Stepp's Top 10 TXHSFB Games of 2020: No. 2 - Austin Westlake 24, Galena Park North Shore 21

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Austin Westlake 24, Galena Park North Shore 21

January 9, 2021

Class 6A Division I State Semifinals

Legacy Stadium, Katy

Looking back at the 2020 TXHSFB season, it’s now clear that the two best teams in the state collided in a classic semifinal showdown just west of Houston.

The two defending 6A state champions put on one of the most physical defensive displays you’ll ever see in this day and age of high powered spread offensive attacks, with Westlake stunning the back to back Division I champions and ending the Mustangs 16-game playoff winning streak.

The underdog Chaparrals set the tone early by converting a key third and long situation on their opening drive, which resulted in a 49-yard field goal from Charlie Barnett to take an early 3-0 lead.

Disaster struck North Shore on their opening series when the NSHS RB was hit and fumbled; the ball took a perfect bounce right into the waiting arms of Lucas Mireur, who raced down to the North Shore 14-yard line. Westlake took a 10-0 lead two plays later as QB Cade Klubnik hooked up with Luke Nicklos for a six-yard touchdown pass and the Chaps had stunned the Mustangs less than five minutes into the game.

North Shore showed its big-play ability in the second quarter when QB Dematrius Davis would loft a perfect strike to a streaking David Amador down the sidelines for a 55-yard touchdown on a 3rd and 16.

Later in the quarter, North Shore was stopped on a 4th down at the Westlake 29. On the ensuing possession, which got started with just over two minutes left in the half, Westlake made a huge play on 2nd and 25 as RB Grey Nakfoor ripped off a 45-yard run to change the Westlake strategy from simply trying to run the clock out before halftime to a more aggressive approach. The Chaps offense would reward that change in strategy as Klubnick and Michael Taaffe connected on a slip screen and a 17-yard touchdown pass just under a minute remaining to give the Chaps a 17-7 lead heading into the halftime break.

North Shore’s defense would dominate in the third quarter, but the Mustangs offense for most of the third quarter was unable to get anything going. On the one drive where North Shore had moved inside the Westlake 40, the Chaps defense came up with a key interception to end the North Shore threat.

With just under two minutes left in the third quarter, North Shore was able seize momentum as Davis would break off a 50-yard touchdown run to cut the Westlake lead to 17-14.

After forcing another Westlake punt early in the fourth quarter, North Shore would put together an impressive 15-play, 84 yard drive to take their first lead of the game on a nine-yard touchdown run from Xavier Owens to put the Mustangs up 21-17 with 4:16 remaining.

A 48-yard run from Shadrach Banks and a 3rd and 13 conversion pass from Davis to Amador were key plays to ignite the North Shore rally.

Westlake, who had not had a first down in the entire second half, got their biggest play of the season as Klubnik launched a beautiful 47-yard pass to Taaffe, who despite tremendous coverage, made an incredible leaping catch over the North Shore DB to set up the Chaps with a first and goal at the 10.

It took four plays for the Chaps to take the lead, but on fourth and goal at the one, Klubnik on a perfect zone read play would walk into the end zone to give Westlake the 24-21 lead with 1:43 left in the game.

North Shore had two timeouts and a chance to rally, but Banks was stopped short of the first down on a 4th down attempt to give Westlake the thrilling win and a trip to the state title game.

 

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