Chaps hold off Lake Travis for second consecutive “Battle of the Lakes” victory

Friday nights at Chaparral Stadium never fail to entertain. Games between Westlake and cross-town foes Lake Travis, however, are a whole different breed of high school football battles. Sept. 23’s clash between the heated rivals was no different, with packed stands on both sides, heavy tensions between the teams, and a gorgeous night for football.

The Chaps were off to another great start to a season, going 3-0 in their first few games, and winning them all in fairly dominant fashion. It would be head coach Tony Salazar’s first time leading the Chaps in the rivalry, and in games like these, winning always meant a little more to everybody.  

Lake Travis, on the other hand, had begun the season with two unexpected losses, falling to Arlington Martin and Cibolo Steele in consecutive weeks, both by one score or fewer. Since the two losses, the Cavaliers regained their footing in district play, trouncing Johnson and Akins in the following weeks. While their record may not have suggested so, Lake Travis was a great team, and hungry to avenge their 63-21 loss to Westlake the previous season.

As fans packed into the stadium, Westlake kicked off to Lake Travis, and the 2022 edition of the “Battle of the Lakes” rivalry was underway. 

Quarterback junior Kadyn Leon led the Cavs onto the field for their opening drive, getting the start over an injured Bo Edmundson, Lake Travis’ senior leader and everyday starter. 

With a backup quarterback at the helm of a Lake Travis team that had already endured their fair share of struggles in the 2022 season, Westlake looked to be the clear favorites at gametime. 

After the first quarter, it seemed like the odds may have been reversed. Leon led the Cavs’ offense into the endzone on their first drive, finding tight end senior Sam Self for the score, putting LT up 7-0 early. Westlake had their chance to respond, but failed to do so as quarterback senior Brett Skinner was intercepted by defensive back junior Tyler Brown. Despite a fumble recovery by the Chaps’ defense, Westlake was kept out of the endzone by three significant penalties in their final drive of the quarter. Lake Travis led 7-0 with one quarter in the books. 

Westlake finally found their answer early in the second quarter, but it didn’t come easily. After fighting for a stop on defense, Westlake was forced to come up with multiple third down conversions as they worked their way into Lake Travis territory. On yet another third down and long, Skinner avoided defenders and launched a 27-yard strike to wide receiver senior Bryce Chambers in the endzone, putting the Chaps on the board with five minutes until the half.

Lake Travis responded accordingly, taking the lead right back on a 35-yard field goal by kicker senior Hunter Rioux. At the end of the first half, The Chaps trailed their rivals, 10-7. 

During the break, it was obvious that Westlake would need to make some changes if they wanted to win the game, and both sides of the ball needed to start clicking. 

Right out of the gates, it looked like the opposite from Westlake. The first drive of the second half couldn’t have gone much worse, as a bad snap fumble gave the Cavs the ball deep in Westlake territory. Despite settling for a field goal, Lake Travis had grown their lead, 13-7. 

It wasn’t until the middle of the third quarter that Westlake found their lifeline. Defensive lineman senior Brett Mays forced a fumble, and the Chaps would recover inside the Cavs’ 15-yard line. Two plays later, Skinner hit wide receiver senior Jaden Greathouse in the endzone to put the Chaps up by one, 14-13. That scoreline would remain the same at the end of the quarter. 

After a defensive stop, Westlake was one score away from gaining a comfortable lead. To do so, they called upon running back junior Jack Kayser, and, as he’d done so many times for the Chaps, he delivered. Kayser took a handoff right up the middle, bursting into the secondary and leaving defenders in the rearview as he cruised into the endzone, a 41-yard touchdown to give Westlake a 21-13 lead.    

The momentum was all the Chaps’ needed to blow the game open. Kayser would score again, putting Westlake on top 28-13. The Cavs responded with a touchdown from Leon to Self to cut the Chaps’ lead down to eight with six minutes to play. The comeback was to no avail, however, as Greathouse would blow past the Lake Travis defense for a game-sealing 28-yard touchdown catch. 

The Chaps have had their fair share of first-half scares in the 2022 season, but the efforts on both sides of the ball in the second half have proved very important, as they once again did Friday night. 

Quarterback Brett Skinner put his early interception behind him, finishing the evening with 12 completions for 138 yards and three passing touchdowns. Jack Kayser had another incredible night, rushing 29 times for a whopping 205 yards and two touchdowns. Jaden Greathouse added 6 catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns as well.

Defensive lineman senior Colton Vasek led the Westlake defense, totalling 10 tackles and 2 sacks on the night. Westlake forced and recovered three fumbles, all of which proved important in the matchup. 

The Chaps’ win marks a big step in this new chapter of Westlake football. The Chaps earned not only a hard-fought victory, but also the most valuable ingredient in every rivalry: some year-long bragging rights.