By SCOTT W. COLEMAN, Four Points News
Any team that earns the right to play in the postseason does so with a great deal of emotion. For Vandegrift — reaching the state quarterfinals for the first time after two previous postseason campaigns cut short in the second round — coach Drew Sanders has said that playing with confidence and passion has been a key to the Viper defense’s success in recent weeks.
Now just two wins away from playing for a state title, the Vipers will face another Central Texas team riding high on emotion, as Vandegrift and Austin LBJ meet on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Gupton Stadium.
For Austin LBJ — a team that was bounced from the postseason in the first round by LISD schools each of the last four seasons — emotion is driving the team’s longest playoff run in more than a decade. The Jaguars are pulling out all the stops to honor fallen teammate Jermaine Dillard, who was hit by a car while trying to cross U.S. 183 near Ed Bluestein just a week before the 2014 playoffs began.
LBJ does have talent, but they are clearly the underdog this Saturday facing an explosive Vandegrift team that averages 50 points a game. But, the Jags — who average 42 points a game — have thrived on being the underdog, playing with emotion to honor a fallen teammate this postseason. The Vipers will have their hands full. A quick strike and early lead would go a long way toward giving Vandegrift a shot at playing in next week’s semifinal game against either Temple or George Ranch. Another outstanding defensive effort, though, could make all the difference.