There couldn’t have been a more appropriate bow on the 2020 football season.
In a clash that was originally scheduled to open the 100th season of UIL football, Austin Westlake (14-0) beat Southlake Carroll (12-2), 52-34, in the 6A DI state title to cap off a tumultuous year that stretched all the way into the new year. The Chaps’ Division I championship comes after winning the Division II title a year ago.
“We did something last year that hadn’t been done (at Westlake) in 25 years. A lot of people wondered if it’d ever happen against at Westlake and we got it done,” Westlake head coach Todd Dodge said. “And now, something that’s even more difficult to do was to come back and win it again.”
Leading up to the matchup, the hype understandably surrounded the two head coaches, Todd and Riley Dodge, facing off in the first-ever father-son head coaching matchup in state history. After winning a title together in 2006 at Southlake Carroll, the two were on opposing sidelines for the first time.
“This is something that we never saw (happening at state),” Todd Dodge said.
But according to Todd Dodge, the only one in the family doing much trash talk in the lead-up to the game was his grandson, Tate, the son of the Dragons head coach.
And starting off, it lived up to the fireworks.
The Dragons and Chaparrals exchanged scores in the first half and Westlake went into the half with a narrow 28-21 lead.
The Chaps defense hadn’t given up more than 21 all season.
But it also hadn’t faced a quarterback-wideout combo like five-star Quinn Ewers and future Minnesota receiver Brady Boyd before either. The pair connected on two deep throws in the first half and struck early blows to the staunch Westlake defense. Luckily for the Chaps, their three-headed rushing attack of quarterback Cade Klubnik and running backs Zane Minors and Grey Nakfoor had the defense’s back with three combined rushing touchdowns in the first half.
“We just didn’t get it done and I felt like we had a great plan,” Riley Dodge said. “Offensively we were able to put up some yards tonight playing against a really good defense and a veteran defense.
“When you have a quarterback that can run and you have two running backs in the backfield, you’re playing with three running backs. That’s tough for anybody and they do a heck of a job, they’re very, very balanced and do a great job of staying ahead of the chains.”
After a weekend of blowouts, it looked like the final game of the 2020 fall season was the barnburner fans had hoped for.
Unfortunately for them, Westlake defensive coordinator Tony Salazar had other ideas following halftime. After scoring on the opening possession of the second half, senior defensive back Michael Taaffe snagged a highlight-reel one-handed interception off Ewers, the first major stop of the game for the vaunted Chaps defense and Taaffe’s second pick of the night. Klubnik punched it in the endzone four plays later. Taaffe finished as the game’s Defensive MVP.
“It came my way, and I made the play, but it would be super selfish and factually wrong if I said that I did this myself,” Taaffe said.
Westlake’s defense shut the Dragons out the remainder of the quarter. For a team that was more known for its defense heading in, it was the offense that held firm the entire way until the defense founds its footing.
“If we didn’t have an offense that just bounced back every time we got scored on, our confidence would be hurt really bad,” Taaffe said.
In a battle of highly touted 2022 quarterbacks, the four-star Klubnik finished with 220 yards passing on an efficient 18-of-20 passes with 97 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Ewers, the top prospect in the nation for 2022, finished with 351 yards and three touchdowns. Klubnik also played after having not thrown a pass during the week nursing a shoulder injury her suffered against North Shore in the semifinal. He was the game’s Offensive MVP.
“(Cade) knows how to jump on a sword for his teammates,” Todd Dodge. “He’s got a tremendous style, a very encouraging style of leadership.”
After the game, Todd Dodge, who helped start Southlake Carroll’s dynastic run 20 years ago, commented on his son’s job so far in charge. It was the Dragons’ first trip back to the finals in nearly 10 years.
“One of the biggest things that Riley’s brought back to the Dragon Nation is treating kids the right way, treating the guys on the attack team, the guys that no one in town really knows about and getting back to that,” Todd Dodge said.
