AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fresh off a 6A-D2 state championship game appearance last season, the Vandegrift Vipers are reloading for another deep playoff run this season by staying true to themselves, as head coach Drew Sanders puts it.
A tremendous season that ended in a 42-17 loss to DeSoto in the state title game at AT&T Stadium is in the rearview mirror, but Sanders said the style of play that got them there will always be associated with any team he coaches.
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“We’re focused on making sure that we don’t get away from what got us here, and that’s hard-nosed Vandegrift-style football,” he said. “We like to run the ball, throw the ball deep in playaction, we like to play physical defense, and that’s what we’ve talked about. We have to be locked in on what our DNA is.”
With the departure of quarterback Brayden Buchanan to play baseball at Baylor, transfer Deuce Adams will step in and take the snaps for the Vipers. The Louisville pledge helped lead New Braunfels Canyon to a 9-2 record and a second-place finish in 5A-District 12 last season, throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 34 touchdowns against six interceptions. He’s a son of Mike Adams, the Texas Longhorns wide receiver in the UT Hall of Honor.
Adams is a 3-star recruit according to 247Sports and will have plenty of weapons at receiver around him, including his brother Eli and Miles Coleman.
“We’re going to be very explosive and fun to watch this year,” Adams said.
Between Eli at Canyon and Coleman with the Vipers last season, the two combined for more than 2,500 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns. Coleman doesn’t have the typical receiver build at 5-foot-6 and 155 pounds, but his elite speed and crisp route-running get him open all the time. When he gets the ball in his hands, all it takes are a couple of moves and he’s in the open field.
Coleman is especially looking forward to Adams airing it out downfield so he can utilize his track speed to go get the football.
“He can really launch it out there,” Coleman said. “We have to take every game one step at a time.”
Coleman said if this year’s team adheres to the four hallmarks of Vandegrift football that Sanders talks about all the time, they’ll be in a good place by the end of the year.
“Discipline, toughness, effort, honor,” Coleman said. “Throughout the whole season, we preach that.”
Vandegrift will feature another top transfer, defensive lineman Jacob Henry who played at Lake Travis previously.
The Vipers open the season with a familiar non-district opponent, one they played twice last season. Vandegrift will go to Dripping Springs to kick off the season Aug. 25. The teams split their games last year, but the Vipers won when it mattered most during the state playoffs.