Chaps, Cavs renew “Battle of the Lakes” rivalry after two year hiatus

For one final time in the 2021-22 regular season, the Westlake football team suited up for a Friday night showdown at Chaparral Stadium, this time with the stakes at their highest. It was time for the “Battle of the Lakes” rivalry, the highly anticipated matchup between two of the state’s top high school football programs, Westlake and Lake Travis High School. 

The rivalry dates back decades, but the intensity between the two teams was alive as ever. Due to last year’s game between the two being cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols, the teams’ last meeting was in 2019, a game in which the Cavaliers squeaked away with a 26-25 victory. The loss was monumental for the Chaps, as it is their only loss over the past three seasons. 

The Chaps came into the game sitting at a perfect 9-0 and 6-0 in district play. Quarterback senior Cade Klubnik was back in the starting lineup after missing three games due to a shoulder injury. In his absence, quarterback senior Christian Edgar stepped up for Westlake, combining for 869 yards of total offense, 15 total touchdowns, and led the Chaps to three blowout wins over Hays, Akins and Austin High in his time as QB1. The impact of the Westlake defense over the three game stretch, and frankly the whole season, should not go unnoticed either. The Chaps defense had allowed just 9 points in 6 district games this season leading into Friday’s game. 

On the opposite sideline, the Cavaliers also entered Chaparral Stadium with a perfect 6-0 district record, but a crushing loss to Rockwall High School put them at 8-1 overall. Since the loss Sept. 10, Lake Travis ran through district opponents with ease, winning six games in a row, and ultimately finding themselves tied with Westlake atop the 6A Region IV District 26 standings. 

At gametime, fans flooded through the gates, and Chaparral Stadium was filled to the brim with fans from both sides, and the atmosphere was electric throughout the entirety of the contest. It was a huge rivalry game, a sellout crowd, and huge stakes on the line. With that, the Cavs booted the opening kickoff away to the Chaps, and the 2021 edition of the “Battle of the Lakes” rivalry was underway. 

The Chaps started off with a bang, as running back sophomore Jackson Kayser returned the opening kickoff all the way down to the Lake Travis 31 yard line, putting the Chaps in striking distance of the end zone just seconds into the game. After just a minute of play, it was evident that Klubnik didn’t miss a beat in his absence, turning the corner and racing 22 yards for a quick Westlake touchdown. 

The Westlake defense quickly gave the offense the ball right back, forcing a three-and-out in their first opportunity. On the offensive end, The Chaps faced a third and long from around midfield. Klubnik unleashed a rocket of a throw over the middle, and hit wide receiver junior Jaden Greathouse in stride for an incredible 44 yard touchdown. After just two opportunities on offense, the Chaps had a 14-0 lead. 

The Cavaliers began to march down the field on the ensuing drive, capping off the drive with a 31 yard touchdown from quarterback junior Bo Edmundson to wide receiver senior Caleb Burton. On the Chaps second play of their next drive, a wild turn of events ensued. Klubnik passed the ball back to Greathouse, who fired a strike to a wide open Kayser running down the middle. Kayser proceeded to lose the ball after a Cavalier punched it out, only for wide receiver junior Bryce Chambers to pick up the ball, and advance it down to the Cavalier 10 yard line. The wild play totaled up to a 54 yard gain, and set up a 2 yard touchdown run for Klubnik, giving the Chaps a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

The Chaps came up empty on their next offensive position, and the Cavs took over around midfield. Lake Travis faced a 3rd down and 13, and it turned into points for the Chaps. Defensive back senior Adam Sullivan intercepted Edmundson’s pass and took it 51 yards the other way to extend the Chaps lead to 21. The Cavs moved down the field efficiently, and capped off the scoring drive with a 1 yard touchdown run by Edumundson. 

The Chaps moved down the field efficiently the following drive, capping it off with a 12 yard connection from Klubnik to wide receiver junior Keaton Kubecka, and Westlake took a 35-14 lead. The Westlake defense forced another punt, and on the first play of the drive, the Chaps offense took advantage. Kayser raced up the middle 62 yards to the house, and the Chaps headed to the locker room at halftime up 42-14. 

The Westlake defense began the second half similar to the first, forcing a quick punt from the Lake Travis offense. The Chaps conservatively moved the ball down the field, taking time off the clock as they went. The Chaps came up empty handed on the drive, but were able to pin Lake Travis at their own 6 yard line via punt. The Cavs put together an efficient drive of their own, moving into the Westlake red zone as the clock wound down in the third quarter. Burton received a quick reverse handoff, and took it 18 yards for a Lake Travis score, cutting the Chaps lead down to 21. 

At the end of the Lake Travis score, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called, pushing the following kickoff back 15 yards. Westlake capitalized, as Kayser used the extra 15 yards to his advantage, taking the kickoff all the way to the other end with an electric 85 yard kickoff return touchdown. With that, the Chaps took the momentum right back, going up 49-21. The Westlake defense continued its dominance, forcing a quick punt, and capitalizing once again. Klubnik found Chambers over the middle for a 28 yard score, extending the Westlake lead to 35. Westlake didn’t let off the gas, scoring yet again on a four yard run by Chambers, putting the Chaps up 63-21. 

The final minutes of the fourth quarter wound down, and the Cavs showed some life in the last moments. Lake Travis found themselves inside the Westlake 10 yard line, but couldn’t convert as defensive back junior Will Courtney intercepted Edmundson’s pass off of a tip from defensive lineman senior Ethan Burke to seal the deal for Westlake. 

The story of the game was undoubtedly Westlake’s dominance on both sides of the ball. Their success on all three levels of the game propelled them to a massive win, tripling the Cavs score with a 63-21 victory. Klubnik looked stellar in his return from injury, combining for 5 total touchdowns and over 250 yards of total offense. Kayser continued his stellar sophomore season, stealing the show with 259 total yards and 2 total touchdowns, including an incredible 85 yard kick return touchdown. 

Despite tying their season-high with 21 points allowed, the Westlake defense asserted their dominance yet again through turnovers, sacks, and the limiting of big plays. The impressive defensive line play forced many hurried throws and sacks from the Lake Travis side, leading to two interceptions for the Westlake secondary. The combination of Westlake’s stellar offense, defense, and special teams dismantled the Cavs in the final game of the regular season. 

The atmosphere of this game each year is unmatched, and this contest was no different. The Westlake faithful showed up, as nearly every seat was occupied for the entirety of the game. The visiting side was also packed, with one of the highest visiting attendances all season at Chaparral Stadium, although the crowd on the Lake Travis side began to thin out as the Chaps went up big. Fans on both sides stayed loud and proud the whole game, erupting in cheers with each touchdown or big play. The atmosphere was electric, and the Chaps rose to the occasion. 

The win not only secures the 2021 6A Region IV District 26 title for the Chaps, but also earns Westlake nation some bragging rights for at least the next year. With the regular season in the rear view, the Chaps road to state begins. Westlake plays host to the Hutto High School Hippos in the first round of the playoffs at Chaparral Stadium next Friday, and begin the journey to a potential third straight state title.