Last year, Justin Moore was pushed into action as Vandegrift’s quarterback for the first time when starter Alex Fernandes was unable to play against Cedar Park. This year, Moore returns to face the Timberwolves as Vandegrift’s starter.
Last week showed promise, with Moore going 11-for-22 for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns against a Permian defense that returned nine starters from a year ago. The rushing game was never really in gear, though, with the Vipers amassing just 28 net yards on 22 carries. That will need to get better this week for Vandegrift to have a chance of beating the Timberwolves.
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses, with Vandegrift driving nearly 700 miles round trip to Odessa and falling 28-24 to the Permian Panthers.
The Vipers gave up 320 rushing yards to Permian’s option offense.
Cedar Park played host to a very talented team from Waco Midway, and lost 35-28. Similarly, the Timberwolves surrendered 272 yards on the ground.
Where Moore showed promise as a first-time starter, Cedar Park quarterback Mak Sexton is a rare three-year starter with a state championship already under his belt. This should be Sexton’s year to shine, though last week’s outing showed there’s still much room to grow as Cedar Park hopes to pick up the pace and pass more than ever before.
For Vandegrift’s offense, this week’s matchup will likely come down to an ability to establish the run and use the passing game to break big plays against a Cedar Park defense that was somewhat exposed last week.
Look for Oso Ifesinachukwu to have another big game, with Jayelen Gray making an impact on the other side. If the pair of experienced defensive ends can get to Sexton early and often, Vandegrift has a solid chance at winning its home opener.