Record-breaking win over Katy Taylor seals Chap’s spot in State Championship game

Anne Saltel
Senior Connor Halverson walks out of the lockerroom to start off the Varisty Football Semi-Finals game. The chaps won 63-3.

Kodiak is one of Westlake’s goalline play call packages, a package that wasn’t seen too often throughout the season. That was until it showed up in the second quarter of the State semifinal. Quarterback senior Kirkland Michaux rolled out to the left, hesitated, and found receiver senior Jake Misch in the back of the end zone for his first receiving touchdown of the season. The score put Westlake ahead 21-3 and was quickly followed by two more touchdowns to put the Chaps up 35-3 at halftime.

“I’m feeling awesome, and it’s crazy to get my first touchdown of the year in this game,” Misch said. “Kirk and I have been talking about that Kodiak three play all year. When I saw him throw it, I knew I was gonna get it.”

It’s not often that you see a lopsided State semifinal, but that’s exactly what happened Saturday afternoon at McLane Stadium in Waco. Westlake ran away with the game, winning 63-3 against Katy Taylor to advance to the State Championship game. The large margin of victory allowed for some of Westlake’s seniors to get their very last plays in as a high school football player. 

“I think we were able to completely empty the bench,” head coach Todd Dodge said. “You never expect that in a semifinal game, but it was a real blessing for us.”

From the first six minutes of play, it looked as if the Chaps would be in for a difficult game. After an unsuccessful first drive, the offense started moving the ball. On a third down play, receiver senior Mason Mangum leaped over the Mustang defender to make a catch in the end zone, a 38-yard TD grab. It turned out to be the first touchdown of many, as Westlake piled up the points. Four Chap receivers caught a touchdown, as quarterback Kirkland Michaux spread the ball and dominated in the air. He had eight touchdowns on the day (a school record), seven of those coming in the air.

“The plan was to get [the ball] into a lot of different hands,” Dodge said. “I’ve never doubted Kirkland. He’s played like you would expect for a championship quarterback to play.”

The momentum that the offense held through the halftime break was aided by Dodge’s decision to defer possession and receive to start the second half. Westlake struck twice with under a minute to go in the second quarter: A fumble recovery on a kickoff allowed the Chaps another chance to score, and Michaux hit a throw up the seam to Mason Mangum for a 38-yard touchdown. Coming out of the half, the offense got another two touchdowns within the first two minutes of play, as cornerback senior Lucas Mireur’s interception led to another quick score.

Arlington, Texas will be the site of the State Championships, and for 6A Division II, Westlake will face Denton Guyer (14-1), who are ranked fourth in the state, at 7 p.m. Saturday Dec. 21. 

“This senior class is just so special to me and the coaching staff,” Dodge said. “They’ve been nothing short of amazing. It represents one full cycle through our program, seventh grade all the way through. Now we’re in the State Championship game, and we’ll see if we can go win the thing.”