Varsity football advances to State quarterfinal with win over Vela

The quarterback is the heart of every team, and with a high-tier leader to throw the ball, a team can go very far. Junior quarterback Taylor Anderson was a man amongst boys in his 506-total-yard, seven-total-touchdown effort as the Chaps routed the Vela Sabercats, 70-14. 

“He’s our field general,” head coach Todd Dodge said. “We had several guys competing for the starting job in the spring, and he was the one that won it. He provides a tremendous dual-threat for us with his legs and his arm. The fun thing is: He continues to get better.” 

Anderson dished the ball to seven different receivers Friday, four of which had more than 50 receiving yards. Receiver sophomore Mason Mangum had a few huge plays, including a 79-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter to make the game all but out of reach for Vela at 56-14. 

“Now it’s coming naturally because of experience,” Anderson said. “Our offensive line is doing a heck of a job. The receivers came together quite well, and we have six or seven guys that can play receiver just as well as the starters. It was there tonight.” 

The Chaps had an almost four-hour ride to Portland, Texas just to get to the game, but played like the home team. Nakia Watson had an 86-yard touchdown run to make the score 42-0 with 4:15 left in the second quarter. Vela fired back immediately, converting on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback senior Nathan Garcia, who finished with (-)16 yards rushing.

Vela’s other score came from a 100-yard kickoff return to put their point total to 14 with 1:21 remaining in the first half.

“Our players continue to have great practices,” Dodge said. “I don’t know that I should be surprised by that. This late in the season, sometimes you don’t get [good practices]. We were ready to play and had complete respect for [the opposition]. They had our full attention.”

The Chaps toned it down in the second half, adding only two more touchdowns to their total. Westlake headed home with the win, and advances to play Cibolo Steele at 8:00 p.m. next Saturday at the Alamodome.

“I don’t feel like [being one of the last eight teams] is pressure,” Dodge said. “We’re just trying to keep this family together for as long as possible. I’m so proud of these guys. To be able to play in this great state and to play December football is a very special deal.”