Varsity Football Suffers Loss in Round 1 Playoffs Against the Rattlers

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  • Varsity football lines up during the national anthem for their last time of the 2017 season.

  • Dylan Frazier ’18 jumps in celebration with Coach Jeff Wilkerson after a touchdown.

  • Dylan Frazier ’18 runs the ball into the end zone.

  • Cam Thomas ’28 jumps in the end zone to catch the ball above a Rattler.

  • Dylan Frazier ’18 and Ryan Lindley ’18 celebrate after Fraziers touchdown.

  • Defensive players celebrate with Luca Mazzola ’19 after his interception.

  • Cameron Thomas ’18 celebrates after scoring his touchdown.

  • Jaikem Murphy ’18 runs past San Marcos defenders.

  • Quarterback Wil Jennings ’18 hands the ball off to Mario Debs ’19.

  • Offensive line holds up quarterback Will Jennings ’18 for the last time.

  • The Warriors break through the flag as they run onto the field to start the second half.

  • Ryan Lindley ’20 looks to the sideline before the play begins.

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After making playoffs for the first time in three years, the Warrior varsity football team faced off against the San Marcos Rattlers, but left the field with a heart aching loss of 64-50. Devoted students, parents, and faculty drove an hour to the Rattler Stadium, and covered the stands in burnt orange to watch their players fight a battle that will be remembered forever. This was not a loss in the eyes of every Warrior at Westwood — each player fought with all their heart and love for football and achieved greatness in this 2017 season.

Within the first three minutes of the game, the Warriors scored two touchdowns. Their first play after kickoff excelled the team down the field with a pass to wide receiver Matt Pravednikov ‘19. Soon after, only 11:05 on the clock, wide receiver Dylan Frazier ‘18 carried the ball into the end and a two-point conversion was completed by quarterback Will Jennings ‘18 (8-0). Upon Kaeden Roberts ‘18 kickoff, Nathan Potter ‘20 recovered the ball touched by the Rattlers return team and put the Warriors back on offense. Jennings threw a 30-yard pass to Ryan Lindley ‘20 who scored a touchdown and put the Warriors up 15-0 with an extra point by Roberts. Immediately on defense, Chad Dixon ‘18 tackled a receiving player for an incomplete pass. Their helmets clashed for the whole stadium to hear, and put the fans on their feet for the aggressive play. The team collectively tackled a running back in the middle to push him behind the line of scrimmage, the whistle the only thing stopping the Rattlers from losing more yards. Running back Jaikem Murphy ‘18 advanced through the Rattler’s defensive line for an 11-yard gain, then once more for 20 yards that landed them on the 8-yard line. With only four minutes left in the first quarter, Pravendikov caught the ball in the end zone with four defensive Rattlers surrounding him. Receiver Cameron Thomas ‘18 showed the first sign of victory as he threw his arms in the air (22-0). The defense proved undefeatable as they held the Rattlers and gave offense a chance to score again. The Warriors ended the quarter fourth and eight and only seven yards till goal (22-0).

To start the second quarter, Jennings ‘18 sprinted past the goal line and placed the team 29 points ahead. However 15 seconds later, the Rattlers finally got on the board and put the score 29-7. Players like Zach Hoover ‘19 who stopped a 20-yard run, Reed Harrington ‘18 who prevented the offense from gaining any yards, and Ethan Brown ‘19 who caught up to a running back and tackled him into the sideline, all demonstrated a resilient defense that could not be stopped. 7:50 on the clock and Luca Mazzola ‘19 caught an interception on the opposite 27-yard line that made the team yell in excitement, all proud of what he did. Five minutes left in the half and the Rattlers scored a touchdown (29-14). Murphy passed through the defense for gain of 15, an aggressive play the team needed to get back on track now only three minutes left. Fourth down and old one yard to go, Murphy flipped over the line to gain an excellent two yards. A pass to Thomas in the endzone was completed even with a defender jumping directly in front of him. Thomas caught the ball by reaching around the player in front of him (36-14). After, Sam Zientek ‘18 hurled a running back to the ground for no gain of yards. 00:11 now on the clock, the Rattler’s quarterback fumbled the ball and chased after it as it rolled 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage. A personal foul on the offense put them back even further and ended the half 36-14.

