Chaps cruise past Bowie in district showdown

Coming off of a dominant win over San Marcos in the Chaps first home game in nearly a month, the varsity football team suited up for another district matchup at Chaparral Stadium Friday night. This week’s opponent: the Bowie High School Bulldogs, a longtime district foe of the Chaps. 

While the teams have played each other countless times, this year’s matchup had higher stakes than usual. First off, both teams held undefeated 5-0 records coming into the week. While the Chaps were getting the job done in their games, the Bulldogs picked up big wins over district rivals Del Valle and Austin High to add on top of their three victories earlier on in the season. However, in the Bulldogs’ blowout win over the Austin High Maroons, it was reported by the Austin American-Statesman that Bowie fans began to chant “We want Westlake” as they watched their team capture a 59-0 win on Sept. 24. In addition to the chants, photos surfaced of a Bowie player wearing an anti-Westlake shirt on game day. The tension between the two teams was high at kickoff, and the game reflected that throughout.

Although the Chaps received the ball first, they failed to convert on a 48 yard field goal attempt, giving Bowie the ball with strong field position early. The Chaps defense held strong on their opening drive, but were pinned back inside their own 10 yard line via a punt. The Chaps had their backs pinned against the wall, having to attempt a 3rd down and 15 try from their own 7 yard line. Quarterback senior Cade Klubnik looked to improvise, rolling out of the pocket, and airing out an incredible strike downfield to wide receiver junior Hunter Luke, who raced the rest of the way himself to cap off a spectacular 93 yard touchdown. The pitch and catch was the Chaps longest play from scrimmage of the season, and put them on top 7-0. 

Westlake prevailed on the defensive effort, forcing another punt. The Chaps had another tough 3rd down in front of them, this time 20 yards remained between the line of scrimmage and the first down marker. The Chaps were somehow able to convert again, as running back sophomore Jackson Kayser raced back and forth across the field, pulling a Houdini act, not only converting the first down, but also getting the ball down to the one yard line. Kayser then punched it in himself, extending the lead to 14 as the first quarter came to an end.

The Westlake defense kept the momentum rolling, forcing the Bulldogs to boot the ball right back to the Chaps offense. Westlake marched down the field and capped off the potent drive with a 13 yard scramble from Klubnik, giving the Chaps a 21-0 lead. Westlake got rolling again, as Klubnik scampered 38 yards down the sideline. The run was followed by yet another 3rd and long conversion, this time via a 32 yard grab from wide receiver senior Pierce Turner. Running back senior Hunter Henault finished off the effort from 6 yards out, which caused the Chaps to extend their lead to 28 points. 

Klubnik was substituted out the following drive, heading back to the locker room early with an apparent injury on his left shoulder. Quarterback senior Christian Edgar came in to relieve the injured Klubnik on the following drive. While the injury was a tough blow for the Chaps, the offense continued rolling, adding a fifth touchdown on a 13 yard catch and run from Edgar to wide receiver junior Jaden Greathouse just before the half. 

Bowie received the ball to begin the second half, and gave it up to the Chaps via an interception by defensive back senior Luke Aaron. Westlake lost the ball to the Bulldogs due to a fumble, and the turnover chain continued as the Chaps blocked the ensuing Bowie punt attempt. Both teams exchanged the ball back and forth throughout the quarter, failing to capitalize on good field position. The Bulldogs marched down the field on a time-consuming drive, but failed to convert on a 4th and 5 attempt. The stop came courtesy of defensive lineman junior Colton Vasek, as he forced a fumble as Bowie inched closer to the end zone. 

The Chaps offense roared to life on the first drive of the fourth quarter, moving downfield to the Bowie one yard line before ultimately turning the ball over on downs themselves. This time, it was the Bowie offense that got going, flipping the field on a 60 yard screen pass to wide receiver senior Noah Vasquez. However, the turnover bug kept going around with defensive back sophomore Denim Collins making a leaping interception in the end zone to give the Chaps the ball back yet again. While no points were scored by either team in the second half, the Chaps got the job done and looked impressive on both sides of the ball, taking home a 35-0 win. 

With the strong district win, the Chaps improved to 6-0 on the season, and 3-0 in district play. Both units looked impressive, but the Westlake defense was especially stellar throughout the game. Coming into the game, the Bulldogs offense averaged 38 points per game, but the Chaps defense absolutely shut down the Bowie efforts. The Chaps offense looked strong as well, scoring 35 points, tallying three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns. The highlight play of the night came in the first quarter on Klubnik’s 93 yard bomb to Luke, getting the scoring going for the Chaps. Kayser continued his tear on the ground for the offense, performing many highlight runs in addition to his fifth touchdown in just four games. While there weren’t many complaints to be had at the end of the blowout win, the status of Klubnik’s injury is a lingering concern amongst Westlake fans. The senior quarterback went down in the second quarter after a collision near the sideline, and spent about ten minutes in the medic tent before exiting the game on the injury cart just before halftime. Even though not much is known about the senior’s injury, the team is optimistic for a speedy recovery of their quarterback.

While the status of their starting quarterback remains unknown, the show must go on for the Chaps;  they travel to Buda next week for a Thursday night district matchup with the Hays High School Hawks. The following week, the Chaps return home to face the Akins High School Eagles for a district showdown on homecoming. 

Bowie wanted Westlake, and they got them. The Chaps looked strong on both sides of the ball and cruised to a dominant 35-0 win, boosting their record to a perfect 6-0 on the season.