"It's a great day to be a Chaparral."
Winning football games is hard. So many aspects of the game must fall into place for a team to be successful. Coaches call it the grind. The seemingly non-stop preparation, the weight training, the practice, and the hours spent studying video. The reward? Three hours on Friday nights in the fall.
For 64 Westlake seniors, the road from their first fall as freshmen to senior night might be long in calendar days, but in an instant, boys become men. When they started their freshman season, there were 54 young men dreaming of the Friday night experience that many Chaps before them have known. They've watched Friday from the stands, the pit, and from the student section. These seniors have taken the yellow dog bus trips to play on Thursday nights to show their coaches and teammates that they deserve Friday nights.
"In 32 years of coaching, I've never had a class grow in size. Usually, it's the other way around. This simply does not happen. That's how special these seniors are." -Todd Dodge
Some became household names and lit up the stat pages with electric runs, mind-boggling receptions, quarterback sacks, and spiraling touchdown passes. Others learned how to play a different role on different days of the week.
"Everyone on our team plays football every day. Every player has a role and what most people don't understand is how important our Attack Team is and how that bunch is the backbone. They are the heart and soul of our team." -Todd Dodge
The Attack Team consists of varsity football players that may not see the field on Friday night, but play a unique role in the overall success the Chaparrals have enjoyed in 2017. Their goal is simple. Make everyone better. A lofty task, but then you meet with an Attack Team player and you know instantly what kind of man they will become.
"We're there to make them better. We push them and when we make a play against a starter, they go harder the next play. That's respect." -Wilson Ernst
While it earns respect, this strategy is also productive. Ernst is one of the coaching staff's treasured seniors that enjoys the duality of training at his given position at wide receiver and then moving to safety to simulate the opponent's defense. An Attack Team member like Ernst has the mind of a Westlake wide receiver. So, what better way to train your starters than with defenders who know exactly what their teammates will do before the play begins.
Mutual respect from teammate to teammate is visible when these Attack Team members get time on the field. In the 56-7 win over Lehman, those moments came in the second half. The starters had put the game out of reach, but they weren't sitting on the bench. They were on the edge of the sideline cheering their teammates on in a game that was decided by halftime.
"You may not read about them, but the players know who the real stars on our team are. They're selfless and they carry an attitude so positive, that it spreads to the rest of our team." -Todd Dodge
For reference, I submit the stat of two catches for 12 yards. On most Westlake offensive drives, one player could amass that in one or two plays. For Matthew Watanabe and Ryan Talbert, those catches ignited a sideline. Watanabe finished the win over of Lehman with one catch for seven yards, while Talbert snagged his one reception for five yards. Those two catches were a first for both players. Those catches were met with genuine excitement and overall pride as their teammates erupted with vocal applause as if both had scored game winning touchdowns.
The balance of rigorous school responsibilities and the grind that is the football schedule accelerates the work life balance experience. Managing time is something that even the best of us struggle with. For these seniors, it's a way of life that will only benefit them in the future. This class has been present for some memorable moments in Westlake football history. Exciting playoff wins, devastating losses, and a win over Lake Travis are hallmark memories, but just ask one senior what they'll miss, and the answer is always unanimous. They'll miss each other.
Tonight, we honor 64 young men who made the commitment to complicate their formative years with the beautiful grind that is Westlake Football. They chose long hours, late nights, early mornings, victory, defeat, and Chap Maker. They chose the reward of Friday nights at Chaparral Stadium. This evening, we ask you to arrive at 7pm, get to your seats, and applaud these student-athletes and their families. To the 2017 Seniors of Westlake Football...
Our tailgate show begins live at 7pm on AM-1300 The ZONE. Listen live to "No Huddle" with Todd Dodge. Make sure you stay tuned to our halftime coverage as we recap the first half highlights. Our halftime features the thoughts of Wilson Ernst, our Chap of the Week. As you leave Chaparral 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.
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CLICK HERE WestlakeChaps.com
We will provide an in-stadium FM frequency for fans that bring their FM radios with them to Chaparral 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.
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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, November 4th 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