Varsity football crowned District champions on senior night

The season had been building up to Senior Night. Ever since the Chaps took down Lake Travis, the players knew in the back of their minds they could be back-to-back District champions for the first time since ’01-’02. Head coach Todd Dodge told them to take it a game at a time, and to not get ahead of themselves.

“It’s a tough thing to do in the league that we play in,” Dodge said. “When we were able to beat Lake Travis mid-season, every week after that I told the players ‘this one’s for the District’. This week I told them I wouldn’t mention it anymore, because it was for the outright District Championship. We don’t have to share it with anyone, and that’s what we wanted.”

The Chaps were crowned District 25-6A champions Friday night after defeating Bowie 35-0, their fourth shutout of the season.

The game was filled with an unusual amount of penalties, and multiple penalty calls from officials went without an apparent explanation. Along with this, Bowie receiver senior Elijah Higgins was ejected after receiving two personal fouls. Westlake’s defense took advantage of this and an injury to Bowie’s starting quarterback, shutting out the Bulldogs.

“We’re doing our thing, staying together as a defense,” linebacker senior Jake Ehlinger said. “We’re playing as one, sticking to our basic rules and making sure we go hard on every play.”

The senior class of 52 players has been particularly special to Dodge.

“I watched this bunch come all the way through our program,” Dodge said. “It’s a great number of guys that have stuck through the program. A lot of times people say football is a non-cut sport, but our offseason is very tough. If you can make it through the stuff we do, you are a warrior, and I’m just so proud of every one of these seniors.”

Following in his brother Sam’s footsteps, Jake played his final regular season game as a Chaparral, and was reminiscent of his time as a Westlake football player after the game.

“[The program] is like a second home,” Jake said. “I’ve grown up in this stadium playing football all my life, all the seniors have. We are going to be moving onto bigger things, but we will always remember what’s at home.”

The Chaps will play Clements in the first round of the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday Nov. 16 at Ebbie Neptune Field.