“We started off amazing,” Thomas said. “Everything was working for us offensively, defensively, and even on special teams. We dominated them the first half.”

The Warriors started the second half with kickoff, but Will Clitheroe ‘19 quickly scooped the ball from the receiving Rattlers with only 39 yards until goal. Following this, Reese Green ‘18 spoke to his teammates on the sideline telling them, “this is all we’ve been waiting for.” The Warriors went for a field goal after resting on the nine-yard line but is missed by Roberts. On defense, Roshan Mara ‘18 quickly lunged and tackled a Rattler running back. Seven minutes left in the third, the Rattlers score a touchdown and finish with a two-point conversion (36-22). Their kick-off was returned by Thomas who ran 85 yards for a touchdown. He easily cut across the field and escaped the reach of every player who chased him (43-22). Upon our kick-off, the Rattlers caught and carried the ball to the goal line (43-29). The Rattlers recovered a fumble shortly after their touchdown and were 24 yards from goal. They achieved a successful play and score again (43-36). Even after hard-fought defense the Rattlers pushed for a touchdown to tie the score 43-43 and only three minutes left. Frazier received a 54-yard touchdown pass and lead the Warriors exactly where they needed to be (50-43). 20 seconds after, the Rattlers caught up to tie the score again 50-50. Jennings, Lindley, and Thomas aided the team in excellent placement with 24 yards until goal for the fourth quarter as they ended the third 50-50.

“I wouldn’t say anything went wrong,” coach Anthony Wood said. “They have a quarterback that we knew was going to be tough to play, but we could move the football. It was just a really good football game the entire time.”

Mario Debs ‘19 found a hole in the defensive line and ran through for nine yards and helped the Warriors get only 14 yards until goal. They reached fourth and four, but were unable to complete the play. 8:47 and the Rattlers scored a touchdown to put them in the lead for the first time in the game, 57-50. The Warrior offense surpassed the defense until they caught an interception only 14 yards until the Warrior’s goal. The Rattler scored a touchdown with six minutes to go (64-50). Defense worked hard to contain the offense and the teams went back and forth for possession. The Warriors came close to scoring with a minute left in the half but the Rattler defense held them tight and ended the game 64-50.

Friday night was the 2018 seniors’ last high school football game. The players stood in tears for the school song and ended by hugging one another and the people who came to support them. When asked about their season and football career at Westwood, these are what some of the boys said:

Dylan Frazier: “I would just like to say thank you to everyone who came to our games, listened to them, and watched them. All of the parents that helped on the side when no one was looking, y’all are amazing and we appreciated it so much. Every student that came to our games, thank you, it means a lot having someone cheer you on doing what you love.”

Reid Carrier: “Even though my football career ended early, it was hard to watch my friends who I have been playing football with since middle school, high school football careers end. We have all worked hard but things must come to an end. Working with coach wood has been a really great experience because he always has a scheme to win and puts his players in the right position to be successful. He is also a very competitive person and will do anything to win.”

Roshan Mara: “I’m sad knowing that I’ll never play high school football again because it was a huge part of my life for the past four years. I’m definitely going to miss it, but the memories and relationships I’ve made along the way are going to last forever. To all the fans who came out to our games, I just want to say thanks for making this last season memorable. We really appreciate y’all supporting us every week, win or lose.”

Riley Dale: “My favorite memory was winning the Round Rock game. It was a roller coaster of emotions and to come back the way we did was just amazing. I will never forget it.”

Jaikem Murphy: “I’m really upset about ending the game against San Marcos the way it did, especially since I had to sit the last half of it out, but I was so proud of what my teammates and I accomplished this year.”

Cameron Thomas: “High school football was a great experience for me. I was happy to play my last year with Westwood. Our team is one big family and playing football with these guys will be unforgettable. It’s also been a blessing working with coach Wood. He’s my favorite and best coach that I have ever been around.”

Hayden Barrow: “It’s bitter sweet. I was part of something great and now I can relax, but football was the biggest thing in my life aside from family so it burns to have it gone. My favorite moment was when my buddy Steven Rios got in the game and got a tackle — no one here worked harder than him and he really deserved it.”

Sam Zientek: “We were really good at having fun and making each other laugh, so it was sad coming to an end, but I think we were more happy that we got to experience this with each other.”