Defense hasn’t won this Westlake team any championships yet, but it certainly sent a message to its fiercest rival as well as the rest of the state.
Powered by a relentless defensive front and a creative defensive game plan, Westlake limited Lake Travis’ potent duo of quarterback Hudson Card and Garrett Wilson to just a scattering of big plays in a 44-14 win before a crowd of more than 10,000 fans at Chaparral Stadium on Friday. The final margin – Westlake’s largest in the 14-game series that Lake Travis now leads 10-4 - may have stunned football followers across Texas, but it came as no surprise in the Westlake (5-1 overall, 4-0 District 25-6A) locker room.
“Respect to Lake Travis because they are a great team and will do great things this year, but this isn’t a surprise,” Westlake senior defensive back Drew Webster said. “We knew what they were going to do before they even ran it.”
Lake Travis (5-1, 4-1), ranked No. 2 in the latest Associated Press Class 6A poll, entered averaging 51.6 points and 426 yards per game. But the Cavs could never find their rhythm while totaling just 221 yards and committing three turnovers. Westlake defensive coordinator Tony Salazar, who has earned a reputation for freely utilizing his beloved blitzes, relied on his defensive backs to beat the Cavalier receivers in one-on-one coverage and a defensive line led by David Neil, Bobby Duncum and William Roberston to get constant pressure on Card.
“I wouldn’t trade him for any defensive coordinator in the state,” Westlake coach Todd Dodge said.
Card, a junior committed to Texas, threw for 133 yards on 15-of-29 passing with two interceptions. He also had two other picks negated by penalties. Wilson, one of the state’s top recruits and the No.1-ranked prospect in the Statesman's Fab 55 list, who is pledged to Ohio State, ended the game with 70 yards on seven receptions and scored the Cavs’ only two touchdowns on a 41-yard reception off a flea-flicker in the first quarter and 101-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
“Garrett is obviously an amazing player, and we made it a priority to shut him down,” Webster said. “We let off a lot of our blitzes because we knew if we could limit those explosive plays, we’d have a chance to win the game.”
While Westlake’s attack may lack the pizzazz of the Cavs, it had plenty of punch. An offensive line anchored by three-year starting center Blake Webster helped Westlake dominate the clock while rushing for 266 yards. Quarterback Taylor Anderson led the Chaps with 164 yards rushing and two second-half touchdown runs. He also threw for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Westlake built a 20-7 halftime lead by dominating the trenches and controlling the clock. The Chaps’ first score came on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Penny Baker, and the Chaps’ other touchdown before the break included some razzle-dazzle with a 37-yard touchdown catch by Jackson Coker after a double pass from Anderson to Rhett Kelley.
Chap senior Gabe Lozano extended Westlake’s dominance of the first half on special teams by nailing field goals of 40 and 38 yards.
Drew Webster continued Westlake’s momentum on the first drive of the second half when he returned an interception 64 yards for a score and a 27-7 lead.
“They lined up and whipped our butt,” said Lake Travis coach Hank Carter, whose team has now lost two consecutive games to Westlake after winning 10 games in a row over their District 25-6A rivals from 2008-2016. “I didn’t have our kids prepared to play, and credit Westlake for that. They played extremely well.”