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AUSTIN, Texas – The Battle of the Lakes arrived Friday night.
Two of the most accomplished and recognized teams in the State of Texas squared off in and did not disappoint. Westlake was led by junior quarterback and Texas commit Sam Ehlinger. Southlake Carroll was led by four-star running back recruit Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
Big names, Big schools, Big-time football.
Austin Westlake would win 20-14, handing Carroll its first regular season loss in two years, but not without plenty of drama in the fourth quarter.
Ehlinger got the Chapparels on the scoreboard first with a TD pass to senior running back Canaan Clark-Bateman to give Westlake a rapid 7-0 lead midway through the first. To start the second quarter, Ehlinger bulldozed his way to a 2-yard touchdown to open up the lead and some eyes as Westlake went up 14-0 on the Dragons.
After forcing a punt midway through the second quarter, Humphrey caught a 15-yard out pattern and then followed by putting his 6-6, 200-pound frame on display by muscling his way through the defense and into the end zone to cut the lead to 14-7.
Late in the second quarter, the Ehlinger-Chase Cokley combination came to life as the two connected on a 30-yard fade then another deep pass to Cokley, who wiggled his way into the end zone. That closed the scoring in the first half with Westlake leading 20-7.
The Dragons opened their first drive of the second half with a few good runs by QB Montana Murphy and benefitted from some penalties to inch closer to the goal line. Humphrey took the handoff and leapt over Westlake’s front four to give the Dragons the score and his second touchdown of the night to cut the lead to 20-14 with 5:23 left in the third.
In the fourth quarter, Carroll had its chances. After reaching the red zone following a 39-yard run by Humphrey, the Dragons lost their momentum thanks to a pair of penalties and a wasted timeout and attempted a field goal that was missed. After forcing a three-and-out by Westlake, Carroll put a drive together — including a fourth-and-4 conversion by Humphrey.
With about 16 seconds left on the clock, Murphy dropped back for a deep ball but can not find an open receiver. He scrambled to his left to where it looked like he will be stopped but somehow the senior slipped three tackles and threw a prayer in the air. Humphrey seemingly appeared out of nowhere to leap and made the catch to put the Dragons inside the 10.
The Dragons realized they had no timeouts and had to spike the football. Murphy finally assembled his players and spiked with eight seconds left. Murphy threw his first pass away, leaving five seconds remaining.
From the 9-yard-line, Murphy lined up in the shotgun formation with Humphrey isolated wide left in man-to-man coverage. It was obvious where the Dragons were trying to go.
Murphy dropped back and threw to the corner of the end zone with confidence. The ball touched Humphreys hands but the senior standout could not hold on.
“The last time I checked, you play preseason games to get ready for district,” said coach Hal Wasson. “We don’t make excuses, we know we have some growing to do. … Adversity will beat you or you will beat adversity.”
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