Chaps come from behind once again, beat A&M Consolidated 38-32

Running back senior Ben Slaughter rushed for 129 yards and receiver junior Sean Rollings caught six passes for 130 yards, as Westlake overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to defeat A&M Consolidated 38-32 Sept. 13.

A&M Consolidated, who came into the game 2-0 and ranked 18th by, got on the board early, with a 6-yard run by quarterback senior Kobe Miller putting the Tigers up early. Following the kickoff, Westlake drove down to the Tigers’ 10-yard line, but a fumble gave the ball back to Consolidated, who turned the turnover into a touchdown to take a 14-0 lead going into the second quarter.

“We weren’t taking very good [tackling] angles [on the first few drives],” head coach Darren Allman said. “Sometimes we weren’t taking care of [our assignments], but it was still early so we weren’t too worried.”

Westlake managed a field goal in the second quarter, cutting the Tiger lead to 14-3, but a 2-yard touchdown pass from Kobe to receiver senior Kerry Thomas made the score 3-21 going into halftime.

“We were all pretty down after that first half,” linebacker junior Gabe Duran said. “But we talked it over and came out looking to take the second half.”

And that they did. It started when Westlake scored on the first drive of the second half on a 13-yard run by quarterback senior Jordan Severt and the ensuing 2-point conversion set the score at 11-21. The Chaparral defense, after getting gouged left and right by the Consolidated offense, buckled down and forced the Tigers to punt on the ensuing possession, giving the Westlake offense great field position at the Tiger 41-yard line.

“We just got it together in the second half,” linebacker junior Hudson Hall said. “We started to play with heart and that really made a difference.”

Five plays later Jordan connected with Sean to pull the Chaps within 3.

“We made some adjustments and started getting some momentum going,” co-offensive coordinator Robby Clark said. “Once that snowball went downhill, it just took off on us.”

A&M drove the ball down to the Westlake 12-yard line, but the drive stalled and the Tigers kicked a field goal to make the score 18-24.

Now down six, the Westlake offense once again responded, embarking on a 10-play drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan to put the Chaps up 25-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

“Our offense really pulled together in the second half,” Sean said. “It’s hard to stop somebody when that happens.”

The offense kept rolling in the fourth, as running back senior Alex Chavez finished off a nine-play, 67-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, making the Westlake lead 31-24.

“Alex Chavez did a great job,” Clark said. “Our normal H-Back was out and Alex came in and showed some great versatility playing both H and tailback.”

The re-energized Chaparral defense once again held its ground and gave the ball back to the offense and a few plays later, Jordan found tight end senior Zach Dansby from seven yards out to put the lead at 38-24.

But the Tigers still had some fight left, scoring on a drive aided by two Westlake personal fouls, one a controversial targeting call that resulted in the ejection of cornerback senior Bennet Huddleston that drew a ruckus from the Westlake stands and led to the second flag, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Chaparral bench after they debated the call with the official.

The new targeting rule was put in by the NCAA and the UIL and it attempts to limit head-to-head contact. It is defined as “initiating contact with the crown of the helmet against an opponent,” and officials are told in their rulebook that “when it is questionable, it is a foul.”

“The intent of the rule is good” Allman said, ‘and that’s to protect a defenseless player. We felt like [Huddleston wasn’t doing] anything more than trying to break up a pass. It felt like Bennett, the other receiver and the ball all came together at the same time. It definitely wasn’t intentional.”

Down 6 points, 38-32, the Tigers had to kick an onside kick in order to have a chance to at least tie the ballgame. They failed to do so, as the kick did not go the minimum 10 yards, letting the Chaps run out the clock and sealing their second consecutive come-from-behind victory in the process.

“We’ve been able to find ways to win games,” Allman said. “We just need to find ways to play like [we did in the second half] all game long. To win championships you need to play at that level all game long.”

Westlake will travel to Schertz, Texas to take on the highly-ranked Cibolo Steele Knights, who enter the game at 2-1 on Sept. 20. The Chaps will need to put a full game together in order to win.

“We can’t get behind teams like [we have been],” Allman said, “especially [when we play] good teams like Cibolo.”