Doyle said. "I'm just going to keep working hard."