AUSTIN (KXAN) — The 2023 Battle of the Lakes lived up to the hype.
No. 4 Westlake held Lake Travis to 87 yards rushing and held off the No. 8 Cavaliers 20-14 to win at Cavalier Stadium for the first time since 2006 on Friday
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Jack Kayser provided the big play for the Chaps with a 40-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Spencer Barnett hit his second field goal from over 50 yards to lift the Chaps to the win.
The Cavaliers drew within a touchdown after quarterback Kadyn Leon hit tight end Josiah Thomas for an 11-yard touchdown with 10:35 left in the game, but the Chaps were able to run the clock out. Sophomore quarterback Rees Wise hit Brody Wilhelm with a pass over the middle to convert a 3rd-and-10 with 4:18 left in the game, and the Chaps were able to bleed the rest of the clock out from there.
“That was a helluva defensive battle,” Westlake head coach Tony Salazar said. “We were disciplined in the second half, and I think that was the difference to get over the top.”
Kayser’s big dash to help seal the victory capped off a tremendous night in his final rivalry game with the Cavs. With 5:17 left in the third quarter, Kayser burst through the line like he was shot out of a cannon and ran 40 yards almost untouched to give Westlake a 17-7 lead. It was a night the Chaps needed big plays from the run game because they didn’t pass it well. Starting quarterback Paxton Land came out of the game at 9:16 in the second quarter after a shaky start, and sophomore Rees Wise also had his struggles but made the big throw in the fourth quarter to Wilhelm.
After Land scored the game’s first touchdown on a 19-yard rush, Lake Travis pulled even with a 1-yard score by Nico Hamilton with 9:26 in the second. The play was set up by Kadyn Leon’s beautifully thrown pass to Cole Munnerlyn for a 47-yard gain.
Westlake kicker Spencer Barnett nailed his second field goal from 50 yards or more this season, connecting from 53 yards on the first play for the fourth quarter. The Chaps could have lined up and kicked it before the third quarter ended, but they instead let the clock run out so when the teams switched sides, there was a slight breeze at Barnett’s back. The kick gave Westlake a 20-7 lead, and it’s another highlight for Barnett who booted a 59-yarder against Fort Bend Ridge Point in the season opener.
The Cavs pulled within a touchdown after tight end Josiah Thomas made a great catch for an 11-yard score with 10:35 left. Leon fired a pass high into the end zone for Thomas, who was wide-open, and Thomas stretched way above his head to pluck it out of the air. That was the last possession Lake Travis got, however, as Westlake put on a masterclass in ball control to finish the game.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the guys, we put a lot of work into this game, and (Lake Travis) is a helluva football team,” Salazar said. “Tonight, we finished on top. I’m so proud.”
Westlake (4-0, 2-0 District 26) hosts Del Valle at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29. Lake Travis (4-1, 2-1) has a bye next week and will go to Del Valle on Oct. 6.
Final: Westlake 20, Lake Travis 14. The Chaps win their third consecutive Battle of the Lakes behind a big performance from running back Jack Kayser and their defense
1:11 4Q: A hard count gets Lake Travis to jump offside, and the penalty yardage gives the Chaps a first down. Westlake in victory formation
1:16 4Q: Lake Travis uses its final timeout and Westlake has the ball 3rd-and-4 deep in Cavs territory, and a first down essentially ends the game.
4:18 4Q: Wise hits Brody Wilhelm on a route over the middle to convert a 3rd-and-10 for the Chaps. A big play for the Westlake passing game that hasn’t been all that effective tonight. Big, big play.
6:49 4Q: Lake Travis gets hit with two penalties, a holding penalty during the play, and then an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play. Westlake declined the holding penalty so the result of the third-down play stands, well short of the line to gain on 3rd-and-11. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gets marked off and it becomes fourth down, so Lake Travis punts it away.
10:35 4Q: TOUCHDOWN LAKE TRAVIS: Leon hits tight end Josiah Thomas for an 11-yard touchdown on a nice playaction pass. Thomas went up high to grab the pass out of the air, and he was wide open when he brought it down. PAT good. Chaps 20, Cavs 14
10:52 4Q: Leon hits Munnerlyn for a big gain down to the 6-yard line to set up the Cavs deep in Westlake territory
11:55 4Q: FIELD GOAL WESTLAKE: Barnett blasts one through from 53 yards, his second field goal of 50+ yards this season. When the teams flipped the field at the end of the 3Q, it put a slight breeze at Barnett’s back to help him out. Chaps 20, Cavs 7
End 3Q: Westlake 17, Lake Travis 7. Westlake has the ball on 4th down to start the 4Q. It’s still anybody’s game at this point.
