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Vandegrift Earns Payback over Vista Ridge

steve thomas

photo: Steve Thomas

No. 7 Vandegrift Survives Shootout with No. 11 Vista Ridge

AUSTIN - The seventh-ranked Leander Vandegrift Vipers overcame a slow start and deficits as large as 28 points to defeat the eleventh-ranked Cedar Park Vista Ridge Rangers 63-55 in a District 25-5A showdown Friday night. The win avenges Vandegrift’s 56-52 overtime upset loss to Vista Ridge last season.

In the first half, especially the first quarter, Vista Ridge appeared to have all the momentum as Vandegrift’s defense had no answer for Senior quarterback Matt Snow either on the ground or through the air. On defense, the Rangers stifled the normally potent Viper offense holding them to just seven points in the first quarter. Later in the second quarter, however, the Vipers began executing on offense and eventually narrow the gap to 49-35 at half time. In the second half, the Vipers’ defense stepped up and managed to limit the Rangers to two field goals while the offense continued its momentum scoring an additional 28 points.

To begin the game, the two teams traded touchdowns. Vista Ridge struck first with a 42-yard pass from Snow to Cody Williams. Vandegrift, in turn, responded with a 64-yard touchdown run by senior running back Travis Brannan. Vista Ridge scored the next three touchdowns all courtesy of Matt Snow’s feet including a 45-yard touchdown run to take a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter. After Travis Brannan found the end zone again for Vandegrift to make the score 28-14, Vista Ridge took advantage of excellent field position starting at the Vandegrift 39-yard line and increased their lead to 35-14 on a nine-yard run by Snow. After forcing a Vandegrift punt on the ensuing possession, Vista Ridge further stretched the advantage to 42-14 courtesy of a 57-yard touchdown pass from Snow to senior running back Isaiah Vilaire.

Vandegrift answered with a 24-yard pass from Junior quarterback Alex Fernandes to Senior wide receiver Paxton Segina. On the ensuing kickoff, Segina made another big play, leaping into the air to recover an onside kick and returning it to the Vista Ridge 49-yard line. Two plays later, Fernandes again connected with Segina for a 46-yard touchdown pass that cut the Vista Ridge lead to 42-28. The Rangers responded with a five-yard touchdown run by Snow putting the score 49-28. The Vipers, in turn, answered with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Fernandes to Segina tightening the difference to 49-35 going into halftime.

To begin the second half, the Vipers further narrowed the gap to 49-42 courtesy of Fernandes’s 30-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Sean Dehne.  On the next Vista Ridge drive, the Vandegrift defense forced the Rangers to turn the ball over on downs in Viper territory. Following the stop, Fernandes connected with Senior wide receiver Culver Sumner to tie the game at 49-49. 

After the third quarter ended tied at 49-49, Vandegrift took its first lead of the night (56-49) when Segina scored a 48-yard touchdown off a tipped pass from Fernandes. Despite driving all the way to the Vandegrift 8-yard line, Vista Ridge was forced to settle for a field goal to make the score 56-52 Vandegrift. The Vipers came back with a heavy dose of Travis Brannan, who capped off their drive with a nine-yard touchdown run to make the score 63-52. The Rangers added another field goal to make the score 63-55 but were unable to score again.  Vandegrift had fought back from large deficits to take the lead and hang on for the 63-55 win.

With the win, Vandegrift moves to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in district. Up next for the Vipers is an even greater challenge as they travel to Gupton Stadium to taken on 5A No. 2 Cedar Park (6-0 overall, 3-0 district.) Vista Ridge meanwhile falls to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in district. Next week, the Rangers travel to #46 Dripping Springs to take on the Tigers (4-2 overall, 2-1 district.)

by Steve Thomas

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