AUSTIN (KXAN) — In just seven years of varsity football, Vandegrift has quickly established itself as one of the premiere teams in Class 5A.
“We’ve come a long way as a program,” senior center Jake Helton said. “We’re a new program. Really confident in ourselves. We’re proud of what we have and our traditions and what we’ve built here in such a short period of time.”
Last year, the Vipers played in the state quarterfinals, and two years ago, they made it all the way to the state semifinals.
“We made a name for ourselves in the 5A division, so moving up, we’re gonna have to do the same thing,” senior quarterback Alex Fernandes said. “But I think we’re more than capable of doing it.”
That move up means that for the first time in school history, Vandegrift will play in the state’s largest classification. Their new district features Lake Travis and Westlake, who both played for a state championship last season, and Vista Ridge, who beat the Vipers in the state quarterfinals last season. Leander is also making the move from up from district 25-5A to district 25-6A.
“Some people have labeled it the district of death and all these other things, but I can tell you that the last four years, we haven’t had an easy district, and we’ve played really good opponents,” head coach drew sanders said. “Every week, it’s been a slug fest.”
This Friday, The Vipers will get their introduction to Class 6A with a visit from one of the most legendary teams in state history: Odessa Permian.
“I’m sure 95 percent of the people on this team have seen Friday Night Lights and kept up with it,” Fernandes said. “We were pretty excited to see that game on our schedule. Definitely one for the books.”
“It’s gonna be breathtaking, man,” senior linebacker Storm Wilson said. “It’s gonna be insane. You look at this, and you look at tv and you think, ‘Wow, that’s insane.’ Big football teams like that, and then you wake up the next morning, and you’re like, ‘Woah, I’m playing them. This is it. I’m in it now. This is what I asked for, this is what I dream about. This is it.'”
“To be honest, it’ll only be cool if we win,” Sanders said. “But it is, it’s a very unique game. Of course, Permian, how could you pass up a chance to play those guys. Friday Night Lights, books and movies and everything else. To get a chance to play those guys, it’s a huge honor, and hopefully we’ll perform well.”