Vipers Push Through Rebels; CP Struggles With LBJ – District 25-4A Week 11 Recap

KC Grimes, Asst. Sports Editor

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Week 11 of Texas High School Football marked the start of playoffs for the 2011 season. Vandegrift, Cedar Park, Lake Travis and Dripping Springs represented District 25-4A in matchups against other districts in Region IV-4A Divisions I and II. All four teams won their game, displaying the competitiveness of District 25-4A that has been seen in the past two state championships.

 

            Making history, the Vandegrift Vipers traveled downtown to House Park Stadium where they met the Travis Rebels for the bi-district championship between District 25-4A and 26-4A. Adding to the excitement Vandegrift’s first playoff game, it was also a sort of homecoming for Viper coaches Drew Sanders, Greg Cooper, and Mike Reynolds, who coached at Travis before transferring to Vandegrift for the 2009 football season. As expected, the Vipers dominated Travis in all aspects on the field.

            The Vipers started out the night with a strong offense. On the first play of the game, junior Tristen Paffe ran the ball in for a 75-yard touchdown. Following an extra point by senior Rand Fredrickson, Vandegrift led 7-0 with only 22 seconds taken off the clock. The Vipers continued with the intensity by forcing a quick three n’ out, giving their offense the ball back on their own 13-yard line.

            Action on the field slowed as the Rebels forced Vandegrift into punting, giving Travis the ball back on the Viper 47-yard line. The Viper defense held strong despite the field position forcing the Rebels to punt yet again and setting the Vandegrift offense up on their own 20-yard line after a touchback. The Viper offense was unable to advance, ending their drive with a controversial fumble and giving Travis the ball on the Vandegrift 28-yard line.

            The Vipers managed to stop the Rebel offense after big stops by junior Mason Hargeaves and senior Keller Wylie. A well-placed punt by Travis senior kicker Valentin Torres set the Vipers up on their own 1-yard line. Senior quarterback Dakota Prukop was led up field and out of trouble by center junior Chris Lick for a first down. Paffe followed up with a 35-yard run, forcing the Rebel defense to defend their own territory. Prukop finished up the 99-yard drive with a pass to senior Brandon Brown and two runs on his own, scoring on a four-yard run. The Vipers led 14-0 after an extra point by Fredrickson with 1:31 left in the 1st quarter.

            The Rebel offense wasn’t given much leeway having started their drive at their own 34-yard line and soon forced into punting, giving Vandegrift the ball back on the Viper 41-yard line. With short plays and a 22-yard reception by junior Hayden Tucker, Vandegrift scored on a three-yard run by Paffe to cap their 59-yard drive followed by an extra point from Fredrickson, extending their lead 21-0.

            Vandegrift’s defense held strong against a fourth down attempt by the Rebels, giving possession back to the Viper offense on their own 49-yard line. The Vipers scored on a reception by Brown to finish another 51-yard drive. After the extra point by Fredrickson, the Vipers further extended their lead 28-7.

            After a fair recovery, Travis nearly scored after a long 60-yard reception and yards after contact by senior wide receiver Nate Guerrero put the Rebels on the Viper’s one-yard line. After holding off two more plays, the Viper defense finally broke as junior Chris Clark ran in for a touchdown, putting the Rebels on the board. Following the extra point by senior kicker Jose Salazar, Travis stayed in the game with a score of 28-7.  

            The Vipers started their answering drive with a first down from Paffe and another from junior Dylan Hosek. Prukop ran 4 yards and then another two yards into the end zone to end the 72-yard drive with a touchdown. After the extra point by Fredrickson, the Vipers led 35-7.

            Travis received the Viper kickoff to begin their next drive from their worst field position of the night, starting on their own 12-yard line. After a short offensive play by Guerrero, Hargreaves tipped a sophomore quarterback Jonathan Caldwell pass and caught it himself, earning the first interception of the short Viper playoff history.

            With only a few seconds left on the clock, the Vipers tried quick passing plays to Brown and Tucker for no success. Fredrickson attempted the resulting 38-yard field goal and was successful, putting the Vipers up 38-7 going into the half.

