The last time Vandegrift and Vista Ridge met on the football field, the game was one of the most thrilling of the season. Vista Ridge took an early lead — going up by four touchdowns — before Vandegrift turned the tide with a solid second-half defensive performance and pulled out a 63-55 victory in Week 7.
The two teams combined for 118 total points and 1,179 yards of offense. And nothing in the first three playoff games would indicate anything less than another offensive slugfest.
Vista Ridge has scored 135 points in a trio of lopsided victories over its postseason opponents, reaching the state quarterfinals for the first time ever. Vandegrift has blown through its opponents by outscoring the competition 173-60, putting up 2,010 yards of offense in the postseason.
The offense is easy to predict. Matthew Snow has accounted for the vast majority of Vista Ridge’s offensive production. The senior quarterback leads the Rangers in rushing, and though he doesn’t pass often, when he does, the completions are usually deep downfield.
For Vandegrift, Travis Brannan — arguably the best running back in the state — has only gotten better in the postseason. He’s accounted for 947 yards in three games and went off for a career high 422 rushing yards in last week’s win over Edinburg Vela.
Defensively, things are tougher to predict. Vista Ridge’s defense has been stout against largely inferior competition in the postseason and the Rangers held Victoria West to fewer than 150 total yards. Vandegrift has been been tough on the run and the Viper defense has 13 sacks in the postseason and 30 for the year. However, the Vipers have been susceptible to big plays in the passing game and were outgained by Vela 592-467 yards last week.
Whatever the final score, this is certainly one of the most intriguing games in the state this week. And as Vandegrift coach Drew Sanders put it, “Man, it’s going to be one heck of a football game.”