Westlake’s defense will have its hands full this week when it heads west down Interstate 10.

The Rams will face Crowley and its explosive offense at 7 p.m. today. 

Crowley, led by senior quarterback Marquis Garrett, raced to a 30-14 lead on the Rams District 4-3A rival St. Louis Catholic last week before the Saints staged a huge second-half rally to win 41-38.

“They like to spread you out and run the football between the quarterback and running back,” Westlake head coach John Richardson said. “They kind of had a meltdown last week. 

“They were up 17 points on St. Louis. I think they have some guys playing both ways and I think conditioning was a factor. We are hoping we can get some of that luck on our side this week too.”

Garrett ran for 72 yards and a touchdown and threw another while completing 11 of 22 passes for 167 yards. Running back Obadiah Butler and wide receiver Chris Moore combined for 238 yards and three touchdowns.

“They are very athletic,” Richardson said. “They have a really good quarterback, running back and receiver. 

“The quarterback makes them go. He has really good size. We are going to have to do a good job of taking away the big play from him. He is big and athletic.”

Stopping the Gents from making game-changing plays will be key for the Rams, something they struggled with last week in a 35-21 loss to Tioga.

“I thought our kids fought hard,” Richardson said. “We are just not where we need to be at yet. It is a matter of getting better.

“Defensively, we were out of position at times and gave up some big plays. We hurt ourselves with penalties and things that we need to fix and get better at. It is a learning curve for everyone out there. We will probably have a few changes there. We are trying to find the right 11 guys. We are learning. There is a lot of inexperience on that side of the football, but unfortunately, the only way to get it is to play and learn it on the go.”

Westlake had no problem moving the ball on the ground last week. Running backs J.J. Ross and Jasia Simien combined for 250 yards and three touchdowns. But Richardson is looking for more from the Rams’ passing game.

“Both of our backs had a big game last week, but we are hoping to get a few more plays in the passing game,” Richardson said. “We are trying to mix things up a little better this week.

“We have to cut down on penalties. We had several holding penalties at key times that killed drives. We can’t have 2nd and 10 or 15. We have to handle our blocking assignments.”