In what was called the "Dodge Bowl" among fans and the media, Coach Todd Dodge adds to the Chaparrals' trophy case by bringing home the State Championship for Westlake High School a second time. Westlake was able to hold off the Southlake Carroll Dragons, winning 52-34 and becoming back-to-back State Champions for the first time in school history.
The Texas State Championship game put father and son coaches head to head against each other, and this time dad got the upper hand. Todd faced off against son Riley Dodge Saturday night in one of the most highly anticipated State Championship games in a decade.
Southlake was able to strike first, scoring on a 10 play 3:35 minute drive that was capped off by Owen Allen scoring his 27th touchdown of the season for the Dragons. It didn't take long for the Chaparral's to answer back. Yale commit Zane Minors was able to score on the first possession for Westlake on a 75-yard touchdown run. It the pace for the first half between one of the state's best offenses and a Chaparral defense that only allowed 5.5 points per game to opponents all season.
After Minnesota commit Brady Boyd's 49-yard touchdown reception from former Longhorn commit Quinn Ewers, Southlake was able to take a touchdown lead with 6:24 left in the first quarter. Westlake's Grey Nakfoor was able to even the score on a 39-yard touchdown run making the score tied at 14 to end the first quarter.
Quinn Ewers ⏩ Brady Boyd! #UILState #UILonFSSW https://t.co/IGi7QQdfRk— Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com (@Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com) 1610847047.0
After a Southlake punt, Westlake was able to take the lead. Offensive player of the game, junior quarterback Cade Klubnik, was able to connect with Jaden Greathouse for Greathouse's 13th touchdown of the season for the Chaps. The Dragons answered back in style. After a fourth down conversion to RJ Maryland from Ewers, the Dragons tied the game up with Boyd's second touchdown of the game from 27 yards out. The 21 first-half points were the most points given up on the season—let alone in the first half—from Todd Dodge's team.
There's a reason his name is GREAThouse. Perfect throw from Cade Klubnik, too. #UILState #UILonFSSW https://t.co/YCHHdLgFi1— Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com (@Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com) 1610848282.0
After Cade Klubnik was able to get into the endzone for his 14th rushing touchdown of the season, Micheal Taaffe had the first of his Defensive MVP moments. Taaffe, who had an interception in last year's championship, picked off Quinn Ewers. Westlake ended the season +25 in turnover differential, one of the best in the state. The interception stopped Southlake from taking the lead, keeping the score tied at 21 going into halftime.
EWERS TO BOYD HOW?!?! #UILState #UILonFSSW https://t.co/BZBBNrmmc2— Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com (@Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com) 1610849246.0
The Chaps got the ball to start the second half, and Klubnik picked up where he left off. The junior quarterback rushed for a season-long 44 yards that would set up Grey Nakfoor for his second rushing touchdown of the game from three yards out. On the first Southlake possession, Taaffe made one of the best plays in Westlake history. One second down, Taaffe was able to make a one-handed interception on Ewers. The turnover lead to another score for the Chaparrals making the score 42-21 and all but sealing the game for Coach Todd and his team.
ONE-HANDED INTERCEPTION 😳 @Westlake_Nation DB Michael Taaffe goes full Odell Beckham Jr. for his second INT of the… https://t.co/QHW1YITsrW— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOX Sports Southwest) 1610853139.0
After a third rushing touchdown for Nakfoor, Southlake Carroll was finally able to score with 4:31 left in the game on a ten-yard touchdown catch from Ewers to RJ Maryland to make the score 52-27 after a missed two-point conversion. The score snapped 24 unanswered points scored by Westlake against Southlake. Southlake was able to score one last time on an Owen Allen rushing touchdown to make the final score a more respectable 52-34 win for Westlake.
IT'S OVER! Austin Westlake wins the 6A Division I State Championship! 🏆 #TXHSFB | @uiltexas | #UILonFSSW |… https://t.co/0FB9EhO0nG— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOX Sports Southwest) 1610857460.0
The dueling quarterbacks both ended with great numbers: Offensive MVP Cade Klubnik going 18-20 for 220 yards and a touchdown to pair with 111 yards rushing and two scores, and Quinn Ewers had 351 yards and three touchdowns to go along with two interceptions and a fumble.
For Todd Dodge, the championship marks his sixth title coaching at the 5A/6A level, making his already legendary career a little more special. The win for Westlake made them the first team in school history to win back-to-back state titles and sets them up to be the first team since Allen to try to win three championships in a row at the 5A/6A level ('12-'14). For Coach Riley, Southlake is already projected to win their district next season with the returns they are projected to have. Fans should not be surprised if we are in for a "Dodge Bowl II" next season.
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After a rollercoaster of a season, Texas football ends the season at No. 19 in the AP Polls released Tuesday. The ranking marks the third time in four years that former Head Coach Tom Herman was able to have a Top 25 finish. As Herman's chapter closes, fans are excited about what Coach Steve Sarkisian will bring to the program.
The college football season ended with an absolute offensive explosion by the Alabama Crimson Tide with coach Sarkisian at the helm. Sarkisian was hired at the University of Texas on Jan. 2, the same day that former Head Coach Tom Herman was fired after only four seasons. The Alabama offensive coordinator agreed to the Texas job but finished coaching the title game Monday. Now, Sarkisian is all in at Texas.
ALL THESE PLAYS SARK!!! I WANT THEM ALL! https://t.co/3mIsw7XIvJ— Emmanuel Acho (@Emmanuel Acho) 1610417884.0
Alabama had the No. 1 ranked offense, according to Football Outsiders, a site that tracks advanced stats for college and professional football. The Crimson Tide offense—by almost every metric—was the best offense in college football this season. While part of that was thanks to their Heisman winner wide receiver, it cannot be understated how impressive the National Championship win was for the Tide. Monday was the second time in the Nick Saban Era at Alabama the Tide won the National Championship by 28 or more points (the first was in 2013 against Notre Dame).
