Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders believes the defensive line is the calling card of his team. Watch Friday night's game against Cedar Ridge and you'll have to agree.
Vandegrift's defense powered the defending District 13-6A champions to a convincing 28-7 victory over Cedar Ridge at Dragon Stadium in on Friday. The Vipers allowed just 220 total yards and 136 rushing yards in the win.
"We found a way to effectively get more than one person to the point of attack," Sanders said. "It's a credit to our coaches for great schemes and adjustments, and to our players for executing."
Cedar Ridge's two primary offensive options, running back Deuce Vaughn and quarterback Jalen Brown, were handled well by the Vipers defense all night long. Vaughn, who hit 2,000 yards last season, ran for just 97 yards on 18 carries. Brown was sacked four times and accounted for only 114 yards on offense.
Vandegrift quarterback Dru Dawson led the way for the Vipers on offense, with 156 yards and three touchdowns on 7-for-11 passing. Bowen Lewis ran for 107 yards on 22 carries to pace Vandegrift on the ground.
The win was Vandegrift's 13th consecutive regular-season win.
"They're relentless on defense, especially at the line of scrimmage," Cedar Ridge head coach Sam Robinson said. "They can give you a ton of different looks and stunts and blitzes out there, and it's hard to prepare for them."
On the first Cedar Ridge possession, Vandegrift defensive back Wyatt Breckenridge blocked a Willian Carvalho punt and Vipers teammate Jax McCauley recovered the ball for a touchdown to start the game.
"Our special teams coordinator found something studying the tape and we worked hard all week practicing punt blocks, and I told everyone we were gonna go for that first block," Sanders said. "To get it was fun for the kids, and it was a great start to get that one."
The Vipers would continue their first-quarter dominance when Lewis caught a 47-yard pass from Dawson.
Early in the second quarter, Dawson would find success through the air again, hitting receiver Taylor Dummar with a lob pass down the sideline for a 40-yard score. Dawson threw for 103 yards on just four passing attempts in the first half, in addition to 42 yards on the ground.
"We just made too many mistakes early and dug ourselves a hole. They're way too good of a team, and if you hand them anything, it's gonna be hard to fight through," Robinson said. "We just weren't good enough to beat a program like that."
Down 21-0, Cedar Ridge running back Joseph Captain stuffed a one-yard rush in through the middle of the line to put the Raiders on the board with under three minutes to go in the second quarter.
"We found a way through motions and shifts to get the one-on-one matchups we wanted," Sanders said. "And a lot of that movement can get guys confused, so that's how we were able to make it happen."
Dawson's passing prowess would put the game away in the third quarter. On his third and final throwing score of the night, the senior quarterback found Dummar in tight coverage down the right sideline for the touchdown.
"I was just really happy with our effort tonight. I challenged the guys to bring more energy this week and they were non-stop loud on the sideline," Sanders said. "I think we have tons of things to improve upon, but we'll study the tape and get better going forward."
Vandegrift continues its district schedule when agaisnt Hendrickson at Monroe Stadium next Friday at 7 p.m., while Cedar Ridge looks to rebound when they travel to Bible Stadium to face off against Leander on Sept. 20.
"We're all disappointed, but you just have to get a win next week and get rolling," Robinson said. "There is still a lot of football left to be played."
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