            Travis started out with the ball in the third quarter, but was forced to punt after multiple short but ineffective plays by the Rebel offense. The Vipers, now led by junior quarterback Forrest Threadgill, started on their own 37-yard line and drove to the Rebel three-yard line with plays by Tucker and junior running back Harrison Holmes. After a fumble, the Rebels recovered the ball of their own 5-yard line.

The Vipers quickly got the ball back after forcing a short punt, turning the ball over on the Travis 20-yard line. The Rebel defense held firmly against the Viper offense, allowing only a 39-yard field goal by Fredrickson, advancing the Viper’s lead 41-7.

Following the kickoff by senior Brett Koster, the Rebels started from their own 22-yard line. Travis was unable to break the Viper defense and was forced to punt yet again, but the punt was blocked and returned by the Vipers on the Rebel’s 42-yard line. Despite the good field position, the Vipers were unable to push through the Rebel defense and were forced to punt. Fortunately for Vandegrift, the punt rolled to a stop on the Travis 1-yard line, starting the Rebels in a tough spot.

Travis quickly came out of the tight space with a 34-yard run by senior running back Rick Flores and 23-yard reception by junior Tyler Lamy. The Rebels continued to fight up field and scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Caldwell and following a missed extra point, set the score to 41-13.

After recovering the on-side kick from the Rebels, the Vipers started from their own 46-yard line. After plays by various 2nd string and JV receivers and running backs including juniors Jake Spasaro, Harrison Holmes, John Elder, and freshmen Christian Reyes, the Vipers set Fredrickson up for a 28-yard field goal, which was made with ease and secured the Vandegrift win of 44-13 over Travis. After a brief and unsuccessful offensive drive from the Rebels, the clock ticked out and the Vipers had won the District 25-26 4A Division II Bi-District Championship.

The Vipers ended the game with a mere 156 yard passing while the Rebels had 216 yards, but made up on the ground, like last week, with a high 325 yards rushing while Travis only had 110 yards. Paffe led yards rushing with 168 yards.

With the victory, the Vipers play Tivy out of Kerville, Texas at Rutledge Stadium in Converse, Texas for Week 12.

 

            The Cedar Park Timberwolves matched up against the Austin LBJ Jaguars in what was supposed to be an easy blowout for the T’Wolves. Despite expectations, LBJ was able to answer two early Cedar Park touchdowns with two of their own, sending the teams into the 2nd half tied 13-13. The T’Wolves came out of the half much more focused than before, scoring twice in the 3rd quarter and another four times in the 4th quarter. The Cedar Park defense showed their increased intensity as well, allowing only two touchdowns from the Jaguars in the 4th quarter. With seniors Ethan Fry and Brian Hogan as well as sophomore Thomas Middleton all exceeding 100 yards rushing, mostly in the 2nd half, the T’Wolves were able to clean up their act to win 55-26 over LBJ in Week 11.

            Cedar Park will take the short trip to Burger Center in downtown Austin, Texas to face off against Hays Consolidated in the Week 12 Area Championship.

 

            The Lake Travis Cavaliers hosted the McCallum Knights in an easy Bi-District Championship game. The Cavs won 58-7, scoring all but one touchdown in the 1st half and breaking once in the 3rd quarter for a McCallum touchdown. Junior Baker Mayfield had 134 yards passing and an unusually low 15 yards rushing out of the Cav’s overall 288 rushing yards. Senior running back Colin Lagasse boasted four touchdowns by the end of the 1st half.

            Undefeated Lake Travis will travel to San Antonio, Texas to play Smithson Valley at the Alamo Dome for the Week 12 Area Championship.

 

            The Dripping Springs Tigers came to the Burger Center in Austin, Texas to play the Lanier Vikings for an easy Week 11 win. Junior quarterback Kyle Johnson had an excellent night for the Tigers, throwing for 213 yards and four touchdowns and running in for his own touchdown. Dripping Springs ended with 153 rushing yards in the relatively short game. The Tiger defense intercepted Viking senior quarterback K’len Britton three times and limited Lanier to only about 200 total offensive yards. The Dripping Springs defense and offense equally dominated the field to secure the 48-0 shutout win over Lanier.

            Dripping Springs will travel to Austin, Texas again to play Alamo Heights at Monroe Stadium on the campus of Vandegrift High School.

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