DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — When it comes to making halftime adjustments, the Westlake Chaparrals do it as well as anybody in Texas high school football.
The No. 2 Chaps had five takeaways in the second half, four in the fourth quarter, and outlasted No. 16 Dripping Springs 29-10 at Tiger Stadium. It’s the Chaps’ 47th consecutive win, and this was one of the most entertaining and competitive games all season in Central Texas.
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“It was a total team effort, we finally finished in the second half,” Westlake coach Tony Salazar said. “Once you start scoring touchdowns, those things add up. We answered the bell. We want to win them all.”
It took quite a while for both offenses to get going. Both came into the game averaging at least 49 points per game, but neither team scored a touchdown in the first half and the teams combined for four field goals and it looked like a baseball score at the half, 9-3 in favor of Westlake.
Both squads finally broke through to score touchdowns on their first possessions of the second half. With 9:37 left in the third quarter, Westlake junior running back Jack Kayser followed great blocks by his wide receivers and then burst up the field for a 43-yard score.
Dripping Springs answered behind the arm of quarterback Austin Novosad. Novosad, committed to play football at Baylor next year, connected with Garon Duncan for a 40-yard pass play, and then finished off the drive on a 7-yard pass to Boston Papp with 5:44 left in the frame to make it 16-10.
From there, however, it began to unravel for the Tigers. Westlake defensive end Colton Vasek forced a fumble after a hit on Novosad, and then Paxton Land scored on a 25-yard option keeper less than a minute later to give the Chaps a 22-10 lead.
Westlake then picked off Novosad on three consecutive possessions in a swirling wind late in the game. The Chaps converted one of those picks into a touchdown, an 18-yard pass from Land to Bryce Chambers with 5:36 remaining to put the final nail in the ballgame.
The teams combined for just four rushing yards in the first half, but the run games opened up quite a bit in the second half. Westlake had one rushing yard in the first half, but thanks in large part to big runs by Kayser and Land, the Chaps ended with 128 rushing yards.
Land ended the game with 224 passing yards and the Chaps had 352 total yards and were 8-for-16 on third down.
Dripping Springs ended with 174 total yards and gained just 46 yards on the ground. Novosad had 128 passing yards with a touchdown and four interceptions.
It doesn’t get easier for the Tigers (6-1, 4-1) as they travel to Lake Travis next week. Westlake (7-0, 5-0) stays undefeated and hosts Austin High next week.
Final: Westlake 29, Dripping Springs 10. The Chaparrals win the turnover battle in overwhelming fashion, but this game was closer than the final score suggests. Dripping Springs is for real and will be a tough matchup for anybody in the state playoffs when the time comes.
2:27 4Q: Novosad throws another interception, this one picks off by Westlake’s Nathan Blue. The Tigers have four turnovers on their past four possessions. Westlake takes over on its own 46-yard line.
3:08 4Q: Dripping Springs stops Westlake on 4th down, but they’ve got a long way to go to get back in the game. The Tigers take over on their own 35-yard line.
5:22 4Q: It’s unraveling for Dripping Springs. Novosad throws a deep pass that gets picked off by Westlake’s Denim Collins. The Chaps take over on the Dripping Springs 41-yard line
5:36 4Q: TOUCHDOWN WESTLAKE – On the first play after the turnover, Westlake adds another score. Land hits Bryce Chambers for an 18-yard score and the Chaps have opened it up. PAT good. Chaparrals 29, Tigers 10
5:42 4Q: Westlake’s Will Courtney steps in front of a Novosad pass and intercepts it. It’s Westlake’s third takeaway of the game and the Chaps take over on Dripping Springs’ 18-yard line.
5:50 4Q: TOUCHDOWN WESTLAKE – On 3rd-and-1, Paxton Land keeps it on the read option and he runs 25 yards untouched for a touchdown. Everybody collapsed on Jack Kayser going one way, and Land pulls it and scored. What a play call and great execution. 2-point try no good. Chaparrals 22, Tigers 10
6:32 4Q: Westlake’s Colton Vasek makes a huge play and hits Austin Novosad to force a fumble. The Chaps take over on the Tigers’ 32-yard line. If the Chaps score here, it feels like it could put the game away.
8:42 4Q: The Tigers have to punt, but it’s a good one. Westlake takes over on their own 11-yard line to start the drive.
End 3Q: Chaparrals 16, Tigers 10. Buckle up for a wild finish, folks. Dripping Springs will start the 4Q 2nd and 10 on their own 41-yard line.