0:56 3Q: Westlake again avoids disaster as Wise and Kayser have trouble with an exchange and the ball pops loose. Wise, however, alerted jumps on it for the Chaps to keep possession
4:14 3Q: Lake Travis doesn’t get anywhere on that drive and has to punt again. Westlake gets the ball back on their own 17-yard line
5:17 3Q: TOUCHDOWN WESTLAKE: Kayser bursts through the line, gets a key block from right tackle Richard Grigg and he’s off to the end zone from 40 yards out. PAT good. Chaps 17, Cavs 7
9:42 3Q: Westlake forces Lake Travis to punt and the Chaps will run their first possession from their own 14-yard line.
Halftime: Westlake 10, Lake Travis 7. We’re in for an exciting second half, folks. Lake Travis will get the ball to start the second half.
1:28 2Q: Lake Travis has to punt but the Cavs are able to down it on the 2-yard line for Westlake to take over.
3:23 2Q: FIELD GOAL WESTLAKE: Spencer Barnett, who kicked a 59-yard field goal earlier in the season, boots one through from 29 yards to give the Chaps the lead again. Chaps 10, Cavs 7
5:07 2Q: The Westlake defense is also looking good and they force the Cavs punt out of their own end zone. A penalty for a block in the back puts Westlake back to the Cavs’ 45-yard line to start this drive
7:16 2Q: The Lake Travis defense looks great right now and doesn’t allow the Chaps to gain any yards on the drive, but Chaps punter Grady Bartlett nails a punt that is downed inside the 1-yard line. The rugby-style punt took a huge hop on the turf and just kept rolling.
9:16 2Q: Westlake’s Jack Kayser has a nice kick return to midfield to set the Chaps up with great field position. Sophomore Rees Wise is now in the ballgame at QB for Westlake.
9:26 2Q: TOUCHDOWN LAKE TRAVIS: Hamilton punches it in from a yard out for the Cavs and after the PAT, it’s ballgame is all tied up. Chaps 7, Cavs 7
9:35 2Q: Leon avoids a sack and then airs it out deep down the field to Cole Munnerlyn down to the 1-yard line, a 47-yard gain for the Cavs.
10:45 2Q: Lake Travis QB Kadyn Leon gets hit and the ball pops loose, but the Cavs jump on it and avoid a turnover. The play went for a first down for the Cavs, as well.
11:37 2Q: A holding penalty on third down sinks Westlake’s drive and they end up punting it away. A 15-yard personal foul penalty during the kick gives Lake Travis the ball on the 28-yard line. Lake Travis senior tailback Nico Hamilton is now in the ballgame.
End 1Q: Westlake 7, Lake Travis 0. The Chaps just crossed midfield on a Jack Kayser rush and they’ll have the ball on third down to start 2Q
0:38 1Q: Lake Travis goes for it on 4th-and-1 and sophomore back Vann Hopping tries to bounce the ball to the outside, but the Westlake defense pursues the play perfectly and stops Hopping short. Westlake gets it back near midfield.
2:31 1Q: Westlake goes for it and Land overshoots Grady Bartlett over the middle and the Cavs get it back on downs.
2:36 1Q: Facing a 4th-and-3 play from the Lake Travis 45-yard line, Westlake takes a timeout to discuss things. The offense was out on the field when head coach Tony Salazar called the timeout.
3:59 1Q: Land is an early force on the ground for the Chaps, something that was pretty unexpected considering he isn’t exactly considered a dual-threat QB, but he looks like one right now. He just picked up another first down for the Chaps to get the ball close to midfield
5:57 1Q: Lake Travis’ first drive of the game stalls out and the Cavs have to punt it away. Westlake takes over on its own 20-yard line.
8:14 1Q: TOUCHDOWN WESTLAKE: Paxton Land does it himself on the option read and scores from 19 yards away. That’s Land’s first rushing touchdown of the season. PAT good. Chaps 7, Cavs 0
10:58 1Q: Westlake QB Paxton Land scrambles out of the pocket for a first down and then is hit right after he steps out of bounds, drawing a 15-yard late hit penalty on the Cavs. It was a bang-bang play for sure, but Westlake gets the extra yardage.
12:00 1Q: Lake Travis hammers the opening kick through the end zone and the Chaparrals will start their first drive at their own 25-yard line
Lake Travis wins the opening coin toss and defers its option to the second half, so the Westlake offense will get the ball first. For Lake Travis, Vann Hopping is getting the start at running back, and we’ll see if Nico Hamilton is healthy enough to go. He was a game-time decision by head coach Hank Carter.