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Tag: Maroons Football

Austin Makes Valiant Effort, Westlake Continues Winning Streak

Friday night, a decades-long hometown rivalry was rekindled as the Austin High Maroons took on the Westlake Chaparrals. The student sections were jammed packed with loyal fans who tirelessly cheered on their team. The unyielding support compelled both teams to play with more energy and vigor. This game was one for the books and even broke records as Westlake’s senior wide receiver Mason Mangum became the all time receiving leader in Westlake football history. 

Westlake came into this game with 32 consecutive winning seasons as well as  a 21-2 record against Austin High dating back to 1994 and were the favorites in this matchup. Though the odds were against them, Austin High looked to put up a fight and turn the tides.Ultimately it was not enough as Westlake overpowered Austin winning 63-8 and pushing the all time record to 22-2. Putting Westlake in a comfortable 5-0 position, they look like division favorites this year. 

Austin High received the ball to start the game, coming off a good win against Lehman they looked to carry the momentum onward. Westlake quickly shut that down forcing the Maroons backward into a 4th & 20. The Maroons came out in punt formation. Westlake surged through the left side of the formation allowing senior wide receiver Ryan Lindley and junior defensive back Lucas Miruer to get a hand on the ball ultimately blocking the punt.

Starting on Austin’s 10-yard line senior quarterback Kirkland Michaux scored on Westlake’s first play from scrimmage. Kirkland ran the ball in on a 10 yard quarterback keeper putting the first points on the board. In this game Kirkland was one of four quarterbacks who played for Westlake Highschool.

Austin jumped out to a better start on their second drive after picking up a first down, however they were soon confronted by a problem that lingered throughout the game. Pass protection. Austin simply could not handle Westlake’s pass rush as quarterback Charles Wright was in constant duress. On that drive, Charles was sacked by senior defensive end Bobby Duncum to ultimately end the drive.

Starting on Austin’s 44, Westlake hoped to repeat their last drive that ended in a touchdown. This time Austin’s defense was a little bit stiffer as they forced Westlake into multiple third downs. Stoping the Westlake offense on the last two downs, Austin forced them into a 3rd & 2 situation from about the 16. Needing the first down, Westlake running back Grey Nakfoor took it straight up the middle resulting in Westlake’s second touchdown.

This game was truly a battle in the trenches. It was decided by which team was going to be more aggressive upfront and put the other team in a bad situation. At times Austin High was able to do that, but ultimately Westlake won the battle in the trenches. Their offensive line provided clean pockets as well as running lanes. This was the true defining factor of the game.

Throughout the first half Austin was not able to sustain any drives giving Westlake multiple opportunities to score. Westlake did just that, scoring over 40 points in the first half, including a 29-yard touchdown pass from Kirkland Michaux to Mason Mangum and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kirkland to Ryan Lindley. After a sack by Austin High’s Abrion Boudreaux, Westlake quarterback Drew Willoughby threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Jaden Greathouse. 

Heading into halftime Austin needed to change something, while Westlake was focused on preserving their lead. Westlake took their foot off the pedal in the second half as they ran a slower-paced offense and were more conservative. On the flip side, Austin came out firing hoping for redemption or just something to build on. 

Austin’s offense and defense played much better in the second half, though it was not enough to reclaim the lead, it was a valiant effort. 

After having multiple drives that stalled out on 4th down, Austin needed to make a play and they did just that. Set up nicely by a PI call Austin hiked the ball from Westlake’s 26 yard line. On the right sideline senior wide receiver Colby Kalbacher went deep on a fade route with a money pass from Charles Wright. Austin had scored their first touchdown. Austin went on to get the two point conversion. This meant that Austin scored more points against Westlake than any other team this season. 

Offensively, Westlake quieted down but Austin High middle linebacker Everett Butler did not. Butler went sideline to sideline making tackles and blocking passes. Butler was the highlight of the Austin High defense, along with defensive lineman Abrion Boudreaux.

That was not say that Westlake did not make defensive plays in their own right, as demonstrated by senior free safety Sage Luther’s interception to set the Chaps up in great field position.

