Nice story...UT Fans may remember the name.

Discussion in 'Sports Zone' started by jay cee, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    Oct. 11, 2005, 10:56PM

    Carrying on the tradition
    Elsik senior Trevor Cavness is the latest standout in a football-rich family
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    The Cavness men.

    They listen intently as the other speaks. They poke and prod each other. Jokes come easily. Smiles come easier.

    That's the side that looks like many grandfather-father-son relationships.

    But the Cavness men share a unique history. Lives built on the football field have bonded them.

    The Cavness men are like few others.

    "We've never known life without football," Grady Cavness Jr. said. "Every day of the week it was there."

    History of success
    It starts with Grady Cavness Sr. He's the patriarch of this football family.

    Grady Sr. was the backbone of a Yates program in its heyday. The Lions went to the state final four out of five years (1961-65) and claimed two state titles. As a sophomore starter at running back and cornerback when Yates won its second Prairie View Interscholastic League championship in 1962, Cavness was clearly destined for great things.

    He got his team back to the state championship of the PVIL — the governing league for black schools during segregation — in 1964 but graduated from Yates in 1965 and headed to UTEP with just one state title to his name.

    Four years later, Cavness — business degree in hand — was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos as a defensive back. He spent a year with the Broncos and another with the Atlanta Falcons.

    But it wasn't until 1971 that his life took on real meaning. That's when Grady Jr. came along and Grady Sr. saw his future in his baby's eyes.

    "I was too young to have ever seen my dad play," Grady Jr. said. "But I knew everything he'd accomplished. And I don't think there was ever a time I didn't want to do the same."

    Grady Jr. grew up watching his cousin, Thurman Thomas, play football. Thomas was a star at Willowridge and Oklahoma State. He was a second-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills, played in four Super Bowls and holds the team's career rushing record (11,938 yards).

    So when Grady Jr. strapped on a Willowridge jersey as a freshman, he had past family accomplishments to live up to.

    "I don't know that these guys had pressure to perform or anything," Grady Sr. said. "We enjoyed watching Thurman play. He had tremendous talent. But it's just in the family to do our best. I think all the boys have incredible talent in them, and we just had to work with it and make the most of that talent."

    And with a little talent and a lot of hard work, Grady Jr. became one of the top defensive backs in the Houston area. He was the Houston-area defensive player of the year in 1988, and like his father, he played both offense and defense.

    In 1989, Grady Jr. traded his Willowridge jersey for a No. 21 Texas shirt. And as he took the field in Austin, Grady Jr. was comforted knowing his father was in the stands, as was the newest member of the Cavness clan baby Trevor, who was just a few months old when Grady Jr. became a Longhorn.

    "Trevor lived in Houston, but he came to every home game," Grady Jr. said.

    Family support
    His young son wasn't the only constant during his college career. Grady Sr. and his wife, Barbara, never missed a game — home or away — in their son's four years at UT.

    "I think we'll claim that as having never been done before," Grady Sr. said with a laugh. "We were always there. Never missed a game."

    And Grady Jr. points to that support as a reason for his success. He finished at UT in 1992 — also with a business degree — and had 137 tackles and seven interceptions as a member of the early '90s Texas secondary that drew national attention.

    A two-time all-Southwest Conference selection, Grady Jr. spent five years in the Canadian Football League before hanging up his spikes in 1997 when he began working at the brokerage firm Morgan Stanley. He is currently a junior internal wholesaler with the company.

    "It meant a lot to me just knowing my family was always behind me," Grady Jr. said. "And that's the kind of father I wanted to be. I wanted them to know that feeling of support that I had."

    Trevor knows it.

    The high school senior is the starting running back for Elsik. But like his father and grandfather, he plays both offense and defense.

    Cheering section
    And as he straps on his No. 21 Rams jersey, he remembers they're waiting. Each time he scores a touchdown, he knows they're cheering. When he has a bad day, he knows they can sympathize.

    "I don't ever wave," Trevor said with a smile. "But I do peek out of the side of my helmet to see them in the stands. I know exactly where they sit. And it feels good knowing they're there."

    Trevor's half brothers, Jai and Tony Cavness, are juniors at Fort Bend Marshall. But the Cavness family is sure to always have someone stationed at the games.

    "We get on the cell phone to get updates," Barbara said. "Someone will be with Trevor and someone at Marshall games. Someone is always there."

    They were there when Trevor scored four touchdowns, including the game-winner, in Elsik's District 19-5A opener against Katy Taylor on Oct. 1. They saw his career-high 99 yards receiving.

    When Trevor gets home from practice, Grady Sr. watches film with him. Grady Jr. works out with his sons.

    "They keep me in shape," he said.

    Trevor still watches game film from when his father was at Texas.

    "My parents filmed everything," Grady Jr. said. "So Trevor got to see me. He was at the games, but he had no idea he was there. Now he can look back and see what it was all about."

    For the Cavness men, it's about life. From the time Trevor was old enough to remember, he had a football in his hand. He recalls running through the house with pillows wearing his dad's oversized UT helmet.

    "I give credit to my team for a great game," Trevor said. "I can't do it without them at all. But I also don't know that I'd love football like I do without my family."

    The future
    The Cavnesses would be family even without football. Trevor is looking at colleges. Football will be a way to pay for an education.

    But a degree is a requirement. Values rank above life on the field. And that — more than anything — is what makes Grady Sr.'s heart swell.

    "I'm just really proud," he said. "We stress education. That's the most important thing. Everyone in the family has a college degree. There's life after football. And the boys all understand that."

    But it's life with football that sets them apart. They take comfort in each other. They are quick to thank one another for support and love.

    And as the three generations gather together and take a moment to bask in past and present accomplishments, it's clear that football is more than a game for the Cavness men.

    "We expect certain things," Grady Sr. said. "I always told them I knew they could play. I think Trevor has astonished us all. But I just tell them to go out and play. We'll help them with anything they need. Just do the best you can, that's what we expect."

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