AUSTIN (KXAN) — Vandegrift and Cedar Park have developed an intense rivalry over the years after several meetings on the football field. The two teams will duke it out for the 12th straight season Friday night at Vandegrift.
It’s a non-district game, but it has a playoffs-type buzz surrounding it, even though it’s usually played opening week. From 2010 to 2015, Vandegrift and Cedar Park were district foes. In 2016, Vandegrift moved up to 6A, but the two teams continued the series in the non-district.
“Normally this week, things will get heated, a little bit of trash talk in the game,” Vandegrift senior wide receiver Graylan Spring said. “We’re just going to do our own thing and not let them get in our heads.”
Vandegrift finished 9-3 last season, making the UIL state playoffs and going on a solid run until losing to Hays High School in the fourth round.
Cedar Park went 14-1 in 2020, falling to Denton Ryan in the 5A-D1 state championship game. The Timberwolves have a new head coach with Michael Quintero taking over following Carl Abseck’s departure to Barbers Hill High School. Cedar Park hopes this first game against Vandegrift will send a signal that they plan in be in Arlington once again in 2021.
“The tradition here has been built for a while now,” Quintero said. “That’s one of the things coming into the community, I knew what I was getting into and what I was going to get when I got here.”
“We’re very motivated,” senior quarterback Josh Pell said. “We remember last year, we remember the feeling we have in our stomachs still from losing that game, so we’re just trying to make it back there. We’re embracing all our new coaches and what they have to bring and what they have to teach. We’re just really embracing the process right now and just ready to get the season started with our new coaches.”
Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders is familiar with Cedar Park, spending time there as an assistant earlier in his career.
“I have a lot of history with them, and I’ve been on the sideline for all of the battles,” Sanders said. “Every game we’ve played in the last few years has been down to the wire, and everybody knows that, it’s a rivalry with two great teams getting after it and people want to show up and see that.”
Vandegrift has won two out of the last three games against Cedar Park, with the Timberwolves winning last year’s meeting 21-7.
Kickoff for this year’s game is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Monroe Memorial Stadium at Vandegrift High School.