Sider: Chaps’ defense looks to replicate production Friday against Bowie

Westlake defense looked dominant in second half effort to hold off Dripping Springs, Chaps take on Bulldogs Friday.
Mia Fillpot
Defensive back senior Wyatt Williams carries the ball as Chaps’ defense celebrates a stop in their 27-14 win over Dripping Springs

Coming into their week ten matchup with Bowie, the Westlake varsity football team’s goal is clear: grab their ninth win of the season, and their 41st consecutive regular season win. In order to do so, the Chaps’ defense will need to do the heavy lifting. 

The Bulldogs (4-4, 4-2 26-6A) playoff hopes lie on their final two games. The offense is putting up nearly 28 points up on average per game, Westlake will need to come out hot early and stay true to what we have come to expect from them.

The Chaps showed their character on defense with their backs against the wall against Dripping Springs two weeks ago. Defensive back senior Judson Crockett blocked Dripping Springs punt inside the Tigers’ 40 yard line to shift the momentum in favor of the Chaps late in the fourth quarter.

Tied at halftime, Westlake’s stifling defense flipped the switch to hold Dripping Springs scoreless in the second half. Facing their toughest challenge yet this season, the Chaps (7-0, 5-0 District 26-6A) scored 20 unanswered points to remain unbeaten in the regular season since 2019.

All throughout spring ball, and every pregame speech, Westlake defensive coordinator Jason Jones stresses to “play hard” no matter what. Almost every week, the defense kills the opposing team’s will to even want to line up against them by the second half. This has been the routine nearly every game this season, however the Tigers had other plans. 

Throughout the first half, Dripping Springs physically dominated Westlake. Tigers star running back Jack Tyndall found holes all over the field and rushed for 180 yards. The game’s opening drive.

Westlake forced a third-and-six deep inside Dripping Springs territory, but Tyndall followed his tackle down the left sideline for a 71-yard rushing touchdown. 

“We didn’t see it in film, it kind of shocked us,” linebacker junior Elliott Schaper said. 

After quarterback sophomore Rees Wise scored to tie the game, Dripping Springs again found holes in the Westlake defense. Dripping Springs converted two third-and-longs, tiring out the Chaps. Then, from Westlake’s 42-yard line, the Tigers had another third down. 

Westlake brought in an extra defensive lineman to clog the gaps up the middle, but Dripping Springs dialed up misdirection. Quarterback junior Maddox Maher lined up with two running backs directly behind him, but kept the ball and threw to a wide open post route. Wide receiver senior Kyle Koch ran in the reception for a 42-yard touchdown. 

With a little under eight minutes to go in the quarter, Dripping Springs had the ball with the opportunity to take a two possession lead. The Tigers’ offense successfully pushed the pile on a long third-and-short conversion to get to the Westlake 13-yard line. 

Westlake called their first timeout. Jones talked to his players, who stood in a circle around him, trying to get something going. There had been flashes of their potential, but too many mental errors had led to big Dripping Springs plays. 

Whatever was said in that huddle worked. 

On first down, Tyndall just barely escaped a big tackle for loss and reached the eight-yard line. On second down, the defense hurried Maher which forced an incompletion. The final stop needed to bring the field goal unit out was also successful. On third-and-five, Dripping Springs called a draw up the middle which Westlake quickly wrapped up. The Tigers missed the ensuing chip shot field goal to increase their lead, leaving the door open for Westlake.

We knew we made plenty of mistakes,” Crockett said. “It was just up to us to fix our mistakes and doing what we do”

Westlake scored immediately after the break, and it turned to its defense again to get a stop.

With Dripping Springs’ run game flowing, it attempted a play-action rollout on third-and-five. But Westlake didn’t let up, forcing the quarterback to throw it away. With Westlake gaining momentum, Tigers head coach Galen Zimmerman made the call to go for it on fourth down.

Maher took the snap and started back-pedaling before dumping the screen off to his running back Tyndall. Schaper met the running back at the line of scrimmage to give the Chaps good field position, which the offense capitalized on. Another Westlake rushing touchdown gave the Chaps all the momentum. The bunches of red jerseys on the sideline jumped up and down as cowbells rang out in the stands.

With nine minutes to play in the final quarter, Dripping Springs had a 3rd and long. The defense elected to play a Mike front, keeping four on the line and just one linebacker, so they could bring in an extra defensive back. With the four putting pressure and hurrying the quarterback, Maher was forced to throw into a beautifully executed Tampa* defense, tossing it to a triple covered receiver across the middle which consisted of both the extra defensive back and the lone linebacker.

On fourth down they chose what they believed was the best option, to punt the ball and trust their defense. Dripping Springs lined up with their long snapper, two blockers to his left, and three behind him. Westlakes punt team had six rushers all sprinting at the punter with only one intent: to block that punt. 

“We want to be a lethal weapon on special teams,” Crockett said. “Everyone on the sideline was feeling the same way. We needed to go out there and do something”.

Not only did they do something, but they returned this one for six. Crockett was the one to get his entire frame in front of the ball to block it, and wide receiver senior Heath McRee caught it and gave a burst of speed for a 40-yard touchdown.

After picking up two first downs, the Dripping Springs drive came to another halt, having the ball 4th and 3 on the Westlake 40. Maher was unable to deliver the ball to wide receiver senior Noah Lamble, with Schaper hitting Maher while he was in his throwing motion.

“Coach had us in the right place, and we were there to make plays,” Schaper said. It was clear that halftime adjustments resulted in every player being where they needed to be on defense. “We knew we were the better team.”

The second half stat sheet told us all we needed to know, with over 5 tackles for a loss, and many stalled drives. Westlake’s defense shut out the high scoring Tigers offense in the second half to hand them just their second loss of the season.

There is no doubt Bowie will come into Chaparral Stadium with their goal clear: to secure a playoff spot. The Westlake defense will no doubt have to step up if they want to extend their undefeated regular season streak. 


*Tampa: A type of zone defense

*Zone defense: a defensive position where defenders cover an area of the field rather than an individual offensive player

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All THE FEATHERDUSTER Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.