Vandal defense shines in win over Crandall, 34-14

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home1/vanzand1/public_html/vanzandtnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home1/vanzand1/public_html/vanzandtnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home1/vanzand1/public_html/vanzandtnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).

In a season filled with impressive offensive numbers, it was the defense that shined the brightest for the undefeated Van Vandals Friday night as they pulled away in the second half to open District 8-4A, Division I play with a 34-14 victory over the upset-minded Crandall Pirates in Crandall.

Coach Jared Moffatt’s Vandals are now 5-0 overall, but more importantly, they are now 1-0 in District 8-4A, Division I competition tied with the Kaufman Lions and the Athens Hornets at the top of the district standings.

Two of the three co-leaders will go head-to-head Friday at 7:30 p.m. when the Vandals host Athens at Van’s Memorial Stadium in the only contest featuring a Van Zandt County team.

Against the Pirates, the Vandal defense forced five Crandall turnovers including a 15-yard scoop-and-score by Vandal linebacker Beckett Preston early in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach.

Vandal quarterback Garrett Moseley led the Vandal offense with 26 carries for 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns in addition to completing 10 out 20 passes for 151 yards, two TD’s and one interception.

Crandall received the opening kickoff and made their first turnover early as a fumble on third down and six at midfield by Dalton Sanders of the Pirates was recovered by Vandal defensive back Xavier Williams at the Pirate 39.

Seven plays later, Moseley connected with receiver Gus Brewer (five receptions, 45 yards) on a 4-yard TD pass play. Calen McKinney added the extra point giving the Vandals an early 7-0 advantage with 6:41 remaining in the first quarter.

A 20-yard pass completion from Moseley to receiver Ethan Robinson was a key play in the first scoring drive for the Vandals.

The next offensive possession for the Pirates resulted in a second turnover as Sanders fumbled with Van DB Ridge Preston recovering the ball at the Crandall 47.

Seven plays later, Moseley plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard QB sneak. McKinney added the extra point giving the Vandals a 14-0 lead with 3:08 still to play in the first quarter.

Another 20-yard pass completion from Moseley to Robinson was a key play in the scoring march for the Vandals.

Crandall responded by moving the ball from its own 25 to the Vandal 19 in eight plays including a 15-yard run by Pirate QB Josh Redding and an 18-yard pass completion from Redding to wide receiver Luke Spitzer.

Facing fourth down and five at the Vandal 19 on the opening play of the second quarter, Pirate kicker Edwin Perez was sent in to attempt a 36-yard field goal attempt but the kick was wide left keeping the Vandal lead at 14-0.

Following a Vandal punt, the Pirates had a third down and 15 at the Crandall 37 when Redding’s deep pass down the middle was intercepted by Ridge Preston at the Vandal 35.

Van took full advantage of the turnover as they moved 65 yards in nine plays to extend their lead with Moseley ending the long march on another 1-yard TD run. McKinney added the extra point to give the Vandals a seemingly comfortable 21-0 advantage with 4:43 remaining in the second quarter.

Key plays in the third Vandal scoring drive included a 45-yard pass completion from Moseley to receiver Bray Doring and an 11-yard run by Moseley.

Crandall showed no signs of backing down as they took the ensuing kickoff and got on the scoreboard with a 75-yard drive in eight plays.

Redding completed the scoring march by connecting with WR Hayden Pruitt on a 5-yard TD pass play on third down and goal. Perez added the extra point to cut the Vandal lead to 21-7 with 2:08 to play before halftime.

Running gains of 23 yards by Redding and 24 yards by Doneric Rivers in addition to a personal foul penalty against the Vandals were key plays in the first Pirate scoring drive.

Van moved from its own 37 to the Crandall 39 in nine plays that included the execution of a fake punt by Ridge Preston, the Vandal punter, who gained seven yards on fourth down and four to keep the scoring threat alive for the Vandals.

Two 13-yard runs by Moseley were also key plays in the final Vandal scoring threat of the first half but on fourth down and seven at the Crandall 39, Moseley was sacked for a six-yard loss allowing the Pirates to run out the first half clock and keep Van’s lead at 21-7 going into intermission.

The Vandals received the third quarter kickoff and moved 65 yards in 12 plays to extend their advantage as the scoring drive chewed up almost half of the third quarter clock.

Moseley connected with Robinson on a 7-yard TD pass play to end the time-consuming drive and give the Vandals a 27-7 lead with 7:20 to play in the third quarter. The extra point attempt by McKinney was wide left.

Key plays in what turned out to be Van’s final offensive scoring march of the game included pass completions from Moseley to Brewer covering 13 and 16 yards in addition to a 12-yard run by Moseley.

Crandall again responded by moving 75 yards on four consecutive running plays to get back into the contest.

Rivers (18 carries, 152 yards) ended the short scoring march with a 28-yard TD run. Perez added the extra point cutting Van’s advantage to 27-14 with 6:06 still to play in the third quarter. A 33-yard run by Rivers opened the scoring drive.

Van appeared to be on its way to adding to its lead on its next offensive possession as they moved from its own 21 to the Pirate 22 in six plays including a 14-yard pass completion from Moseley to Doring and a 22-yard run by Moseley.

The scoring threat ended on second down and five at the Pirate 22 when Moseley’s pass into the end zone was intercepted by Crandall cornerback Rahzel Young and returned to the Pirate 40.

Van’s defense again answered the call on fourth down and four for the Pirates at the Crandall 46 when Redding’s pass over the middle to Spitzer was incomplete giving the ball back to the Vandals.

Following a Vandal punt at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Pirates had possession at their own 22 but three plays later, another Crandall turnover gave momentum back to the Vandals as a low snap from center was fumbled by Redding.

Vandal linebacker Beckett Preston picked up the loose football and ran 15 yards for a TD. McKinney added the extra point giving the Vandals a big lift and a 34-14 lead with 11:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

After a 48-yard punt by the Pirates pinned the Vandals deep in their own end of the field at the 7-yard line, Van began to take time off the clock as they executed seven consecutive running plays including running gains of 21, 12 and 11 yards by reserve running back Elijah Rankine (8 carries, 75 yards) as the Vandals registered a couple of first downs before being forced to punt at the Crandall 45.

Three plays later, on third down and 18 at their own 13, Redding’s pass deep down the middle was intercepted again by Ridge Preston at the Vandal 48.

Van was later forced to punt the ball back to Crandall allowing the Pirates to end the game on a 16-yard pass completion from Redding to Pruitt giving the Pirates a first down at their own 26.