AUSTIN (KXAN) — Coming off a trip to the Class 6A quarterfinals last season, Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders wants to make sure every opponent knows they’re in for a tough game this year.

The Vipers finished last season 12-2 with a loss to eventual state champions Westlake, and a showdown with Dripping Springs featuring two of the area’s best quarterbacks opens the year. Sanders’ philosophy is simple — play hard, play smart.

“I want us to show up, play disciplined, play hard and give amazing effort,” he said. “We’re not guaranteed to win anything given how hard our schedule is, but the other team knows it’s going to be a tough game. That’s what I want from our kids.”

Brayden Buchanan, the Vipers’ senior quarterback, threw for more than 3,000 yards last season to go with 42 touchdowns. He’s committed to Baylor to play baseball, but right now he’s preparing for another deep playoff run on the gridiron.

“We expect to win every game, and that’s something that Coach Sanders has instilled in us,” he said. “It’s a great thing for us as a program because we don’t expect mediocrity. We expect to win every rep in practice and in every game.”

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The first game of the year Aug. 26 against the Tigers could keep the scoreboard operator busy as Buchanan goes toe-to-toe with a future classmate at Baylor in Austin Novosad. The Dripping Springs signal-caller has verbally committed to Baylor to play football next year.

As part of the UIL’s realignment, Hutto left the district but Manor, who went 10-3 last season and finished second in 5A-District 11, moves up. The website MaxPreps has the Vipers ranked No. 26 in the state to start the season.

The Vipers stay close to home for their two other nondistrict games, taking on Cedar Park and Waco Midway before hosting Stony Point on Sept. 16.

Last season, the Vipers lost its one district game to Round Rock, and Oct. 14 is when they’ll get a chance to avenge that loss.