Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: How do you describe Cedar Hill's Laquvionte Gonzalez? 'It's almost like you're playing Xbox and pressing all the buttons'
CEDAR HILL — Whether Laquvionte Gonzalez is taking a handoff, catching a pass or returning a kick, the same rules apply for a defense.
Get to the Cedar Hill speedster quickly. Don’t give him any room. And by all means, do not give him an open look at the end zone.
“When I break into the open, I kind of get my mind set on something in the end zone, like the goal posts,” Gonzalez said. “Then I just blast straight to it and hopefully nobody can catch me.”
There aren’t many who can catch Laquvionte (Luh-quiv-e-on-tay) Gonzalez, whose Cedar Hill team is two wins from the school’s second state championship. Cedar Hill (10-4) plays Austin Westlake (10-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium for a spot in the Class 5A Division II title game.
Gonzalez goes by the nickname “Quiv” and has been going by defenders — blowing by them, actually — for years. The senior, who has committed to Texas A&M, has scored 49 touchdowns over the last three seasons as a running back, receiver and kick returner.
He’s a potent hybrid.
“He’s one of those guys where it’s almost like you’re playing Xbox and pressing all the buttons,” Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire said. “He can spin and juke and do everything.”
Gonzalez can also absorb some big hits, but at only 5-11 and 170 pounds, he can have too much fight. Sometimes it’s a good idea to cut toward the sideline instead of back into the teeth of the defense, his coaches remind him. An extra yard isn’t always worth the punishment, and for Gonzalez, that lesson became more important after running back Jared Rayford suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Rayford was expected to be the primary runner, allowing Gonzalez to play receiver and be the change-of-pace back. But when Rayford was injured in the second game of the season, Gonzalez spent more time at running back.
The added carries have helped Gonzalez pile up 1,300 yards rushing, with an impressive 8.4 yards per attempt. The emergence of junior running back Larry Hill, who has rushed for more than 100 yards the last three weeks, has helped reduce some of the workload.
“If you get Quiv 20-plus touches a game, with kickoff returns, punt returns, stuff like that, you want to do that,” McGuire said. “But he’s not a guy you want carrying the ball out of the backfield 30 times a game.”
Do that and Gonzalez is not going to hold up. But the way Cedar Hill uses Quiv, he’s very tough to slow down. Gonzalez’s five touchdown runs in the playoffs are from an average of 20 yards out.
“He can run across the field and you still won’t get him,” said senior offensive lineman Anthony Pullins. “He’s the fastest guy I’ve ever seen in my life. You’re not going to catch him in the open space.”
“I’ve coached a lot of guys who are good between the tackles and have a burst,” added McGuire, whose Cedar Hill team won a 5A title in 2006. “But with his burst in the open field, you can have the angle on him and he’ll eat that angle up.”
And when the end zone is near, Gonzalez seems to be even faster.
“It’s like there’s another gear,” his coach said.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.