Chap Fest brings in excitement for new football season

The football season kicked off at the annual Chap Fest Aug.19 in the Westlake Athletic Community Center. The event featured performances from Hyline, the cheerleading team and the band to show spirit for the upcoming season.

Head varsity coach Todd Dodge gave a speech at Chap Fest to get people excited for the upcoming season. He thanked the performers for their presence at the football games.

“We appreciate everything y’all do for us,” Dodge said to the groups during his speech. “Thank you for being here tonight. [We’re] always looking forward to following y’all throughout y’all’s careers as you go through Westlake.”

For Dodge, the band’s dedication to performances at football games is a vital part of the Friday night life.

“That band entering the stadium at about 7:20 every Friday night on home games is an unbelievable tradition at Westlake High School,” Dodge said. “It gives me chills and really embodies what Westlake football is all about.”

Defensive coordinator Tony Salazar called each of the coaches and varsity players up to the front of the room for applause. Afterwards, Dodge took a moment to share his expectations for the team this coming season.

“On defense, we have upwards of about eight starters coming back from a 14-1 team,” Dodge said. “We have the chance to be really good on defense, and so far in camp that is the case. Offensively, we graduated four of our five starters on the offensive line, and we’ve got one guy coming back who started in 29 consecutive games. We’ve got a quarterback who started in 22 games and two wide receivers that have about 75 catches for a little more than 1,000 yards coming back. It’s just a matter of making sure we get just a little bit better every single day.”

The Chaps travel to Belton High School today for their season opener at 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.

Dodge also gave a moment of appreciation for the football coaches’ wives and children, welcoming them on stage to express gratitude for their contributions to the program and praised them for standing behind their husbands and fathers.

“One thing about this journey we are about to go on is that you see our players and you see the guy that is coaching your son,” Dodge said. “But the real leaders of these families, the people who are running the house and keeping everything together when their husband leaves at 4:30 in the morning until 11:30 at night are these beautiful women and children behind me.”

The Pop Warner football players, along with Hill Country and West Ridge Middle School eighth-grade players, were introduced by Dodge.

“This is the best showing of our middle school since  I’ve been involved in Chap Fest,” Dodge said proudly. Motioning to the freshman team he said, “This will be them this time next year. [The freshmen] were competing against each other, now they’re Chaparrals.”

Dodge announced some changes made in the organization of the football program concerning the JV team.

“We’re gonna stop referring to our junior varsity team as JV Red and JV Blue,” Dodge said. “They are now the junior varsity team and the sophomore team. These teams will play their games on Thursday nights. The sophomores will play at 5:30 and the JV will play at 7:30.”

Dodge ended his speech by praising the hard effort put in every day by the football players.

“I have extremely high expectations for this football team,” Dodge said. “There are a lot of guys on this team that have played a lot of high school football. They’re grinders, they absolutely know how to work. I’m absolutely blessed to be their coach.”