STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
WACO — If you hadn’t seen it, you wouldn’t have believed it.
A&M Consolidated High School’s Tigers turned over the ball nine times, which heavily contributed to a shocking 45-2 defeat at the hands of the Austin Westlake Chaparrals.
The game was played in “very cool conditions,” made more so by a blustery north wind Friday afternoon at Waco ISD Stadium.
The Area playoff game wrote finish to Consolidated’s season, while the Chaparrals, who lost to Consol earlier this season in non-district action, continue on in the playoffs, facing tonight’s (Saturday) winner of the Longview-Dallas Jesuit game.
The Tigers, who had earlier beaten Westlake, were no match for the Chaps this time around. Westlake, which had only one turnover (a fumble), came out snortin’ fire and brimstone with nearly everything going right for the Austin club. Crisp blocking and a fast-charging defense, which seemed to always be in the right place at the right time, virtually kept the lid on the Tigers throughout the afternoon.
Conversely, the Tigers could seem to do very little right. Contributing to their woes were four lost fumbles, two blocked kicks, an another abortive punt attempt when the kicker couldn’t find the handle on the ball, two interceptions and other “assorted illnesses” while trying to execute plays.
One of the few bright spots for the Tigers came on a Westlake inability to get a punt off, resulting in the ball rolling into and out of the end zone for a safety. That came with 6:43 remaining in the first half. Surprisingly those were the Tigers’ only two points.
Consol, tri-champions of District 14-5A, had beaten the Chaps 35-17, but had trailed going into the fourth quarter, in their earlier meeting. Still, that early-season comeback ability failed to serve the Tigers well in this debacle.
This game was a strange one, in addition to the Consol turnovers and a breakdown in special teams play. For instance, in the first half, the Tigers had only five first downs and 15 rushing plays which resulted in a minus-nine yards. Westlake during the first half, had only three first downs despite a lead of 24-2.
Consol finishes the season with a 9-3 record, while Westlake of District 15-5A continues with an 8-4 mark.
Weston Garner got the starting call at quarterback for Coach David Raffield’s Tigers. Jaylan Cheshire returned to some action at QB early in the second quarter, first time he had seen action since an injury sidelined him earlier in the season. Gus Miller, who returns for another season, also saw extensive action at the QB position.
Virtually all of the Tiger turnovers led to Westlake points, not what the Tigers had envisioned while preparing for this Area playoff game.
After Consol received, the Tigers couldn’t mount any offense and had to punt. That resulted in the first turnover when the kicker failed to control the snap with Westlake’s getting the ball at the Tiger 20. Keith Carter roared 20 yards for the first score, and the race was on. He fumbled into the end zone, but a teammate jumped onto the ball. Kick was good and Westlake was in front 7-0 on its initial possession.
Next came a blocked Consol punt at the Tiger 20. A holding penalty shoved the Chaps back 10 yards. Carter ran for five. On fourth-and-one at the 11, Michael Bardin booted a 28-yard field goal, putting Westlake up 10-0 with 3:09 to go in the first period.
Another punting situation breakdown put Westlake in business again. Quarterback Jordan Severt ran for seven yards early in the second quarter, making it 16-0. Bardin’s kick made it 17-0.
Consol cut it to 17-2 with the safety when the ball was not controlled during a punt setup.
Westlake led at halftime 24-2 on strength of a one-yard run by Carter and Bardin’s extra-point kick.
Consol failed to aid its cause with two fumbles on the Tigers’ first two possessions of the second half. Both led to scores. The first score came at the 10:34 mark of the third quarter. Bardin kicked the point and it was 31-2.
The second one off the fumble turnover came when Alex Chavez got the final yard with 6:48 left in the period. Bardin again booted the point, putting the count at 38-2.
Westlake’s final touchdown came after another Consol fumble at the Chap 43. The nine-play, 57-yard drive ended with a scoring toss from Severt to Zack Dansby. It was the third touchdown of the third period.
Bardin’s 48-yard field goal attempt went wide to the left later in the final quarter.
Fifty-four Consolidated seniors ended their football careers Friday.