PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE: UPDATE

There was a big win in District 25-6A two weeks ago. No, it wasn’t Westlake’s 56-7 win over Lehman. The Hays Rebels’ win over Vista Ridge had huge ramifications for the Chaps’ playoff outlook. Westlake has the third largest enrollment in the district, trailing only Hays and Lake Travis. With the Rebels and Cavaliers in the playoffs, Westlake will be in the Division II bracket.

In past years, placement in Division II hasn’t meant much in the overall playoff draw. Storied programs compete in both brackets every year. For example, in 2015, both Katy and Lake Travis played in the 6A-Division II championship game. That year, Westlake took on Galena Park Northshore in the 6A-Division I title game. In 2017, the draw for Westlake could mean the difference between playing at AT&T Stadium in late December and an early round exit.

Westlake is worthy of their status among all 6A teams in Texas. Since Todd Dodge took over the program, Westlake has enjoyed wins over state powers such as Southlake Carroll, Katy, Allen, The Woodlands, Atascocita, Judson, and Lake Travis. Westlake has no fears when it comes to big games, but the Hays win over Vista Ridge gives the playoff landscape some perspective.

In round one, the Chaps take on San Antonio MacArthur. The Brahmas have a 4-5 record headed into their final regular season game with San Antonio Lee. Despite their record, MacArthur beat San Antonio Madison by ten and lost to San Antonio Reagan by only three points. Both Madison and Reagan will represent District 26 in the 6A-Division I bracket.

 MacArthur Brahmas

MacArthur Brahmas

You can’t prepare for a team and look at their record. You have to respect who they are, and more importantly, who’ve they’ve been as a program.
— Todd Dodge

Looking at round two, an argument could be made that Westlake’s second playoff game will be the toughest on paper until a potential berth in the state championship game. Assuming Westlake wins in the bi-district round, the Chaps would likely face the winner of San Antonio Brandeis out of District 28 and Smithson Valley out of District 27. After Smithson Valley’s big upset last week over one of the top teams in the state in Converse Judson, the Rangers appear to be the likely round two opponent. Smithson Valley’s only loss of the season came three weeks ago against Schertz Clemens by a score of 16-10. District 27 is currently in a three-way tie for first between Clemens, Smithson Valley, and Converse Judson. All are 8-1 with 5-1 district records..

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If Westlake manages to get past the second round, the Chaps will face a team from South Texas. Historically, Westlake has dominated teams from the Valley, even when facing a squad that many consider to be a top-flight team from that area. This year, the best teams in the Valley are going to land in the Division I bracket. Even the best Valley teams in Division II could very well be in the opposite half of the Region IV bracket and not likely to make it to the region final.

Projecting ahead to a potential quarterfinals matchup, one of four teams is most likely to come out of the bottom half of the Region IV bracket. Two of those teams meet in round one. San Antonio Johnson, the District 26 champion, will face Vandegrift, the near spoilers of Westlake’s perfect season. The winner of that game will face the winner of San Antonio Brennan and Cibolo Steele. Any of those four teams shouldn’t have any issues in round three. It would certainly be interesting to see a Chaparrals-Vipers rematch in the quarterfinals, and Vandegrift Head Coach Drew Sanders and his team certainly have as good of a chance as any team to get there.

 Vandegrift Head Coach Drew Sanders

Vandegrift Head Coach Drew Sanders

If Westlake can get past their state quarterfinal foe, our eyes turn to Region III for a likely semi-final opponent. When you look for the best teams in Region III, most will be in the Division I bracket. Familiar foes Galena Park North Shore, Atascocita, and the Katy Tigers are the top three teams in Region III, and all are in the D-I bracket. Houston Lamar and Fort Bend Ridge Point are in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine’s top 16, and they are both Division I teams. Going beyond the top 25, one can look at a quality team like Katy Cinco Ranch. Cinco Ranch will also be a D-I playoff team.

You now see who Westlake won’t play, so here are some teams that the Chaps could potentially meet up with out of Region III.

Cy-Fair: (8-0)*

Langham Creek: (8-0)

Fort Bend Bush: (6-1)

Houston Strake Jesuit: (6-2)

Summer Creek: (6-2)

*Could receive Division I placement

If you’re not convinced that the Hays win over Vista Ridge was one of the biggest victories for Westlake this season, let the following idea simmer. Excluding Westlake, there are only four teams in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine’s current top 15 that have secured Division II playoff status and only one other that might see D-II placement. The top two teams in the state (Katy and Allen) are Division I schools. Looking at the four teams ranked sixth through ninth; Judson, Garland Sachse, Duncanville, and Lake Travis are all in Division I. Additionally, every Division II team in Dave Campbell’s top 25 is either in Region I or Region II. That means the Chaps wouldn’t face any of those teams until the state final. However, one could argue that Smithson Valley being left out of the top 25 this week is a little odd after their big win over Judson considering their lone loss is by six to an 8-1 team.

So, who are the best teams on the other side of the Division II bracket? Below is a list of the top teams that could very well be on the other side of a run to the state title.

#4 Klein Collins: (8-0)

#5 Spring Westfield: (8-0)

#10 DeSoto: (8-1)

#13 Hewitt Midway: (9-0)

#14 San Angelo Central: (9-0)

 Hewitt Midway

Hewitt Midway

Bottom line, the focus this week is on a District 25-6A Championship and an undefeated regular season. The Bi-District Championship is already set and as the top ranked team in all of Division II, the Westlake Chaparrals are in great position to make a run deep into December.