HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Dragons, Vipers preparing for intense district showdown

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From a bird’s-eye view, Vandegrift and Round Rock are very similar football teams. 

Both the Vipers and Dragons have yet to lose this season, both have been extremely dominant none side of the ball for stretches and both squads are loaded with playoff-experienced talent at just about every position. 

The two teams will find out who stays on top of the District 13-6A standings when they face off Friday night at Monroe Stadium. 

The Round Rock offense has been as proficient as ever, averaging a district-best 51.8 points per game this season. The Vandegrift defense didn’t allow a touchdown until the third week of the season and kept the high-flying Vista Ridge offense largely in check last week. 

A trio of seniors leads the Vandegrift defense with Jax McCauley (76 tackles, five tackles for loss), J.J. Parker (67 tackles, eight tackles for loss) and Zach Gilchrist (56 tackles, two tackles for loss). 

Through five games, the Vipers have combined for 26 sacks, six interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Vandegrift has been more balanced on offense, with Dru Dawson passing for 633 yards and nine touchdowns. The Vipers combining for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, led by Bowen Lewis with 657 yards and three scores. 

Junior Seth Ford leads the Dragons’ offense, passing for 740 yards and seven touchdowns this season and rushing for 203 yards and two scores. Purdue commit Collin Sullivan has been his favorite receiver, catching 36 passes for 613 yards and eight touchdowns. 

The Dragons have combined for 1,257 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns through four games, led by junior Israel Morgan (650 yards, seven touchdowns) and senior Jordan Smart (229 yards, nine touchdowns). 

So far this season, the biggest improvement for Round Rock has been its defense, which is slowing just 24.8 points per game. Last season, when the Dragons had difficulty slowing just about any team down, they allowed 36.75 points per game, tied for third-worst during district play. 

The Vipers converted four, fourth downs on the game-winning, fourth-quarter drive last season to beat the Dragons 27-24 in a thrilling game on their way to an undefeated District 13-6A title and trip to the third round of the playoffs.

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Email: sports@hillcountrynews.com  

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