"It's a great day to be a Chaparral."
There are high school football games and then there's the game played on October 13, 2017 at Chaparral Stadium. This year's annual rivalry delivered on the hype. Multiple turnovers, explosive plays, and in the end, the 2017 Westlake Football ended the nine year, 10 game streak with a 21-14 win over Lake Travis.
Tony Salazar's defense allowed 14 points in the first half, but the Cavaliers never saw the end zone in the second half. Armed with an offense that averaged over 500 yards of total offense per game, the Westlake defense minimized Lake Travis' explosiveness allowing just 242 yards of total offense and kept the scoreboard blank in the second half.
Fittingly, the game came down to a defensive play. After Nakia Watson's one yard touchdown run with 3:37 remaining in regulation, Matthew Baldwin took his offense down field. On fourth down, Lake Travis needed the Westlake 16 yard line to move the chains and continue their quest to tie the game. A quick pass to Garrett Wilson was the call and Keaton Jones closed, wrapped up Wilson's feet, and the ball was placed between the 17 and 16 yard lines. Upon the measurement, the Cavaliers were short. Westlake ball with 47 seconds left meant the two losses in 2016 were avenged and the 10 game losing streak was over.
"We have two team goals before the year starts," Todd Dodge said. "One, is to win a district championship and the other is to be practicing on Thanksgiving. Right now, both those goals are achievable."
While Westlake cruises into the first of three final regular season games at 7-0, Lehman is on the other end of the 25-6A spectrum. The Lobos are 1-7 under first year head coach Josh Kirkland. With Todd Raymond taking over the athletic director duties for Pflugerville ISD Athletics, the district looked west to El Paso. Their search turned up a first year head coach whose team went 8-4 in his debut season. Kirkland had taken over Parkland High School and the Matadors were fresh off a playoff win and an Area Championship appearance when he got the call from Kyle. Kirkland accepted and now, he embarks on the difficult task of creating success at Lehman.
While the first year has been difficult, Kirkland and his staff have made some tough choices. Among them is switching out quarterbacks and sending starter Daniel O'Neal to wide receiver and handing the offense over to freshman, Bryant Lewis. In his short term as a starter, Lewis offers a unique threat to the Lobo rushing attack. The young quarterback has yet to throw a touchdown pass, but his feet work just fine. Lewis has rushed for 405 yards, two scores, and manages just over five yards per rushing attempt. He began the season as a wide receiver and caught the game winning touchdown reception in overtime to beat Akins.
Joining Lewis in the backfield is senior running back Kaleb Priestly. A speed threat at just five-foot-six-inches and 150 pounds, both Priestly and Lewis pose the biggest threat offensively. Defensively has been the issue for Josh Kirkland. While Lehman has some spark offensively with their young talent, it's the defense that opponents have feasted on in eight games.
Lehman opponents enjoy a first quarter point differential of 137 in first quarter play. Opponents have scored 106 more points than the Lobos in the second quarter. With more than capable teams, first half play can get messy.
"At some point, as a head coach, you have to make a decision to play your young talent," Dodge said.
It appears that Kirkland has made that abundantly clear as Lehman features three sophomores starting at linebacker to go along with the three sophomores on the offensive line.
"Lehman has our respect," Defensive Coordinator Tony Salazar said. "Coach Kirkland is trying to build something and he's figuring out where guys can go and how they fit. More importantly, he's giving them a chance to get some much needed experience."
For Westlake, a win over Lehman secures a playoff appearance, but Westlake fans will be paying close attention to a pivotal district match-up in where the outcome could affect which division the Chaps will call home in the upcoming 6A playoffs. Hays and Vista Ridge will fight for their playoff lives tonight. If Hays wins, the Rebels have the inside track on the second seed in the 6A-Division I bracket behind Lake Travis. This scenario sends Westlake to the top seed in the 6A-Division II tournament. Should Vista Ridge bounce back from the Vandegrift shut-out to defeat Hays, the Rangers keep their playoff hopes alive and put both Westlake and Lake Travis into the Division I pool.
Our tailgate show begins live at 7pm on AM-1300 The ZONE. Listen live to "Getting Defensive" with Tony Salazar. Make sure you stay tuned to our halftime coverage as we recap the first half highlights. Our halftime features the thoughts of Nakia Watson, our Chap of the Week. As you leave Bob Shelton Stadium, let us join you on The Drive Home as we review the game, run the stats, and hand out our own helmet stickers.
THE WESTLAKE CHAP APP
Head to the App Store on any Apple device. The Westlake Chap App can be downloaded on any iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Pro and iPod Touch. Listen to live coverage of Westlake Football all year long. Make sure to UPDATE your Chap App as we're rolling out a new and improved app that will feature ALL Westlake Sports Teams. Westlake football is live and at your fingertips with the Westlake Chap App.
For Android users, the new version of the Westlake Chap App is LIVE on the Google Play Store. This new app has the exact same features as the Apple version. So, enjoy Westlake athletics from any Android powered device.
Go straight to our live streaming broadcast on any desktop or lap top.
CLICK HERE WestlakeChaps.com
We will provide an in-stadium FM frequency for fans that bring their FM radios with them to Bob Shelton Stadium. Get behind the scenes action live on the Chap Signal. We will update our audience via our social media sites with the frequency. Bring your radio and hear the Chap Signal.
Follow Westlake Athletics all year long on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Click the links below and like and follow our sites that feature Westlake student-athletes.
We hope you enjoyed our television coverage last Saturday evening on our new home for Westlake Football, KBVO-TV. Tonight's broadcast will air on Saturday, October 28th at 7pm. Please check your provider for the correct channel. The game will also stream live at 7pm so if you wish to watch live from any device, you can. The link below will lead you to the game. Note the stream will not begin until 7pm on Saturday evening. Please share the link to as many fans as possible.
TV LIVE STREAM: http://kxan.tv/westlakechaps