ARLINGTON — For three quarters, it looked as though the Class 6A Division II championship would come down to the wire.
For three quarters, Guyer countered everything Austin Westlake dished out with haymakers of its own, but toward the end of the third, everything seemingly unraveled for the Wildcats (14-2) in a 40-21 loss.
Despite falling behind on a blocked punt returned for a score after its first possession, the Wildcats weathered every storm they saw.
“[Westlake] had put everybody in a difficult situation that they played in 15 games,” coach Rodney Webb said. “Fifteen games, there was a difficult spot in the first half where it unraveled for the opponent — we did not let it unravel for us.”
It took a couple of drives after falling behind 6-0, but Guyer found its legs thanks to Jackson Arnold and took a 7-6 lead midway through the first.
Later in the first, Westlake (16-0) went deep to offensive MVP Jaden Greathouse to regain the lead at 13-6, but again Guyer found a way to respond and take a 14-13 lead.
The teams played close through the remainder of the half and most of the third quarter until the tide completely flipped in Westlake’s favor.
Facing fourth and short, Westlake lined up to punt the ball back to Guyer with the Wildcats leading 21-20. Webb called a timeout to guard against the fake punt, and out of the timeout, Westlake drilled a UIL state record 53-yard field goal for the final lead change.
Westlake’s defense began to pin its ears back and fully stymie Guyer’s offense, which followed the field goal with a three-and-out.
On the very next play, Greathouse got loose again for a 69-yard touchdown to put Westlake up 30-21.
Guyer punted again, and once again five-star quarterback Cade Klubnik found a wide open Greathouse for another long score.
“There was another storm that hit us in the third quarter,” Webb said. “That was the one we couldn’t overcome.”
Guyer leaned on its defense all postseason, even forcing another two turnovers against Westlake. The Wildcats held Westlake to 108 yards in the first half but had to play unconventionally in the second half, which led to big plays.
Arnold finished the game 18 of 27 passing for 183 yards and one touchdown — running for another two — but was sacked nine times in the loss as Westlake’s defense proved relentless.