Varsity football crowned District champions

Varsity football defeated the Vista Ridge Rangers to claim the outright District title for the first time since 2011. The celebration post-game was led by head coach Todd Dodge, amping up the players after finishing an undefeated, 10-0 season.

“I dreamed about [being undefeated],” Dodge said. “With the teams that we had on our schedule, it was a tough task. It was always our goal to be District champions. I didn’t realize until literally last week that it had been 17 years since a team at Westlake had had a perfect season. It became very important for [the players] to finish out the right way.”

The game, as per usual, started off strong and action-packed for Westlake. The Chaps scored a touchdown within 6 plays to get out to an early 7-0 lead off of a 9-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback junior Taylor Anderson.

“We stayed hungry, stayed humble, and stayed physical,” Dodge said. “We got much better obviously. The returning players from last year have played extremely better than they did last season, which you would expect, and we’ve had tremendous leadership from our captains. Now we’re ready to get into the really fun times, and that’s the playoffs.”

Westlake immediately put themselves up 14-0, after an interception from senior defensive back Matthew Sams and a 18-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to receiver sophomore Mason Mangum. Vista Ridge then came back after turning a long drive into a 14-yard touchdown run to make the game 14-7. To put the Westlake fans on edge, Vista Ridge got the ball back off of a muffled kick-off on the Westlake 46-yard line. The Chaps’ defense stifled the Rangers offense for the remainder of the half, and the offense tacked on four more touchdowns, including a 79-yard touchdown run by running back senior Nakia Watson, to end the first half 42-7.

The second half was more of the same, this time with sophomore Kirkland Michaux running the offense. He ran for a 15-yard touchdown just a few minutes after a 1-yard touchdown run by Steven Crider to make the score 55-7.

“When we started the season, I expected to win and did whatever I could to get to where we are today,” junior defensive lineman David Neil said. “I wasn’t really looking at the big picture, instead I was thinking, we need to win that game, then go on and win the next game. Then before you know it, we’re here 10-0 on the season.”