If history is any example, Friday night’s area round showdown between Vandegrift and Klein Collins is sure to be a must-see event.
The Vipers beat the Tigers in double overtime in this round one year ago to break through to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since jumping up to Class 6A. This year, the two district champions face off at Monroe Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m.
“It’s almost the exact same team as last year as far as the schemes they run, how hard they play and how well-coached they are,” Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders said. “In my opinion, that’s what makes a good program. Hopefully, people say the same thing about us.”
The Vipers didn’t fold last year when J.J. Parker kept Collins out of the end zone with a 4th-down sack in the first overtime, and Trey Mongauzy made the game-winning touchdown catch in the second overtime period.
“I don’t think there’s a huge difference (from last year),” the now-senior Trey Mongauzy said. “They’re big, aggressive and athletic. We know what to expect.”
Vandegrift has won 12 straight games at Monroe Stadium in the last two seasons, the latest being 14-13 win over Bridgeland thanks to a fourth-quarter rally. This will be the first time the Vipers have hosted back-to-back playoff games.
Senior quarterback Dru Dawson was perfect in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner to Mongauzy with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Vipers’ defense blocked an extra point in the first half and held the Bears scoreless in the second half.
“It just reminds me that we’re never out of a game,” Sanders said. “It wasn’t as surprising to me as it was to some of our team. I knew (Bridgeland) was very good, and it would be a battle. That’s 6A playoff football.”
The opening-round win was more of a wake-up call for Mongauzy.
“We had to go away from our original gameplan,” he said. “We realized that we’re not just going to get on every team. We know we have to work to get after it.”
Klein Collins rolled to a 37-6 win over Dekaney in the bi-district round last Friday night. The Tigers combined for more than 300 rushing yards, led by senior Braelon Bridges, who finished with 200 yards and two touchdowns.
Bridges has more than 1,500 rushing yards this season, and 35 of the Tigers’ 43 total touchdowns have been scored on the ground.
But the Vandegrift defense was by far the best in District 13-6A, allowing 11.7 points per game in 11 games this season, and giving up 14.5 points during district play.
“This is kind of why you start in August, to play in a game like this,” Sanders said.
The crowd at Monroe Stadium is guaranteed to be a little louder with the return of the Vandegrift band, which was named the Grand National Champion at the 2019 Bands of America marching contest in Indianapolis last weekend.
“There is so much energy and big community love (at Vandegrift),” Mongauzy said. “I live for these moments, and I know the rest of the guys do too.”