Chaps fall to top-ranked Cedar Park in season opener


Tim Whaling

Senior Bobby Dwyer comforts his teammate, Jack Meredith, after Meredith suffered a knee injury during the Aug.30 game against Cedar Park.

On Friday night, the varsity football team lost 31-43 to Cedar Park at Gupton Stadium in Leander.

The game had been surrounded by hype — Cedar Park was ranked first in the preseason Austin-American Statesman Centex Poll, while Westlake was ranked second. Both teams had been picked to win the State Title in their respective classifications by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. However, unlike many games that receive that much attention, this one lived up to the hype, as the game was much closer than the score indicated.

A Westlake fumble and a long punt return gave the Timberwolves advantageous starting points for their first two drives as they raced out to a 10-0 lead early in the game.

“The teams on our schedule, they don’t make mistakes,” head coach Darren Allman said. “We can’t help them [by making mistakes of our own].”

But Westlake roared back, led by tailback senior Ben Slaughter, whose 68-yard run cut the lead to 3. Cedar Park scored again to widen the margin to 10, but then Westlake scored 10 unanswered points before surrendering another touchdown to set the score at 17-23 going into the half.

The Chaps trailed for the majority of the second half and found themselves down 31-36 with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter. The defense had to come up with a stop in order to give the Chap offense a shot to take the lead, but Cedar Park’s offense had other plans, engineering a long drive that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run as time expired.

“We made it hard on ourselves with turnovers and missed assignments on defense,” Allman said.

Cedar Park’s highly touted quarterback senior Nate Grimm almost single handedly led the Timberwolves offense, passing for 215 yards and adding another 128 on the ground.

“He was good when we faced them last year,” cornerback senior Bennett Huddleston said. “This year he was sharper and did not really make any mistakes.”

Westlake wide receiver junior Sean Rollings scored three touchdowns, including a 70- yard catch on a deflected pass that somehow found him. Sean also got several touches at running back, where he ran for a 58-yard touchdown.

“We’ll try to get him as many touches as we can,” Allman said. “Good things are going to happen when he has the ball.”

Despite the loss, the mood is still positive among both players and coaches heading into Friday night’s home game against Temple.
“We showed a lot of promise,” Allman said. “If we play mistake-free football we will be fine.”