Varsity football’s defeat of Anderson undermined by injury to key lineman

What looked like just another passing-touchdown connection between quarterback senior Taylor Anderson and receiver junior Mason Mangum quickly evolved into a much more frightening situation when center senior Blake Webster stayed on the ground after the play. The leg injury, made all the more alarming by the jog onto the field by the team trainers, stopped play for more than five minutes as Blake was eventually carted off and taken to the hospital, ending the first half on a solemn note.

“We’re just really hoping for the best,” head coach Todd Dodge said. “We’re praying for him, and we hope it’s not going to be a long-standing injury.”

Westlake took a while to get going on offense, but didn’t look back from there, defeating Anderson 35–7 Friday night. The Chaps’ first score came on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by running back senior Tripp Graham, set up by a one-handed catch by receiver senior Penny Baker on a third-and-long. Tripp has eight rushing touchdowns in his last three games. 

While the offense saw a decline in their usual scoring numbers, the defense remained disciplined, allowing only one touchdown and sacking the Anderson quarterback three times. Defensive lineman junior Bobby Duncum had two sacks and recovered a fumble in the second half.

“I thought I turned the juice up in the second half,” Bobby said. “I don’t think I played as well in the first half, but I was able get that fumble recovery, which really motivated me to turn it up.”

Midway through the first half, the Westlake Marching Band filed into the away stands, having just returned from their competition in San Antonio. Earlier in the day Friday, the varsity football players had a send-off for the band as it left.

“We have tremendous respect for our band, and we wanted to go send them off today,” Dodge said. “[The football] players work real hard, and our band works extremely hard too, so we wanted to go show them respect.”

Even in the victory, Dodge admitted that it wasn’t the Chaps’ best game.

“As a football team, that wasn’t our best showing,” Dodge said. “We didn’t play our A-game, but that’s alright. There are things we can learn from the game. Now we are just praying for our center Blake.”