For the second time in as many seasons, the Westlake Chaparrals dealt the Hays Rebels a sobering reality check.
Five total touchdowns from Chaparral quarterback Kirkland Micheaux fueled Westlake’s 65-7 rout over the Rebels Friday, dropping Hays into third place in 25-6A with only two games left. It also marked the second straight year Westlake (7-1, 5-1) brought Hays’ (7-1, 5-1) seven-game win streak to a screeching halt.
For Hays head coach Les Goad, questions on how his program responds to adversity will be answered when they take on state-ranked powerhouse Lake Travis Friday.
“We have to understand the next game is the most important game. All we can do is to go forward and get better at what we do,” Goad said. “We have to learn from our mistakes and get better at what we do.”
It was a pair of early Rebel miscues that provided Westlake momentum from the get-go.
Westlake quickly took a 7-0 first quarter lead when Michaux tossed a four-yard touchdown to wide receiver Mason Mangum that was made possible by a blocked punt. An errant snap on a punt attempt on Hays’ next drive turned into a safety, giving the Chaps a 9-0 lead.
Goad felt his team pressed in the early going, but said self-inflicted wounds were a primary source of troubles. However, Goad also said they have to “take our hats off to the program Westlake is at the moment.”
The Chap lead grew to 23-0 early in the second frame via two more touchdown passes by Micheaux who went 15 of 22 for 275 yards and four touchdowns passing, while also rushing for 17 yards on seven carries and a score. Westlake running back Zane Minors ran for 80 yards on eight carries and finished with two scores.
Hays orchestrated its lone response in the second frame via an eight play, 66-yard drive capped off by a seven-yard touchdown run by quarterback Durand Hill.
But a formidable Westlake defense rendered Hays’ Slot-T attack null and void for most of the contest. Hays was limited to 117 total yards of offense, 89 of those yards on the ground.
Hill led all rushers with 54 yards on nine carries and a score, while Rebel running back Xavier Green rushed for 50 yards on 11 carries.
Goad said Hays’ offensive line needed to “play a different level of leverage” against teams as physical as Westlake’s defense. Hays’ line struggled to prevent larger Chaparral defenders from penetrating the backfield and disrupting the flow of plays. While there was some success, Goad said Hays was unable to sustain it in the ball game.
Meanwhile, Westlake’s high-powered attack tallied 35 more unanswered points in the final 30-plus minutes of the contest. The Chaparrals scored on nine of their 10 total possessions of the game.
“They’re very talented. There’s no question about that. Anyone who sees what they do, you can see that,” Goad said. “We’ve got to establish things (on offense) and try to figure out a way to be more successful against them.”
Preparation is now the key for Hays as the team prepares for the second of three games that could define where their postseason path lies. By virtue of a Bowie loss to Austin High Friday, Hays essentially locked up a playoff berth and will join Lake Travis in the 6A, Division I playoff bracket. Yet to be determined, however, is who takes the top seed out of 25-6A, which could mean avoiding Converse Judson and perhaps even Schertz Clemens in the opening round.
“I apologized to our team for not having them more prepared than they were (against Westlake),” Goad said. “I’ll try to get better at that.”
Hays travels to play at Lake Travis Friday at 7:30 p.m.