Viper football in state quarterfinals Austin LBJ (11-2, 6-1) vs. Vandegrift (11-2, 5-2): Today Dec. 6 @ 2 p.m. @ Gupton Stadium

Viper Coach Drew  Sanders and team. Photo by Scott W. Coleman

Viper Coach Drew Sanders and team.
Photo by Scott W. Coleman

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.