Justin Moore’s first varsity start was last season against Cedar Park. He remembers it well.
Then a junior, he made a spot start for injured starter Alex Fernandes and completed 13 of his 29 passes for 152 yards. Vandegrift held the Timberwolves to a season-low 13 points but was shut out for the only time all year.
Now the full-time starter, he has the chance to reverse the Vipers’ fortune.
“I’m looking forward to playing them again,” Moore said. “We’re going to come out here swinging and we owe them something from last year. It’s going to be a zoo. They stomped all over us last year and we’re going to do the stomping this year.”
Admittedly, Moore said there were some nerves when he took the field on Friday. But when the ball was snapped, it all went away and he was feeling more excitement than anything. He finished 13-for-30 for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
The offensive line was a question mark for Vandegrift before the season started, but Moore said they proved some people wrong after the game at Permian.
Senior lineman Wesley Holmes is in his first year on varsity, but he’s spent years playing football with Moore. He was proud of the way the Offensive line played in the opener and said they’re able o give their quarterback the time he needs in the pocket.
“He kind of likes to stay in the pocket and likes time to thrown the ball,” Holmes said. “I’m used to blocking for quarterbacks with different styles. I’ve had different styles in middle school and high schools. I’ve played enough with him that I know his quarterback style.”
Vandegrift opened the season with a 28-24 loss on the road against Odessa Permian. The Vipers scored 14 points in the second quarter to take their first lead in the second half but gave up 14 points in the fourth quarter to fall to the Panthers for the second straight season.
The trip started at 8 a.m. on Friday when the team boarded charter buses. They stopped in San Angelo to take a break in the middle of the six-hour trip. They had a walkthrough at San Angelo State University before continuing on to West Texas.
Cedar Park has dominated the series since the teams began playing in 2010. The Timberwolves have won six of the seven meetings. The only time the Vipers have come out on top was in 2014 when they won 39-34.
Holmes expects that trend to change Friday night.
“We’ve played those guys every year since middle school,” he said. “We’re friends with them. But on the field, we’re enemies. It’s gonna be lights out.”