WALLER — Trey Mongauzy wasn’t going to drop the ball a second time.
The Vandegrift receiver couldn’t come down with a pass to the end zone in the first overtime, but more than made up for it with a leaping grab in double overtime to give Vandegrift a 28-21 win over Klein Collins Friday afternoon.
“It’s a lot of studying and a lot of preparation,” Mongauzy said. “This is a talented team. We ’ve been able to install new things and find a way to beat the defense. We had a ton of experience with it and we’ve faced good opponents. We just know how to stay in the game and we fight. We play for each other and it pays off.”
The junior caught nine passes for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns and the Vipers advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time as a Class 6A program.
Vandegrift will face off against either Prosper or Longview, which play tomorrow at 7 p.m., next Saturday at Baylor’s McLane Stadium in Waco.
Vipers’ junior Dru Dawson finished 19-of-27 passing for 262 and three touchdowns. Senior running back Isaiah Smallwood carried the ball 21 times for 53 yards and a touchdown.
“This is a team that refuses to say die,” Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders said. “It comes from their character and their heart. And they always stay coachable even when they face some disappointment like they did. That’s the magic ingredient.”
Klein Collins running back Isaiah Spiller — a Texas A&M commit — carried the ball 25 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for three receptions for 48 yards.
The Tigers went for the win facing 4th down in the first overtime period, but J.J. Parker came up with a massive sack. The Vipers botched the snap on the potential game-winning field goal before Mongauzy caught a touchdown in double overtime.
The Vipers’ defense batted down a pass in the end zone intended for Spiller to seal the win.
“My heart was in my throat,” Sanders said.
Vandegrift opened the game with a long drive that stalled on the Klein Collins side of the field. And the Tigers came back with an eight-play drive capped off with a 3-yard touchdown run by Spiller.
The Vipers tied the game when Dawson hit a wide open Mongauzy for a 40-yard touchdown in the seam on their first drive of the second quarter and defensive back J.J. Parker kept the game scoreless with an interception just before halftime.
“We practice all the things that we want to do and then we executed,” Parker said. “I was trying to do anything I can and just trying to play my hardest.”
The teams traded touchdowns early in the second half, but the Collins kicking troubles started early with it missed an extra point to fall slightly behind.
Dawson and Mongauzy connected on a 58-yard pass in the third quarter to set up a 1-yard rush by Smallwood. But the Tigers answered, throwing a 34-yard touchdown pass and converting the 2-point conversion on the next drive to tie the game.
The Vipers have adapted to every situation they’ve faced this season, whether it was a fourth-quarter rally to beat Round Rock, a defensive hold to fend off Hendrickson or a field goal to beat Cedar Ridge in overtime.
Friday was another adverse situation Vandegrift had to overcome and that’s exactly what they did.
“A lot of other teams would have folded,” Sanders said. “That’s the most impressive thing, to have it right there and have it snatched from you and then find a way to come back and get it anyway. This group is having a hard time being denied and something special is happening with these guys.”