All Gas No Brakes 🤘 @CoachSark— Texas Football (@Texas Football) 1610426947.0
After a decisive 55-23 bowl win over Colorado, a Top 25 spot was inevitable. At No. 19 the Longhorns trail fellow Big 12 teams No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 9 Iowa State. Texas A&M finished at No. 4 in the AP Polls as well. This is only the second time since 2010 that the Longhorns finish their season in the Top 20.
Live photo of Coach Steve Sarkisian on the Alabama sideline ready to #Hookem for the Texas Longhorns. https://t.co/sKgAa38MHp— a.g. (@a.g.) 1610425940.0
As the 2020 season comes to a close with the departure of Herman and Ehlinger, fans can hope that this time next year the Texas Longhorns and Head Coach Steve Sarkisian can be back where the coach was tonight: underneath the confetti and bringing Texas back to where it should be.
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For the first time in almost a decade, the Texas Longhorns basketball team started its season 9-1 and 3-0 in conference play with a 84-59 blowout win over No. 3 Iowa State Tuesday. Some fans are wondering, with this early success, what has been the difference between this season and previous ones under Head Coach Shaka Smart?
In a season undermined by a pandemic, a lack of fans and game cancellations, you might think that Texas would struggle out of the gate. Other programs have. But the Longhorns have found success by playing with an edge.
Texas might have had the best college basketball win so far this season when they traveled to Allen Fieldhouse to take on Kansas last Saturday. The 25-point win propelled Texas to No. 4 in the country and has the entire college basketball world looking to Austin and sixth-year coach Smart for clues about the turnaround.
"Results on the court are first and foremost going to be a function of the improvement that players have made," Smart said at this week's press conference. "The ability of the players to be connected around winning and around what goes into winning. I think anytime that you're able to win a significant game that's an indication of that."
Smart attributes the early season success on the court to confidence, defense and chemistry.
The cliche that "confidence is the key to success" applies to Texas this season.
Texas has found a system on offense that relies on trusting their guards to make the right decisions when running the offense and having their big men rebound and set screens.
"Everything is opening up now," 6-foot-10 forward Jericho Sims said. "I think if I get to the rim and make a lot of people collapse on me, then that really opens up the floor for everybody else."
When you watch the Longhorns play, there is a sense of purpose that may have been missing during stretches last season. Sims and freshmen Greg Brown are both in the top 10 for rebounds in the Big 12 and in the top 50 nationally.
Senior guards Matt Coleman and Andrew Jones and junior Country Ramey on the court. (University of Texas Athletics)
The Longhorns have also found confidence in the formidable trio of senior guards Matt Coleman and Andrew Jones and junior Country Ramey. Together, the three upperclassmen have figured out different ways in every game this season to put the Longhorns in situations to win. Only Texas and Saturday's opponent West Virginia have three players averaging more than 13 points this season in the Big 12.
"I think our guys definitely have more confidence and expect to win," Smart said. "Definitely felt that on Saturday (against Kansas), but it's a fine line. What we like to tell the players as coaches: 'Expect to win, but expect to do what goes into winning.'"
"When you have a lead, if you keep the other team from scoring," Smart said, "then you're not going to lose the lead."
Every Shaka Smart team has one thing in common, a defensive philosophy that pressures shooters and doesn't allow driving lanes into the paint. The three most recent players that Texas has sent to the NBA—Jarrett Allen, Mo Bamba and Jaxon Hayes—have been shot blockers and defensive standouts who had to work on their offensive games once they got to the pros.
The Longhorns have kept their opponents shooting under 40% early in the season. The Big 12 can be one of the best conferences week in and week out, with different types of lineups and different defensive looks. Texas has to try to match the energy and intensity of each opponent they face.
"On the defensive end our guys have done a really good job playing with energy," Smart said. "But we also know that that's not a given. It's something that we've got to make sure that we bring. As I tell the guys all the time, it starts with our edge. We have to have an edge about us."
With 10 upperclassmen on the team, it's easy to see how teamwork and experience have created successful chemistry.
"We're a group of guys that really worked on our games over the offseason and really looked to improve and be better as a team," Jones said. "We trust each other, we trust our work and we don't really get down about shot selections that guys take. We just trust each player is going to make the right play."
The team celebrates on the court. (University of Texas Athletics)
The group is connected to each other, a foundation laid when Coach Smart came to Texas.
"You got a group of guys who have really bought into the culture and who we are and want to be," Jones said. "I wouldn't necessarily say it's a culture shift, it's more of our culture finally being noticed and brought to light with our connectivity."
And like so many things, the "confidence, defense and connectivity" that binds this team together can be traced back to another CDC—Chris Del Conte, University of Texas at Austin Athletic Director. Many ADs might have cut bait with Smart, who came from success at mid-major VCU, when he missed the tournament in 2017, or when the Longhorns lost by four to Nevada in the first round. Instead, Del Conte stuck with Smart and fans are starting to see the culture that the Longhorns head coach has been trying to build—and some wished to see the football team reflect this growth. Smart has now outlasted two football coaches and is proving to be worth it.
Who knew that Tom Herman was the one holding back the basketball team too? #HookEm— /r/LonghornNation (@/r/LonghornNation) 1609613357.0
The Longhorns have a tough test Saturday when they take their undefeated conference record to Morgantown to face off against No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers. The game tips off at noon on ESPN.