AUSTIN — The effect of the national exposure and spotlight on Westlake High School should reach an all-time high this week due to the upcoming historic NFL playoff game in New Orleans on Sunday.
"I don't think it has hit us and I don't think it ever will until it actually happens Sunday night -- two number nines battling it out," said Westlake High School Principal Steven Ramsey.
Drew Brees and Nick Foles both wear the jersey No. 9 for the Saints and Eagles.
Ramsey was a member of the Westlake football coaching staff while Foles was a quarterback in the Chaparral football program.
Despite the fact that Foles is 10 years younger than Brees and played in a state championship game 10 years after Brees guided Westlake to a state championship, Foles witnessed Brees win a Super Bowl MVP award while playing for the University of Arizona.
"That kind of allowed Nick to see it (winning a Super Bowl MVP) as a possibility," said Ramsey. "I think Nick saw that and that it could happen to anybody at Westlake."
Ramsey eluded to the culture developed by the coaching staffs at Westlake, beginning with Ron Schroeder, which taught both Brees and Foles that greater things can be accomplished as a team.
"There were certain tenants we believed in," he said. "One was there was something bigger than you. Whether it was faith, there's a world outside of football and you need to be conscious of other communities of what's out there besides what's going on in your world."
That mindset has become a foundation for both quarterbacks, who earned Super Bowl rings and a Super Bowl MVP trophy. Foles expressed those values after the Eagles survived to advance in their recent NFC Wildcard playoff game at Chicago last Sunday.
"What happened today, I tossed a couple of picks and made a couple of mistakes, the other guys were there for me to lift me up," said Foles. "Defense said they got me and that's what this team is about."
It's the mindset that the team is bigger than the individual.
That is exactly why both Brees and Foles, two Westlake High School products, are the first Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks from the same high school to meet in a playoff game. Both embody the "something is bigger than you" philosophy learned at Westlake.
The result of it all, national exposure to their Westlake roots and eyeballs and ears across the country will see and hear about the Chaparral football program.
"Until you see them play against each other, people are putting up the stills, putting the videos together right now split screen," said Ramsey. "But it still doesn't have the same significance when they both take the field and you see from huddle to huddle, from Eagles to Saints, you're going to see Nick Foles, Drew Brees, Westlake, Westlake. I think that's when it will hit everybody."
Despite the historical nature of it all, Foles hopes to even things up against his Westlake counterpart. During his first stint as a quarterback for Philadelphia, Foles and Eagles lost to Brees and the Saints in a playoff game in 2014.