Despite sloppy play and multiple turnovers, Westlake survived an overtime thriller beating Judson 24-21. The victory saw quarterback Sam Ehlinger come back for the first time since being injured in the Chaparrals loss to Lake Travis back on October 7th.
However, seeing his first action in over six weeks, Ehlinger was rusty. On his first series, he went three yard loss, two yard rush, sack, and the Chaparrals were punting to the Rockets soon after. Then, on his first play after a slow start, he muffed an option handoff to Nakia Watson, fumbling the ball to the turf.
Overall for the night Ehlinger went 13-24 for 171 yards with two interceptions. On the ground he was more effective, rushing 27 times for 61 yards and two scores. His first score tied the game up before halftime at 14-14; and his second was the go ahead score with 3:42 left in the fourth.
“It was 100 percent on me” Ehlinger said on Westlake’s offensive struggles throughout the game. “I’ve been out for a while, that’s not an excuse, I just didn’t play well. People have bad games and this was mine, I’m just glad that I have a team to support me and pull me up when that happens.”
Ehlinger recently had pins removed from his thumb earlier in the week, and after the game his hand was bloodied and bruised from constant punishment from the Judson defense. “After a team like that your body is all beat up and that’s just how it is, but I feel good.”
The rushing touchdown before the end of the half was the kick that Westlake needed, as they were lifeless for most of the game. As Ehlinger was running into the end zone a Judson defensive back caught the quarterback off guard as he crossed the goal line knocking the wind out of him. Each side got into each other’s faces with Ehlinger leading the charge.
“I wanted to have some energy and show some excitement before the half so we could take some momentum into half time as we were pretty dead.”
Westlake had to rebound after a crushing tying touchdown as Judson scored on a seven yard quarterback keeper as Julian Williams bounced around the Westlake defense to tie the game with only 1:15 left. The Chaparrals led off overtime with a 29 yard field goal Mauro Montemayor.
Then, all hell broke loose.
Judson drove the field and lined up on a first down from the Westlake three yard line. Judson rushed up the middle, only to be met by Levi Jones causing a fumble. David Neil recovered, sealing the victory for Westlake. However, as the Chaparrals were celebrating on the field the replay was shown causing an uproar from the Rockets faithful who made the trip. As it looked like Mi’kel Jackson’s knee was down as the ball was coming loose from his arms.
However, because there is no replay there wasn’t a chance for the officials to review the play to see if they had made a mistake. With no way of seeing if Jackson was down Judson left the field wondering if they should have had another chance to score the game winning touchdown.
Instead, Westlake moves on in the UIL 6A Division 1 playoffs; while Judson heads to Thanksgiving week with their season over.
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