SAN MARCOS – Ask most informed spectators to associate one name with Vandegrift football, and that name is likely to belong to senior running back Travis Brannan.
To the casual viewer, you would expect the solution to the Vipers’ offensive puzzle would be to stop the 5-11, 170-pound back, but the senior proved it’s much easier to say than to do.
Brannan scored seven touchdowns without having to play more than three quarters, many of which came in a pivotal second quarter during Vandegrift’s 63-14 over San Marcos on Friday night.
“I knew (Brannan) was fast, I knew he was very strong, but he’s just got some subtle moves that you don’t really coach that are just innate. God gave him a lot of ability,” San Marcos head coach Mark Soto said.
The game looked like it would remain tight early, with Brannan and the Vipers scoring first, followed by San Marcos tying it up on a Victor Martinez touchdown.
The Vipers marched down the field again with Brannan scoring the touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kaleb Johnson returned it for a 95-yard touchdown with the momentum beginning to turn. The Rattlers recovered an onside kick and Carl Ahrens found Cavion Garner, who got all the way down to the 13.
A few penalties, which originally offset before the ruling on the field changed, took several minutes to sort out, effectively killing any momentum. San Marcos was pushed back and then committed a few more penalties, taking them out of field goal range. A fake field goal on fourth down was unsuccessful, and Vandegrift would not look back from there, scoring 28 points in the second half and keeping San Marcos at bay for the rest of the game.
The Vipers have been a high-scoring team all season, and scored 61 on Cedar Creek last week, and that was their calling card again on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Rattlers, their first play of the game was a signal of things to come as Zak Schoonover picked off Ahrens to get the Vipers in good field position.
Penalties and turnovers made it tough for the Rattlers recover, however Soto is just in his fourth year at San Marcos and says his group of seniors that he started with set the bar for the underclassmen after the Rattlers made their first playoff berth and got into the area round for the first time since 2007.
“These seniors left a legacy. The expectation now is to make the playoffs,” Soto said. “It’s up to the underclassmen to live up to the legacy and then push it further.”
Brannan ended the game with 211 yards rushing and 117 receiving. Junior quarterback Alex Fernandes was eight of ten for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
Vandegrift will move on to face Edinburg Vela on Friday at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.