CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — Vandegrift stood strong and turned back Dripping Springs at the goal line late in the fourth quarter to claim the 6A-Division II Region IV title 27-24 on Friday at Gupton Stadium.
On a 4th-and-goal play from inside the 1-yard line with 1:54 remaining in the game, Dripping Springs coach Galen Zimmerman elected to go for the go-ahead touchdown, but the Vipers were up to the task. Tigers quarterback Austin Novosad tried to sneak it in behind his offensive line, but a pile of humanity at the goal line ensued, and after a lengthy discussion by the entire officiating crew, the Tigers were ruled short of the goal line and Vandegrift took over on downs.
Vipers quarterback Brayden Buchanan rushed the ball three times on the final drive, and the third run was for a 14-yard gain on 3rd-and-4. Dripping Springs was out of timeouts by that point, and the Vipers kneeled on the ball to run out the clock.
Vandegrift avenged its only loss of the season which came at the hands of the Tigers in Week 1. Dripping Springs won 23-20 on a field goal as time expired back in August, so the Vipers returned the favor in the state quarterfinals.
Buchanan had a shaky start to the game with two first-half interceptions, but two touchdowns by running back Alex Witt and a 50-yard field goal from Hayden Arnold kept the Vipers in it. The field goal came as time expired in the first half and tied the game at 17-17.
The Tigers marched down the field to start the second half, and while Jack Tyndall did most of the work on the ground, it was Novosad who fired a 26-yard pass to Kyle Koch for a touchdown with 6:51 left in the third quarter. The Tigers took a 24-17 lead after the extra point.
Vandegrift scored the game’s last 10 points to win it. Buchanan hit RayJean Middleton over the middle of the field for a 27-yard touchdown with 4:58 left in the third quarter, and then Arnold booted another field goal, this one from 32 yards, with 10:19 left in the game.
Dripping Springs once again had a long drive, moving the ball both on the ground and through the air. The Tigers worked it down to the Vipers’ 19-yard line with 4:03 left and converted a 4th-and-1 play with a Tyndall run to the 15. Kade Curry then ran it up the gut for 10 yards, putting the Tigers at the 5-yard line with 3:15 left, but a false start on the next play backed it up five yards.
Dripping Springs had four tries to score from the 10-yard line, and on the fourth play from inside the 1-yard line, the Vipers won the game with their biggest defensive play of the year.
With the win, Vandegrift (13-1) advances to the state semifinals and will take on Katy in the semifinals. The Tigers were 56-34 winners over C.E. King at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Dripping Springs (12-2) had a tremendous season in its first year in Class 6A. The Tigers’ losses came to Westlake 29-10 in district play and to Vandegrift.
9:05 – Kade Curry 1-yard run, PAT good. DS 7-0
8:22 – Alex Witt 10-yard run, PAT good. 7-7
0:21 – Walker Wright 41-yard field goal. DS 10-7
6:53 – Jack Tyndall 4-yard run, PAT good. DS 17-7
4:52 – Alex Witt 11-yard run, PAT good. DS 17-14
0:00 – Hayden Arnold 50-yard field goal. 17-17
6:51 – Austin Novosad to Kyle Koch 26-yard pass, PAT good. DS 24-17
4:58 – Brayden Buchanan to RayJean Middleton 27-yard pass, PAT good. 24-24
10:19 – Arnold 32-yard field goal, Vandegrift 27-24