By Wayland D. Clark
CEDAR PARK — Last Friday night at Gupton Stadium in a 6A Division 2 regional championship, Dripping Springs’ first year in 6A and best ever football season ended (27-24) after failing to score a touchdown to take the lead. With 1:55 remaining in the game, on fourth down and less than a yard, a field goal could have tied the game, but the Tigers elected to try to win it with Austin Novosad on a quarterback sneak up the middle. Vandegrift’s defense was ready and stopped the surge inches away from a score as the Tigers (12-2) fumbled the ball.
Vandegrift (13-1) got the ball back with less than two minutes to play, held on to win and will move on to the state semifinals to meet Katy High School on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Vandegrift’s only loss of the season was a 23-20 loss to the Tigers in the two teams’ season opener.
“It hurts and it should hurt,” head coach Galen Zimmerman told the team after the game, “You’ve worked hard and invested a lot but don’t let this diminish what you guys accomplished this season.”
The Tigers got on the board first after a Landon Requard interception when Kade Curry scored on a 1 yard run and a 39-yard Walker Wright field goal earned a 10-7 lead in the first quarter. A 4-yard run by Jack Tyndall and PAT by Aiden Burgess made it 17-7 but the Vipers tied it by half time with an 11-yard touchdown run and a 50-yard field goal. Kyle Koch caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Novosad to go up 24-17 but the Vipers again tied it with a 27-yard touchdown pass to end the third quarter. A 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave the Vipers their first lead in the game and a 27-24 win.
Novosad, who is headed to play at Baylor, completed 8 of 13 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. He has passed for 2,911 yards this season, averaging 216 passing yards and 3 touchdown passes per game. This year’s team has had record attendance including a sell out at home against Westlake. “These fans cheered us on this whole run. They did everything they could to support us and we’re thankful for that,” Novosad said after the game.
Curry, a senior, rushed for 78 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. Sophomore Jack Tyndall led the team with 32 carries totaling 161 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Koch led receivers with 4 receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Senior Garon Duncan had 2 receptions for 30 yards and senior defensive back Grayson Jones had an interception in the second quarter. “They played good enough to win and I’m proud of these kids. It’s hard to believe we didn’t score,” Zimmerman said.