Vandegrift and head coach Drew Sanders had the District 13-6A title and already knew their first-round postseason matchup before Friday night’s regular-season finale against Stony Point at Dragon Stadium even kicked off.
Instead of looking a week ahead, they had a game to play, and still had a lot to play for.
The Vipers locked up the first unbeaten regular season in school history with a 28-7 win over the Tigers in their regular season finale on Friday night.
"It's cool to do something that has never been done," Sanders said. "I've been here since the beginning and everything has been a first. This is a really cool first. It's very special and I'm really proud of the group. We got a lot to accomplish but we're gonna celebrate tonight."
Running back Isaiah Smallwood led the way with 110 yards and three rushing touchdowns on 34 carries. Quarterback Dru Dawson was 6-of-12 with 132 yards passing in the win, while the Vipers' physically-dominant defense allowed less than 15 points for the fourth straight game.
"The defense came out and did what our defense has done all year, they shut them down in the second half," Sanders said. "They wanted it. You saw the way they played and the way they encouraged each other, and you saw the result."
Vandegrift will play Tomball-Memorial at Monroe Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday.
"It's a huge advantage to start at home," Sanders said. "We're 26-7 since 2013 there, so it's hard to beat the Vipers at Monroe."
Stony Point finished the season at 6-4 with a 4-4 record in district play. Quarterback Jaiden Victorian was went 10-of-17 passing for 113 yards, while Kendall Thomas led the way on the ground with 50 yards on 10 rushes.
The Vipers' offense started things off with a bang in the early parts of the first quarter. Smallwood opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run on Vandegrift's first offensive possession, taking a direct snap and fighting through the Stony Point defensive line.
Later in the first quarter, Dawson would take it to the house himself, finding space through the middle of the field and running 22 yards into the end zone. Dawson would finish with 43 yards on eight carries in addition to his performance through the air.
In the second quarter, Smallwood would tally a one-yard touchdown rush. The Vipers' leading rusher on the season would end the game just short of 1,000 yards on the 2018 campaign, with 958.
Stony Point's offense would not be shut out for long. On fourth down and goal from the four, running back Tyler O'Bannon found Quaylon Lomax for a touchdown to make it 21-7.
Vandegrift linebacker Spencer Jones came down with an interception on the next Stony Point drive. The Vipers sealed the game with a nine-play drive capped off with Smallwood's third rushing touchdown of the night, an 11-yarder in the fourth quarter.
"We were taking steps all season to see where we could improve on becoming a threat in 6A, and I'll tell you, undefeated district champs is a really nice step," Sanders said. "We're gonna look at the tape and improve upon the little things, but all we're worried about right now is celebrating this win. It was a hard-working season and you can take some time to celebrate, and we're gonna celebrate."
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