“It’s about treating that bottom 30 percent of your roster, that doesn’t get to play as much, and treating them like kings. That’s the biggest thing that Riley has done.”
|Score by Quarters||1||2||3||4||Score|
|1st||08:25||CARROLL||Owen Allen 3 yd run (Joe McFadden kick)|
|10 plays, 75 yards, TOP 3:35||0 - 7|
|08:13||WESTLAKE||Zane Minors 75 yd run (Mark Sayegh kick)|
|1 play, 75 yards, TOP 0:12||7 - 7|
|06:24||CARROLL||Brady Boyd 49 yd pass from Quinn Ewers (Joe McFadden kick)|
|5 plays, 75 yards, TOP 1:49||7 - 14|
|03:07||WESTLAKE||Grey Nakfoor 38 yd run (Mark Sayegh kick)|
|8 plays, 76 yards, TOP 3:08||14 - 14|
|2nd||10:51||WESTLAKE||Jaden Greathouse 15 yd pass from Cade Klubnik (Mark Sayegh kick)|
|7 plays, 47 yards, TOP 2:50||21 - 14|
|06:44||CARROLL||Brady Boyd 27 yd pass from Quinn Ewers (Joe McFadden kick)|
|9 plays, 75 yards, TOP 4:07||21 - 21|
|01:12||WESTLAKE||Cade Klubnik 1 yd run (Mark Sayegh kick)|
|10 plays, 75 yards, TOP 5:32||28 - 21|
|3rd||09:10||WESTLAKE||Grey Nakfoor 4 yd run (Mark Sayegh kick)|
|6 plays, 75 yards, TOP 2:50||35 - 21|
|06:48||WESTLAKE||Cade Klubnik 4 yd run (Mark Sayegh kick)|
|4 plays, 24 yards, TOP 1:25||42 - 21|
|02:14||WESTLAKE||Mark Sayegh 36 yd field goal|
|10 plays, 40 yards, TOP 3:09||45 - 21|
|4th||08:29||WESTLAKE||Grey Nakfoor 5 yd run (Mark Sayegh kick)|
|10 plays, 67 yards, TOP 3:56||52 - 21|
|04:25||CARROLL||RJ Maryland 10 yd pass from Quinn Ewers (Quinn Ewers pass failed)|
|8 plays, 75 yards, TOP 4:04||52 - 27|
|03:14||CARROLL||Owen Allen 2 yd run (Joe McFadden kick)|
|4 plays, 34 yards, TOP 1:11||52 - 34|
|Kickoff time: 7:07 pm • End of Game: 10:22 pm • Total elapsed time: 3:15
Referee: Bill Stevens • Umpire: Rogers Christma • Linesman: Stephen Prihoda • Line judge: John Farris • Back judge: Charles Gurney • Field judge: Brian Gorman • Side judge: Brian Raines • Center judge: Bob Hubbell •
Temperature: 72 • Wind: INDOORS • Weather:
2020 UIL Conference 6A DI State Championship
Offensive MVP- Cade Klubnik (Westlake)
Defensive MVP- Michael Taaffe (Westlake)
|NET YARDS RUSHING||295||50|
|Average Per Rush||7.2||2.2|
|Yards Gained Rushing||320||65|
|Yards Lost Rushing||25||15|
|NET YARDS PASSING||220||351|
|Average Per Attempt||11.0||9.0|
|Average Per Completion||12.2||15.3|
|TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS||515||401|
|Total offense plays||61||62|
|Average Gain Per Play||8.4||6.5|
|Average Yards Per Punt||27.0||28.0|
|Net Yards Per Punt||27.0||28.0|
|Average Yards Per Kickoff||60.0||59.5|
|Net Yards Per Kickoff||36.8||35.2|
|Fair Catch Yards||0||0|
|Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD||0-0-0||0-0-0|
|Average Per Return||0.0||0.0|
|Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD||1-22-0||1-9-0|
|Average Per Return||22.0||9.0|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD||0-0-0||0-0-0|
|Third-Down Conversions||8 of 10||3 of 9|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 0||2 of 5|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||3-19||2-14|
|Points off turnovers||7||0|
|FUMBLES: Austin Westlake-None. Southlake Carroll-Quinn Ewers 1-1.|
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