Westlake's roster was light, compared to the first half of the season, when it took on San Antonio Brandeis at San Antonio's Alamodome in Saturday's UIL 6A Division II Region IV final. That's because all-state center Blake Webster, 1,200-yard rusher Tripp Graham, and senior starting quarterback Taylor Anderson were unavailable because they suffered injuries in three different games since November 2nd.
But, that didn't prevent the Chaparrals from rolling to a 26-0 win. They were led by VYPE Player of the Game Kirkland Michaux, who threw for and rushed for a touchdown.
"I was trying to do as much as I could for the team," said Michaux. "I wasn't trying to do too much with my feet. Coach [Todd] Dodge always has a good plan for us to succeed, and I just tried to follow that."
The first points of the game came on the fourth drive of the game. Brandeis had two punts, and Westlake's fourth-and-three incompletion was unsuccessful. Then, backup-turned-Saturday's starter Drew Willoughby, who was playing for Anderson, hit fellow junior Mason Mangum on a 33-yard touchdown.
Brandeis' offense continued to struggle, but its defense made first quarter plays that kept the score at one possession. The Broncos had a fourth-and-two stop, and added a fumble recovery towards the end of the period.
In the second, Brandeis added a second fumble recovery, but immediately threw an interception to Westlake. The Chaparrals, earlier in the period, added a 36-yard touchdown to make it a 14-point game. Other backup quarterback Kirkland Michaux found Jackson Coker on the play.
And the third was when Westlake put its stamp on the game. Michaux's second score was a short rushing touchdown, which expanded the Chaparral lead to 21-0. Moments later, the defense's forced safety added two more points.
Kicker Gabriel Lozano topped off the scoring with a 34-yard field goal in the fourth, and Westlake's defense wrapped up its sixth shutout of the season.
"Our kids have played well all year," Westlake head coach Todd Dodge said of his defense. "Our defensive coordinator, I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the state of Texas. And [our defense is] our bell cow. And they have been from day one."
Westlake advances to play Beaumont West Brook in one of the UIL 6A Division II state semifinal matchups. The game, which will be played at Katy ISD's Legacy Stadium, is scheduled to start at 4pm on Saturday December 15th. The Bruins, in case you're wondering, beat Cypress Creek 31-21 in Saturday's UIL 6A Division II Region III final.
"We're going to do as much as we can,"Michaux said of next week's preparation. "Get in the study room, watch their film, have a good week of practice, and see what happens after that."
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