Guyer gave Westlake all he could handle in a three-quarter game on Saturday night in the 6A Division II state title game.
But in the end, Jaden Greathouse and Westlake defensive line proved too much for the Wildcats to manage as they confirmed that Westlake head coach Todd Dodge would end his career as champion.
Greathouse set a UIL state championship game record with 236 receiving yards, while Chappell Defense finished with nine sacks, including three defensive MVP Colton Vasek’s move away from Denton Gear for a 40-21 win over Westlake.
With the win, Dodge, who announced his impending retirement in July, will retire at the top of the Texas High School football world with his seventh state title as head coach.
His players say they are happy to retire their head coach with a title.
“It’s great,” said Westlake defender Carter Berksdale. “Once I got into high school and I got to know Coach Dodge better, I fell in love with what this Guyer knows. Helping this Guyer go to threesome means the world to all our players.
Dodge says this team of players was special to him.
“It’s been a year-long process,” Dodge said. “Right after I told the team in the summer, center Jacques Crawl said, ‘Coach, you’re like a member of the senior class. We’re all going out together.’ And we’ve enjoyed it. We love playing football. These teams love each other. They’ve just made history. They’re in the rare air in the history of Texas state in big-school football. For that, I’m so proud of them.
On the other side of the field, Guyer’s head coach Rodney Webb says his team has come to win, and he is proud of how his team can handle Westlake in the first half.
“We are on the field tonight to win; We’ve been talking adventure all week, Webb said. “We said, ‘We have to deal with the storm.’ In 15 games, there was a tough spot in the first half where it was exposed to Westlake’s opponents. It is not revealed to us tonight. We stopped there and we dealt with the storm. There was another storm, though it hit us in the third trimester and we couldn’t get over it.
Will Magidus blocked a gear punt and returned it for a touchdown within 90 seconds of the game, making Westlake look like it was going to roll early.
However, Guyer did not panic and quickly rose to the game as Guyer’s quarterback Jackson responded by leading the Arnold Wildcats to a 63-yard drive which he ended with a 15-yard touchdown run. Webb says his team responded to his initial misfortune in exactly the way he expected them to.
“We’ve been resilient all year,” Webb said. “I like our sideline behavior after blocked punt. It was a wave in the water, and we just kept moving. I’m really proud that just a few minutes later we were 7-6 up.
And although Westlake quarterback Cade Klubnik went back to the front with a 62-yard touchdown pass from Great House, Guerre was again unprepared as Arnold connected nine-yards diagonally with Jess Wilson just three minutes later to take the lead.
Guyerer held a 14-13 lead until halftime. But despite falling behind in a game for the first time in the entire season, the Great House said the Westlake locker room was built at intervals.
“When we were in the locker room, all our teammates and coaches, we weren’t worried,” Greathouse said. “We were all there together just supporting each other and telling each other that the second half was going to be different because we knew we weren’t playing the way we were supposed to.
As the third quarter began, the parties continued trading. Klubnik connected with a wide open Bryce Chambers for a 15-yard score in just 100 seconds in the second half, but Guyerer punched right through a six-yard, hard-nosed touchdown run through a 9-play, 75-yard drive. By Arnold.
However, after all the explosive drama, Westlake kicker Charlie Burnett came up with a backbreaker for the night. Facing the fourth down at Guyer 36, Westlake considered ponting but, after a wildcat timeout, Dodge trotted out Barnett instead of a 53-yard field goal.
“To be honest with you, we were going to push it right there,” Dodge said. “Suddenly, they called a timeout, and we changed our minds and we said, ‘Charlie, let’s roll.’ And Charlie popped it up with a lot left. ”
That 53-yard field goal, the longest in the history of the UIL State title game, gave Westlake a 23-21 lead and was a 20-0 start for Westlake.
Within the next 15 minutes of the game, Klubnik delivered two deep bombs to the Great House for a touchdown of 69 and 71 yards when Mark Saeg kicked a late field goal to bury any hope of Geyer’s return.
Klubnick finished the night with 280 yard passes and four touchdowns, breaking Westlake High School’s all-time career passing yard record. Dodge said Klubnick, a Clemson Promise, has been a special leader for the Chaparrals for the past two years.
“He refuses to have bad days,” Dodge said. “The thing that I will always respect about Cad is that he has received a lot of praise personally and never once did he stop it because of his love for his team and his team leadership.”
Klubnick was not the only quarterback to impress on Saturday night as Arnold threw a touchdown for 183 yards and a touchdown, while he ran for two touchdowns in 56 yards and 32 carry. Two years ago, Guerrero was pushed into the new state title game against Westlake after suffering an early quarterback injury. On Saturday night, he said he was proud that his team had come back even though it was not a winner.
“We’ve worked for this year,” Arnold said. “Every time we split up as a team, it was, ‘State champions in three,’ so getting back into this game meant everything.
And as Dodge’s football family sent him to Sunset with a 16-0 record and seventh state title, he said he was ready to trade his ‘coach’ title for a new one in the next chapter of his life.
“I have three beautiful grandchildren in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Dodge said. “I want to be a dad for a while. I want to spend time with them.