What to expect: Varsity football to face Cibolo Steele in first round of playoffs

Another year, another varsity football team heading into the playoffs full-steam ahead. With the first-round matchup tomorrow, I wanted to chime in with my thoughts on the Westlake team to accompany the game stories. 

Facing Cibolo Steele is an unexpectedly difficult first-round matchup that could provide some trouble for Westlake, but where they should be set is on defense. Led by seniors such as defensive backs Leo Lowin and Sage Luther and defensive linemen Bobby Duncum and Austin McClendon, the Chap’s defense has once again been a constant force and has been able to shut down even the stronger offenses (Lake Travis namely) for periods of time. Whether the defense can deliver over a full game against a tough opponent is still up in the air, however. Consistency will be key, as the pass defense has been suspect at times, most recently against Bowie last Friday Nov. 8.

The last time the two teams met was in the State quarterfinals in 2017, where the Chaps were victorious in a relatively low-scoring 28-14 win (you can read about it here). The game was dominated by the running game, a trend that wouldn’t be surprising to see again on Friday, given that Westlake is coming into the game having scored seven rushing touchdowns against Bowie. There’s a good chance much of the game is played on the ground, slowing the scoring down.

Westlake has been penalty prone this season, but without many tightly contested matchups, the mistakes have mostly gone unpunished (with the Lake Travis game being the exception). These surprisingly common flags will prove much more costly in the playoffs, where every bit of yardage matters against a top team, than in the regular season. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the Chaps can limit their losses of yardage on penalties, particularly on unnecessary roughness calls after the play.

The game tomorrow should be one of the toughest first-round games Westlake has played in recent years, but in all honesty, it would be foolish to bet against a Westlake team that is usually primed and ready for the postseason.

Score Prediction: Westlake 31-21 Cibolo Steele

The Featherduster will be providing coverage of the game with live-tweeting (@fdsportswhs on twitter) and a game story. Stay tuned.