Westlake upsets North Shore to earn a spot in the 6A Division 1 State Championship
Photo Credit: Austin American Statesman (Stephen Spillman)
KATY, TEXAS— The Texas 6A Division 1 state playoffs is arguably not only the most competitive playoff bracket in the state, but the entire country. North Shore and Austin Westlake are both a big reason why it is so competitive every year. The North Shore Mustangs are the back-to-back defending state champion in 6A D1, and are led by quarterback and Auburn signee, Dematrius Davis, and wide receiver and Texas A&M signee, Shadrach Banks. The Mustangs came into Saturday’s semifinal game ranked as the number-1 team in Texas, and the number-2 team in the country according to MaxPreps. However, Westlake was not far behind. The Chaparrals are ranked as the number-4 team in the state, and the 10th ranked team in the country. Westlake embraced the underdog title many people had given them throughout the week before the state semifinal game; it gave them a chip on their shoulder, and they carried it throughout the whole game.
Westlake started the game with the ball, and were able to march down the field right from their first possession. The North Shore defense wouldn’t allow them to get in the end zone. So the Chaparrals attempted a 48-yard field goal, made it, and took a 3-0 lead. Once North Shore started their first offensive possession, Rashaad Johnson fumbled the football, Lucas Mireur was able to scoop up it up for Westlake, and he returned it to the North Shore 14-yard line. Westlake quarterback, Cade Klubnik, and the offense took advantage of the great field position. Klubnik was able to find Luke Nicklos in the end zone for a touchdown, and the Chaparrals took an early 10-0 lead (PAT good). After North Shore was forced to punt, and Klubnik completed two first down passes to their own 28-yard line, the first quarter ended with Westlake in the lead 10-0.
North Shore started the second quarter off strong after forcing a Westlake punt. Dematrius Davis was able to find David Amadora on 3rd down and 16 for a 55-yard touchdown to make the score 10-7 (PAT good). Both teams’ defenses came alive, as they kept the offenses to a minimum, and forced turnovers. The Westlake offense was first to break through, as running back, Grey Nakfoor, found room to run on 2nd and 25, and ran for a 40-yard gain to the North Shore 41-yard line. Klubnik took over from there, as he was able to find Michael Taafe, and Taafe ran in the end zone for a touchdown to make the score 17-7 (PAT good). After Dematrius Davis threw an interception, which was intercepted by Christian Fournier, Westlake went into halftime with a 17-7 lead.
The North Shore offense started the second half off with a rhythm, as the Mustangs ran their way down the field to the Westlake 39-yard line. However, another pass from Davis was intercepted, this time by Carter Barksdale, and the Chaparrals took over at their own 28. But Westlake couldn’t take advantage, and was forced to punt. North Shore went back to work after having to punt once again. Dematrius Davis was able to find room to run, break tackles, and run in the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown to bring the Mustangs within one score of taking the lead. Westlake was forced to punt forced to punt on their next possession, and the third quarter ended with Westlake still in the lead and the score 17-14.
Both teams started the fourth quarter off with punts. But Shadrach Banks was able to run for a 48-yard gain to the Westlake 36-yard line on North Shore’s next possession. After Dematrius Davis and the Mustangs were able to get to the Westlake 10-yard line, Xavier Owens Jr. capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, and North Shore took their first lead of the game.
Westlake likely had one more chance to take back the lead. Running back, Zane Minors, was able to convert for a 1st down on 2nd down and 2 to their own 43-yard line. Klubnik then showed off his arm, as he found Michael Taafe at the North Shore 10-yard line. After Minors bounced off blockers and ran to the 1-yard line, Klubnik ran into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown, and gave Westlake a 24-21 lead.
Westlake had to stop North Shore one more time in order to win the game, and move onto the 6A D1 state championship. The Chaparral defense played with intensity, as they sacked Dematrius Davis for a loss of 11 yards to bring up 2nd down and 25. Westlake was able to bring up 4th down and 19, and North Shore had no choice but to go for it. Davis was able to find Shadrach Banks on 4th down. After Banks dove for a first down, he came up a yard short, and the Mustangs were forced to turn the ball over. Westlake ran the clock out, secured the win, and punched their ticket to the 6A D1 state championship.
The Westlake Chaparrals continue their perfect season, as they improve to 13-0. The Chaparrals will take on the Southlake Carroll Dragons next week on Saturday, January 16th, at 8 PM ET for the 6A state championship. North Shore ends their season with a record of 14-1. The Mustangs will likely end the season as not only one of the top teams in Texas, but the entire country.