Chaps down Maroons on Senior Night, look toward playoff matchup against Pflugerville Hendrickson

Junior Malek Jacobs swaps stories with team-mates after crushing Austin High 0- 42.

The Chaparral football team took the field Nov. 8 against Austin High with a bittersweet taste in their mouth. It was Senior Night, the last home game of the season, and for those in the Class of 2014, the last time they’d get to play on the Chaparral Stadium turf, in front of their friends, neighbors, parents and fellow students. Knowing that, they wanted to make this game special.

“It was a little bit sad knowing we wouldn’t be playing here again,” center senior Bobby Dwyer said. “But we wanted to go out there and finish it off on a good note.”

The Maroons came in one victory away from a playoff berth. To them, this was more than just a rivalry game; it was a chance to prove that under new coach Mike Rosenthal, they were contenders.

“They hate us,” offensive lineman senior Will Copa said. “They came in pretty intense because not only was this a rivalry game, but they had the opportunity to extend their season.”

On the opening possession, Westlake drove 71 yards down the field to take a 7-0 lead, following senior Alex Chavez’s 12-yard run.

“We always like to establish the run early in the game,” head coach Darren Allman said. “A lot of times, on that first drive, we’re trying to see how they line up against a formation or how they react to [a receiver going in motion].”

On the ensuing Austin possession, Maroon quarterback sophomore Beau Kalbacher was intercepted by safety senior Tate Shaw, giving the Chaps the ball on their own 20-yard line.

“We’ve been good at forcing turnovers each week,” Allman said. “When we do that, it leads to explosive momentum changes in the game.”

Following the turnover, Westlake embarked on an 11-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback senior Jordan Severt to tight end senior Zach Dansby, putting the Chaps up 14-0.

Austin turned the ball over again on their next drive, and the Westlake offense took over at the Maroon 30-yard line. Aided by a personal foul by the Maroons, the Chaps found themselves at the Austin 5-yard line when Alex took a handoff and powered his way through the Maroon defense before being tackled, and fumbling. Senior tight end Tyler Boykin made a heads-up play and jumped on the football in the end zone to avert what could have been a potential disaster for the Chaps.

“Boykin finished off his block, and was going to find someone else to block,” Allman said. “He was playing hard all the way through the play and was able to be in position to make a big play.”

Down 0-21, the Austin High offense drove the ball into Westlake territory, where Chaps’ linebacker junior Gabe Duran hopped on an Austin fumble to give Westlake possession at their own 40-yard line. A few plays later, Alex found the end zone from eight-yards out to make it 28-0.

On the kickoff, the Maroons woes continued, as they turned the ball over for the fourth time, and the Chaps took advantage of the turnover, as four plays later Alex found the end zone for the second time to set the score at 35-0 going into the half.

Running back junior Malek Jacobs scored on a 7-yard run in the third quarter, increasing the Westlake lead to 42-0. Westlake pulled their starters following the score, putting in their second-string seniors, for one last hurrah in front of the home crowd.

“I’m proud of them [the seniors],” Allmann said. “They were able to move the ball offensively and keep the shutout on defense. The reality is we can’t play everybody, but it’s good for our coaches and our team when everybody gets to play.”

Aided by Westlake penalties, Austin mounted one last drive, but it was halted after the pass fell incomplete, making the final score 42-0 in favor of Westlake.

The Chaps forced five turnovers in the win, including four in the first half. Coaches said they think that they need to continue to do that to give Westlake a chance to advance deep into the playoffs.

“The two seasons that we went far in the playoffs we’d [forced] a flurry of turnovers,” Allman said. “Hopefully we can do that this year.”

With the shutout victory, Westlake secured the second seed in 5A Division 2 State Playoffs and will play undefeated Pflugerville Hendrickson in the first round Nov. 15 at Gupton Stadium in Leander. Westlake knocked off an 8-2 Hendrickson team last year in the first round, in what many considered to be an upset. But this year, the Chaps will not be sneaking up on the Hawks again.

“Last year they saw our record and maybe came in a little bit cocky,” Allman said. “This year they know what they’re getting into when they play us; they know it’s going to be a fight.”

Players are excited for playoffs. They want to go far, to etch their name among the great Westlake teams, and to achieve a dream that they had been thinking about since middle school.

“I feel like we’ve got a chance to do some great things,” Will said. “If we work hard, play as a team, and stay healthy, who knows how far we can get?”