0:16 3Q: Westlake tries to get Dripping Springs to jump offsides on 4th-and-3, but the Tigers don’t bite. Westlake takes a delay of game penalty and then punts. Dripping Springs take over at their own 41-yard line as Westlake can’t convert on the turnover.
3:12 3Q: Dripping Springs put it on the turf and Westlake recovers near midfield. Westlake’s Ford Thompson rips the ball away from Dripping Springs running back Jack Tyndall for the first turnover of the game. Great play to shift momentum a bit.
5:44 3Q: TOUCHDOWN DRIPPING SPRINGS – Novosad throws his 19th touchdown of the season to Boston Papp for a 7-yard touchdown. 10 play, 80-yard drive for the Tigers. PAT good. Chaparrals 16, Tigers 10
6:44 3Q: Dripping Springs hits for a big play. Novosad hits Garon Duncan for a 40-yard gain to Westlake’s 25-yard line.
9:37 3Q: TOUCHDOWN WESTLAKE – Junior running back Jack Kayser breaks off a huge run with great blocking from wide receivers. Kayser races 43 yards to paydirt, his 13th rushing score of the season. We have the game’s first touchdown. PAT good. Chaparrals 16, Tigers 3
12:00 3Q: Westlake receives the second-half kickoff
Halftime: Chaparrals 9, Tigers 3. Barnett has a 51-yard field goal attempt blocked, but this game doesn’t have a touchdown in the first half and this is wild. The Tigers are making themselves known in Class 6A Texas high school football. We’ll see if either team can finish drives in the second half.
0:43 2Q: FIELD GOAL WESTLAKE – Spencer Barnett’s kick through and true from 46 yards. Who would have thought this would be a kicking contest with both offenses averaging more than 50 points per game this season? Wild. Chaparrals 9, Tigers 3
1:58 2Q: It was the longest play of the first half for Westlake, but still just led to the field goal after a bad snap a few plays later. Paxton Land hits Keaton Kubecka for a 51-yard pass play with 1:58 left in the second quarter.
3:12 2Q: FIELD GOAL DRIPPING SPRINGS – Walker Wright boots a 35-yard kick through the uprights and the Tigers cut the Chaps’ lead in half. Chaparrals 6, Tigers 3
6:04 2Q: The Dripping Springs defense is pretty dang good, too. The Tigers get the ball back around their own 40-yard line, and let’s see if Austin Novosad can get this offense moving
6:26 2Q: Westlake’s defense has been great so far and forces another Tigers punt. Westlake will take over at its own 19-yard line.
8:37 2Q: FIELD GOAL WESTLAKE – The bad snap denies Westlake a shot at a touchdown, but Ege drills another kick, this one from 28 yards out. Chaparrals 6, Tigers 0
9:02 2Q: On 1st-and-goal from the 1, a bad snap leads to a 9-yard loss for the Chaps and turns it into 2nd-and-goal from the 10-yard line. The absolutely worst time for a bad snap in a shotgun formation.
11:02 2Q: Westlake wide receiver Jaden Greathouse makes a catch like a guy committed to Notre Dame would make over the middle. The pass was thrown behind him and he went up in the air to snatch it for a big gain.
End 1Q: Chaparrals 3, Tigers 0. We’ve got ourselves a good one brewing, but we’ll see if Westlake’s adjustments are good enough to outfox the Tigers’ adjustments.
0:11 1Q: Westlake right tackle TJ Shanahan goes down with an injury and team personnel are tending to him on the sideline. He walked off the field with some help, so he’ll get checked out.
0:56 1Q: A big loss and a penalty set the Tigers back to 3rd-and-20 and they don’t come close to converting it, so they punt again. Following a penalty during the punt return, the Chaps take over on their own 45-yard line
3:30 1Q: FIELD GOAL WESTLAKE – Carter Ege nails a 30-yard field goal to give the Chaps an early lead. Chaparrals 3, Tigers 0
5:34 1Q: Paxton Land scrambles out of trouble and finds Jack Kayser for a 23-yard gain on 3rd-and-11 down to the Dripping Springs 19-yard line. What a play by Land. The Tigers had him bottled up but somehow he squirted out of the pocket as it was collapsing.
9:00 1Q: Dripping Springs moves the ball a bit but the drives stalls and they have to punt. Paxton Land takes the Westlake offense on the field for the Chaps’ first drive of the ballgame
12:00 1Q: Westlake wins the coin toss and differs its choice to the second half. Dripping Springs will receive the opening kick