Westlake ends 10-year drought against Lake Travis

Before even entering the stadium, most Westlake fans, and certainly the players and coaches, knew of the 10 year drought that was looming over them; it’d been 10 years without a win against their fiercest rivals. Despite the odds, a certain swagger seemed to be roaming about Ebbie Neptune Field — tensions were high, yet the fans and the players knew what they came for. While low-scoring, it was an instant classic as the Chaps were winners against the Lake Travis Cavaliers, stealing the game with a late score to win 21-14.

“We didn’t have much to lose,” quarterback junior Taylor Anderson said. “They had everything in the world to lose, and we just came out and balled. We played like the Westlake team that we are.”

The game was put to bed after a controversial spot on fourth down leading to a Lake Travis turnover-on-downs with 49 seconds remaining in the game. Lake Travis put on the pressure late in the game, mounting a significant drive down to the Chaps 21-yard line. Defensive lineman junior David Neil’s late, 9-yard sack set the Cavaliers back, and they were unable to make up ground, sinking their hopes of winning.

“[The feeling is] indescribable,” he said. “When you’re a defensive end, you’ve got a lot of jobs, but the job that you always dream of doing perfectly is getting a sack. When you get that sack, [the crowd] knows how important it is, and the team knows how important it is. It doesn’t come a lot so you have to take advantage of when you get it.”

The winning drive started with Taylor weaving his way through multiple defenders and bursting into the open field for a 46-yard scramble that brought the Chaps to the goal line. With 3:39 left in the fourth, running back senior Nakia Watson scored the go-ahead 1-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 21-14.

“They had a couple of big plays,” Anderson said. “We had momentum the whole game. We were driving, and we just needed to finish.”

The scoring came early for Westlake, and after driving 75 yards in about seven minutes, Watson made it 7-0 early on a 12-yard touchdown run. The Wisconsin commit finished with 127 yards on 29 attempts along with two rushing touchdowns.

Lake Travis took the lead through a 3-yard rush by quarterback senior Matthew Baldwin with 6:52 remaining in the first half, and the 14-7 score carried into the break. Coming out of the second half, Westlake tied the game up at 14-14 with a commanding drive capped off by a 22-yard touchdown run by Taylor Anderson. He finished the game with 148 rushing yards and an additional 87 yards in the air.

“It’s huge,” Dodge said, talking about scoring on the first drive. “We felt like we were in great shape. Last year, we were not even in the hunt [at halftime]. We were twenty-five points down. We knew we had to go out and get something, and we did. It was a huge deal for our team to go out and score and tie the game up.”

After the game, Dodge compared the team’s performance to their earlier triumphs against top opponents in the state of Texas.

“This game is one that you have to break it down for what it is,” Dodge said. “It means a lot to a lot of people. We’ve beaten a lot of good teams since we’ve been here such as, Allen, Southlake Carroll, Judson and Katy, and we went out and played like we did when we beat those teams tonight.”