Senior class shines in spotlight as varsity football bests Anderson

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This year’s senior group of 44 varsity football players was one of the first classes that head coach Todd Dodge was able to meet as seventh graders after taking the Westlake job. Friday night was the culmination of the group’s efforts, senior night against Anderson, where the Chaps won 49-7 in the penultimate game of the regular season. 

“We all went through [Dodge’s] system,” quarterback senior Drew Willoughby said. “[It’s] all we know. It’s really special to finish it out with these guys. We’re playing for each other, and we want the best for all of us.”

Westlake faced a challenging Anderson team which caught the Chaps off guard with trick plays, making for some surprising moments throughout the game. The Trojans fake punted five times, succeeding on three of those attempts. They also faked a field goal in the second quarter, but to no avail. Despite its success in tricking the Westlake defense on individual plays, Anderson’s only score came early in the fourth quarter, a 25-yard run by running back sophomore Colin Page. 

“We knew going in that they were risk takers in a lot of situations,” Dodge said. “I didn’t think they would fake and go for it on some parts of the field, but they let it all hang out.”

After many games of revolving-door quarterback rotation, Dodge made clear his plans to start quarterback senior Kirkland Michaux over senior Drew Willougby and sophomore Cade Klubnik as the season comes to an end. 

“[The starting role] is heading in Kirkland’s direction,” Dodge said. “I decided about three weeks ago that I had to start getting one of [the quarterbacks] more reps with the [starters] as we get closer to the playoffs. All three have played efficiently throughout the season, and they’ve been really unselfish.”

Kirkland posted four touchdowns, leading a versatile Westlake offense with an increasing number of weapons, one of which is wide receiver Jackson Coker. Having already had two years of varsity experience, he was injured before the season started, returning to face Lake Travis week seven. He has wasted no time in returning to good form and put up three touchdowns on the Trojans defense. 

“That was a huge loss to us early,” Dodge said. “Jackson is a very special athlete and one of the strongest competitors I’ve been around. We like to call him our Swiss Army knife, he does a little bit of everything for us, plays on special teams, carries the ball, catches the ball. He had a big night tonight, and I’m proud of him.

Reflecting on the senior class, Dodge was grateful for the group and hopeful for the future. 

“They’re very special to me,” Dodge said. “I thank the lord all the time that I got a chance, at the latter part of my career, to coach here. After six years, this bunch has gone full circle through our program. We’re gonna see how long we can take this thing.”

 

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