Tale of the Tape: Nothing like a family showdown to cap off the Texas high school football season as Austin Westlake head coach Todd Dodge squares off with his son Riley Dodge, the head coach for Southlake Carroll. The Dragons return to the title game for the first time since 2011 and are led by an explosive offense averaging 46.7 points per game. For Westlake, the Chaparrals are looking to earn their second consecutive title after taking home the 6A Division II crown a year ago. Westlake boasts one of the best defenses in the entire state after only giving up just 72 points this entire season.
Players to Watch: No matter who has been at the helm, the Southlake Carroll offense has kept on churning. Ohio State commit and highly touted quarterback Quinn Ewers missed nearly half of Carroll’s games due to injury, but has returned and played better than ever in the last three contests for the Dragons, throwing for 870 yards and ten touchdowns to just one interception. Alongside him in the backfield is star sophomore running back Owen Allen, who has been a steady presence this season with 2,023 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground. When Ewers looks to throw, the two targets to watch out for are Minnesota commit Brady Boyd, 969 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns this season, and Landon Samson, the team leader in receiving yards with 1,202. Defensively, Barrett Baker leads the team in tackles from his linebacker position and will be a key cog in stopping the Westlake rushing attack. In the secondary, Cinque Williams and Josh Spaeth, who each forced turnovers last week, will be two players to keep an eye on as they try to keep the Westlake passing attack in check.
Although the Chaparral defense has gotten a lot of headlines this year, Cade Klubnik has put up impressive numbers leading the Chaparral offense. He has thrown for 3,274 yards and 32 touchdowns to just three interceptions, while also adding 493 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Joining Klubnik in the backfield are two talented senior running backs: Yale commit Zane Minors, 936 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns, and Grey Nakfoor, 872 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. At receiver, Jaden Greathouse is already attracting Division I interest as a sophomore after he followed up an impressive freshman season by catching 64 passes for 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns so far this season. On the other side of the ball, the Westlake defense has been a brick wall for opposing offenses this season. Leading tackler Brady Lamme, 91 tackles, and Duke commit Nick Morris, 88 tackles and 16 sacks, anchor the heart of the defense at linebacker, while seniors Jax Crockett and Michael Taaffe have been ballhawks in the secondary this season with five and three interceptions respectively. Up front, look for Hayden Bray to acquaint himself with the Dragon backfield as he looks to add to his 12 sacks on the season.
Many thought this would be a North Shore-Duncanville showdown, but after Westlake and Southlake Carroll pulled off upsets in the semifinals, it will be the Dodge Bowl instead. The storyline to watch in this one will be whether or not Southlake Carroll will be able to find any success against Westlake’s stonewall defense. The answer to that question could very well be the deciding factor in which team takes home the final state title of the 2020 Texas high school football season.