By Amira Van Leeuwen
SAN ANTONIO — The Dripping Springs Tigers (12-1 overall, 7-1 district) are headed to the Region IV-6A D1 championship after shutting out the Harlingen Cardinals (12-1 overall, 5-0 district) at the Alamodome on Friday (45-0).
Only a handful of Texas high school football teams get the privilege of playing football in December, and for the Tigers, that’s something incredibly special for them.
“When you get to play a game in December it feels really good. There’s not many that get to do it every year and a lot of times it’s the same people,” said Galen Zimmerman, Dripping Springs head football coach.
The Tigers scored early in the first quarter after Novosad hit junior wide receiver Kyle Koch who ran for 23 yards into the endzone. Senior wide receiver Walker Wright kicked the extra point, and the Tigers were ahead 7-0.
Koch has been a key player for the Tigers all season long, and the Harlingen game was no exception as Koch contributed three touchdowns.
The game was over when Harlingen’s junior quarterback Randy Morales’s pass was intercepted by senior defensive end Nathan Prehar, who took it all the way to the endzone for a 15-yard return to extend the Tigers’ lead 27-0.
Prehar couldn’t believe what had just happened. “Getting the touchdown was very surreal,” Prehar said.
Just the day before, Prehar’s grandfather had asked him why he didn’t have a touchdown yet and made him promise him that he would get a touchdown in the Harlingen game.
“That touchdown was for my grandfather,” Prehar said.
Shortly after, the crowd went wild while being completely in awe after Wright jumped up for a one-handed catch to close out the first half, which was a part of a route that he and Novosad have been working on all season.
At the start of the third quarter, Wright kicked a 25-yard field goal that increased Dripping Springs’ lead to 38-0. The Tigers scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter and sent the Cardinals back to the Valley scoreless.
Despite the Tigers’ nearly perfect record, they still need to work on some things like turnovers, dropped passes, sacks and unnecessary penalties.
“There [are]just some things we can clean up a little bit with execution on some of that stuff,” Zimmerman said.
But the Tigers’ playoff journey is far from over as they will travel to Cedar Park’s Gupton Stadium to meet the Austin Vandegrift Vipers in the fourth round of playoffs on Saturday.