Westlake gave Niceville (Fla.) a taste of what Texas high school football is all about.
The Chaps (2-0) rolled up 572 yards of total offense and completely suffocated the Eagles (2-1) defensively in a 66-7 win Friday night at Chaparral Stadium in Austin.
“I’m just really proud of my football team for being absolutely ready to play,” said Westlake head coach Todd Dodge. “I wish (Niceville) all the luck in the world, but sometimes those games happen like that… We’re a lot better right now (than we were last week) because (Niceville) was a team that had won their first two games averaging 48 points a game and giving up about ten.”
Westlake made a point of running the ball early. The Chaps gave it to senior running back Nakia Watson on 11 of the first 14 plays and he ended up with 167 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
After giving the Eagle defense a nice dose of Watson, the Chaps began spreading it out and junior quarterback Taylor Anderson took advantage by throwing for 158 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-19 passing. He also scampered for 107 yards and two scores on nine attempts and added a five-yard touchdown reception from senior running back Izaiah Faz on a nifty trick play.
“We wanted to establish Nakia and our running game, and we felt like with the way that they were playing us that our quarterback runs would be effective tonight and it was,” Dodge said. “They had good-sized defensive ends and good-sized linebackers. Their (defensive) tackles were a little smaller. We felt like we could run the football. We thought the strength of their defense was in the back end and at their linebacker level.”
Westlake’s defense never let the Eagle offense take off. Prior to the final drive of the game, Niceville had only 119 yards and four first downs. Junior David Neill and Senior Jared Counts each registered bone-rattling sacks. Junior Jake Ehlinger got behind the line of scrimmage and forced a second quarter fumble that was recovered by senior Connor Kelly and returned to the Niceville 20. Junior Drew Webster intercepted a pass in the third and returned it to the three.
“Our back end played much better than they did last week,” Dodge said. “This team from Niceville was every bit as explosive on film as the team that we played last week from College Station so our secondary played a lot better. We just ask our kids to be physical, to play physical.”
Niceville grabbed a 7-0 lead when senior Juanyeh Thomas fielded the game’s first punt at the 10-yard line and ran right before making a sick cut and turning on the burners for a 90-yard touchdown return. Junior Jack White also broke a big gain through Westlake’s coverage unit when he returned a second quarter kickoff 64 yards to the Chap 26. Westlake muffed a punt in the third quarter to cap a not-so-great night for the special teams.
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