Westlake’s offense was looking to run the clock out when all of the sudden Chaps running back Zane Minors burst through the middle of the field for a 76-yard touchdown run, he took off and never stopped.

“Great early field position and good pass rush”, is what Westlake head coach Todd Dodge attributed to this victory over Austin High.
When asked what area of the team he is most focused on improving, Dodge said, “I’m most looking forward to improving our running game on offense.”

“I will continue to use all three QB’s. Together they lead the greater Austin area in passing yards, TD passes and completion percentage. Stats aren’t important but production is. They have all been productive”, Dodge answered when questioned about his multi-quarterback strategy.

It was a great game played in historic House Park. Westlake, heavily favored coming in, came out with a win but the Maroons put up a good fight. The Maroons have another tough matchup against the Lake Travis Cavaliers this week while Westlake has a favorable matchup against the Lehman Lobos.

Maroon’s chew up Cougars

The sun sets in Pflugerville, the lights of the Pfield Stadium come on. You can hear the marching bands warming up and the counting off of the drill team. Welcome to Texas high school football. The Austin High Maroons and the Connally Cougars are about to run through the tunnels and take the field in their first official game of the 2019/20 high school football season.
The crowds in attendance were treated to a high scoring shootout that was neck and neck up until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The Austin Maroons claimed victory over the Connally Cougars 51-49.

Austin receives the ball to start the half. The Maroons were given the opportunity to test this Cougars defense staring corner-back Jahdae Barron, a senior ranked 57 in TX, with a hard commit to Baylor. Both offenses were off to a slow start with Austin scoring on only one of their four red-zone trips. Connally was not having much luck either as they were not able to establish a passing game over the middle which allowed Austin to bring more pressure and cover the boundary side of the field. Lead by Head Coach Jason Cecil, Connally entered halftime with a 14-7 lead. 

Both defenses played well in the first half with Austin forcing two interceptions and Connally forcing an interception and fumble.
Both teams had improvements to make. Cougars passing attack left much to be desired, especially in the middle of the field. On the flip side, Austin had a problem with pass protection as the Connally Defensive Lineman could not be stopped. The Maroons solved this problem by changing up their blocking scheme as well as their personnel.

After halftime, the whole attitude of the Maroons team changed, it may have been Mike Rosenthal’s pep talk, the coaching adjustments or a mix of both. After a disappointing 1st half the Austin High Maroons came out firing scoring 30 points just in the third quarter. Everything looked much better, the pass protection was on point as well as the passing game which totaled 331 yards. What stood out was Austin’s running game led by senior Grayson Davis. With 222 rushing yards on 23 carries which amounts to an average of 9.65 yards a carry, Davis’s running game was truly spectacular, add on two touchdowns and Grayson Davis had a game.

Junior Quarterback Charles Wright did not let the pressure affect him as he threw for 331 yards as well as four touchdowns. Junior Receiver Nick Anderson stepped up in a big way making a 40+ yard catch on the first drive of the second half. He only improved from there posting five catches for 147 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

Scoring point after point the Austin High offense was unstoppable in a race against the Cougars offense who would not go down without a fight. Though Bernard Riley’s defense allowed 49 points, when it was imperative that the defense hold the offense – they held them. An example is when Connally went for a two point conversion late in the third quarter, Junior Quarterback Darius McGrew was stripped of the ball ultimately ending the two point conversion try and sustaining the Austin lead; this was one of many defensive stops by Austin’s defense.

I attribute the Austin High Maroons second half offensive success to the coaching staff specifically Offensive Coordinator Aaron Vanecek as well as both Offensive Line coaches Mike Rosenthal and Neil Abbott. 
“Biggest difference from last year is that this group listens to coaching and they want to improve.  They are buying into what we are teaching and they are making the adjustments. It is early in the season, but I am excited each week to get on the practice field and improve”, said Head Coach Michael Rosenthal. 

The Austin High Maroons carried their preseason momentum into the regular season clinching the win over Connally in an exciting matchup. Watch out Westwood the Maroons are coming.