Preview: Vista Ridge at Vandegrift at Monroe Stadium Friday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.

By SCOTT W. COLEMAN, Four Points News 

In every victory this season, there has been one constant for Vandegrift: a solid ground game.

Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders said after last week’s win over Leander that establishing the run game is crucial for his team. This Friday, things will be no different as the Vipers host a Vista Ridge team that can put up points in a hurry.

Vandegrift Vipers junior wide receiver Reese Watson (81) bats a pass intended for Leander Lions junior wide receiver Ismael Sanchez (17) away in the end zone during a high school football game between the Leander Lions and the Vandegrift Vipers at Bible Stadium in Leander, Texas, on October 13, 2017. Photo by Scott W. Coleman 

Leander Lions senior wide receiver Dalton Flowers (6) leaps high to bring in a pass over Vandegrift Vipers sophomore defensive back Tyler Mongauzy (33) during a high school football game between the Leander Lions and the Vandegrift Vipers at Bible Stadium in Leander, Texas, on October 13, 2017. Photo by Scott W. Coleman 

The Rangers have scored an average of 35 points a game this season, but put up 56 in a win over Westwood four weeks ago and 49 over Lehman the following week. Vista Ridge is also coming off a bye headed into this week’s game at Monroe Stadium.

“It wouldn’t be football season without a few final regular season games being played with playoff implications,” Sanders said.

It’s a game with playoff implications for both teams. Westlake notched its first win over Lake Travis in a decade last Friday, solidifying the Chaparrals at the top of the 25-6A standings. Both Vista Ridge and Vandegrift will need every possible victory the remainder of the season in order to lock up playoff berths in what continues to be a highly competitive district.

“We are used to this pressure as we’ve had it on us since we opened,” said Sanders. “In 2011, our first playoff year, we had to rattle off three straight wins to get into the post-season and we did it. And our Vipers have been doing it ever since.”

Establishing the run game will be important for Vandegrift, and stopping an explosive Vista Ridge offense will be important.

Vista Ridge’s Jacob Taute is one of the few returning starters at the quarterback position in the area, and he’s thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season. Perhaps more importantly, he’s only thrown two interceptions against his 11 touchdown passes.

The Rangers also have a host of receivers, let by senior Jamil Pittman — Vista Ridge’s do-it-all back on offense and defense. Pittman has scored on the ground, through the air, and he’s also thrown for a touchdown and returned an interception for a score on defense.

As Sanders knows, nothing truly comes easy in District 25-6A for teams hoping to make the playoffs.

“We have to win games like this if we want to make the playoffs and have playoff success,” said Sanders. “We are mentally and physically prepared for success.”