Chaps hold off Denton Guyer to conquer third consecutive State Championship

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Westlake Chaps win 3rd consecutive state championships. Chaps running onto the field at AT&T stadium December, 18, 2021.

On Saturday evening, high school football fans from all over the state flooded into the gates of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the everyday home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. While the venue is one of the most sought-after places to play in Texas high school football, the Westlake team has become regulars in the monstrous stadium. The Chaps kicked off their third consecutive appearance in the state title game, and looked to achieve a perfect three for three in their attempts. 

This was the last game the team’s seniors would wear the red, white and blue, and also marked the final matchup with head coach Todd Dodge at the helm of the Chaps in his storied career as a teacher of the game. 

The only thing standing between the Chaps and a historic championship trophy were the Denton Guyer Wildcats, a 15-1 team that would be no easy task for the Chaps. As excitement and tension rose across the stadium, it was time for one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season. 

The Chaps won the coin toss, deferred to the second half, and kicked the ball off to the Wildcats to begin the 2021 6A Division II State Championship. 

The Westlake defense began the game with an efficient three-and-out, forcing Guyer to punt the ball away quickly. A poor snap and a heavy rush from the Chaps hurried the Guyer special teams, and Westlake capitalized early. Wildcats punter senior Jaxson Pirtle booted the ball directly into the gut of Chaps’ defensive back junior Will Magids, who secured the ball and ran into the end zone for a quick Westlake score. Although the Chaps failed to convert on the extra point, they were already in the driver’s seat just a minute and a half into the game.

Guyer struggled to move the ball on their next offensive opportunity, punting again. Despite the early struggles, the Wildcats refused to let it affect them, stopping the Chaps on defense and moving the ball with ease on offense. Quarterback junior Carson Parham raced 15 yards to the end zone on the Wildcats’ next drive, and they took the 7-6 lead on the extra point by Pirtle.

Quarterback senior Cade Klubnik and the Westlake offense struggled in the first quarter, as Klubnik and his receivers failed to connect on multiple occasions, even featuring a rare interception from the senior quarterback. Despite the offensive struggles, the Westlake defense held strong again and again, including a fumble recovery on a fourth down attempt by Guyer late in the first. 

The Westlake offense mustered up a score in the form of a 62-yard touchdown to wide receiver junior Jaden Greathouse, giving them a 13-7 advantage. The Wildcats continued to fight back, however. Parham found wide receiver senior Jace Wilson in the end zone for a Guyer score late in the first, putting the Wildcats up 14-13. 

Both teams exchanged the ball throughout the second quarter, as both defenses held off each other’s high-powered offenses. The game headed to the half neck and neck, with Guyer prevailing, on top 14-13. The Chaps were rarely forced to play from behind over the course of the season, and their inexperience in the situation was evident throughout the first half. 

During the halftime break, a nervous buzz fell over the Westlake half of the stands. Not once in the 2021 season had the Chaps had to perform a comeback, and the way Westlake looked in the first half, many were uncertain if they’d be able to do so. 

Westlake received the ball to begin the second half, and wasted no time getting to work. Klubnik located wide receiver junior Bryce Chambers uncovered over the middle, and hit him in the end zone for a 15 yard score. The Chaps took a 20-13 lead with 10 minutes to play in the quarter. 

The Wildcats answered back yet again, leading an impressive drive downfield, converting on multiple third down attempts, and ultimately taking a 21-20 lead on a six yard touchdown run by Parham. 

The Chaps moved downfield, but were put to a standstill around the Guyer 38 yard line. Westlake initially sent out the punt unit yet again, but decided against their initial plans and sent out kicker senior Charlie Barnett for a Texas high school football championship game record 53-yard field goal attempt. Barnett drilled the kick, giving the Chaps a much-needed 23-21 lead and loads of momentum as the third quarter wound to close. 

The kick would prove to be a huge turning point, as the Westlake defense had new life as well. The Chaps stuffed the Wildcats’ on their next possession, and gave the ball back to the offense at the 31-yard line with an opportunity to break the game open. 

One play was all it took for the Chaps to do just that. Klubnik launched a deep ball downfield to Greathouse, and the junior receiver took it the distance for a miraculous 69-yard touchdown. The Chaps had battled back, and stole a 30-21 lead as the third quarter came to a close.

With just 12 minutes until glory for the Chaps, the defense only leveled up the intensity. As the Wildcats struggled to move the ball, they were given no choice but to punt the ball back to the red-hot Westlake offense with ten minutes to play in the fourth.

On the ensuing drive, the Chaps offense faced a third and short situation, hoping to inch closer toward securing the win with a first down. Klubnik took the snap, rolled right, surveyed the field, and let yet another deep ball fly in the direction of his favorite target. At the Guyer 35 yard line, Greathouse ran under it, reeled it in, and never looked back. A 71-yard touchdown for the Chaps, all but icing their third consecutive state title, and sending the Westlake half of the stands and the Chaparral sideline into a frenzy. 

As the clock wound down, the Chaps put the icing on the cake with a 23-yard field goal by kicker senior Mark Sayegh. The clock struck all zeros, and Westlake nation were champs once again. 

The Chaps were completely lights-out on both sides of the ball in the final 24 minutes, out-scoring the Guyer Wildcats 27-7 in the second half, 40-21 in total. The win marked Westlake’s 40th consecutive victory, their 18th consecutive playoff win and, most importantly, their third consecutive state championship. 

Postgame, the Chaps held the championship trophy high, cementing their names amongst the greatest teams in Texas high school football history. Defensive lineman junior Colton Vasek was named the defensive player of the game, as he racked up three sacks for the Chaps’ defense. Wide receiver junior Jaden Greathouse took home the offensive honor, as he totaled seven receptions for a 6A state championship record 236 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. 

In a game in which the Chaps trailed at halftime, the only time all season they were forced to play from behind in the second half, Westlake battled through early struggles and walked out of AT&T Stadium with yet another championship trophy. In the final game of legendary Coach Dodge’s career, the Chaps had finished it with a storybook ending.