Last Friday, Austin Westlake’s quarterback Sam Ehlinger left early in the first quarter against Lake Travis with a thumb injury, watching his Chaps teammates lose their ninth straight game to the Cavaliers with his appendage wrapped in ice from the sidelines.
Westlake’s chances to return to the state championship game likely took a seat on the bench with him.
According to Austin American-Statesman writer Rick Cantu, the UT commit is done for the season:
— Rick Cantu (@Rickyprep) October 10, 2016
Back-up Matthew Gense — who only lost one game in Ehlinger’s absence — is also out with a broken collarbone that he suffered in a victory against Hays.
The reigns of coach Todd Dodge’s offense will be reluctantly handed to third-stringer Taylor Anderson, who was completely overwhelmed in a near shutout at the hands of Charlie Brewer and the Cavs. The Sophomore was shoved into the line of fire, and his inexperience completely discombobulated an offense that only managed one touchdown in garbage time.
The quarterback injuries weren’t the only ones Westlake suffered in the “Battle of the Lakes”. Star tailback Nakia Watson didn’t suit up, and Sam Duffy and Isaiah Foz left the game because of various injuries.
Moving forward, the Chaps’ defensive front is expected to tighten up at the line of scrimmage; in four games, the Chaps D yielded just 16 points per game, but numerous formation miscommunications and missed tackles cost them against a Lake Travis offense with a multitude of weapons — suffering one of the worst losses in school history since 1978.
The Ehlinger injury must be a serious disappointment for a team pegged as Region IV favorites; Ehlinger is currently a Longhorns commit, but will likely red-shirt his first year behind fantastic quarterback Shane Buechelle, who is leading the third-best Longhorns unit in history in terms of points per game.