SAY A PRAYER AND LET IT FLY: Vandegrift's Arnold kicks field goal as time expires to defeat Katy 38-35
Game 1 of the 2022 season for the Vipers and Game 15 ended the same way.....well almost. In Week 1 of the season the Vipers lost to Dripping Springs on a field goal as time expired. In Week 15, and with a ticket to state on the line, it was the Vipers turn to play the hero as Hayden Arnold for the Vipers kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to defeat the Katy Tigers 38-35 to send the Vipers to their first ever state championship.
"When I was doing my warm-up kicks I said a prayer," said kicker Hayden Arnold. "And I knew if I gave it to God it would go in. Like my dad always says say a prayer and let it fly. And I knew giving it to God, it was all him out there not me."
The victory sends the Vipers (14-1) to the state championship game, where they will face DeSoto (13-2) at 3PM Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
"It's amazing, I've been at Vandegrift since it opened," Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders said. "I think about all the guys that I have coached since I started a JV season and to think not just a state championship but 6A, the highest classification, it's almost overwhelming for me."
Vandegrift quarterback Brayden Buchanan, 453-yards, and wide receiver Miles Coleman powered a Viper passing game that saw nearly 500-yards passing with each throwing for two touchdowns in the game.
Offensive Coordinator Blake Mouser pulled out all the tricks early in the game when a backwards pass to Miles Coleman allowed him to pass to Charlie Oliver for a 14-yard touchdown
Coleman finished 2/2 for 31-yards and two touchdowns passing, as the Vipers would use the same play late in the 4th to take a one score lead.
"Miles has a lot of secret weapons," said coach Sanders. "Everyone knows about his speed, but he has a lot of other talents. So me and Coach Mouser we said let's just let it all hang today and let it roll. To beat a 9-time state champion we have to put all the cards on the table."
Coleman, who also finished with seven catchers for 184-yards and 1 touchdown, was unstoppable all game.
"Miles makes big catches for 40-yards and then throws just as many touchdown passes as I do," quarterback Brayden Buchanan. "He's just an unreal player and it's awesome to have him on our team."
Katy would answer Vandegrift's scores all game long behind the legs of Seth Davis who had 248-yards on the ground.
"He is very good, so we were just going to keep on finding a way to keep on stopping him," coach Sanders said. "Proud of our guys and they have tremendous resolve."
Vandegrift would get the ball back with just under two minutes with a tie ball game and the chance to take the lead. Buchanan and his offense was ready.
"I just pumped them up," said Buchanan. "We knew we could go down and score right there and win the game. We had complete confidence no one had a doubt in their mind."
A roughing the passer penalty would put the Vipers inside Tiger territory and a couple of passes later Vandegrift found themselves at the Katy 20 with two seconds remaining. When trotting out on the field, kicker Hayden Arnold had one thought on his mind.
"Just give it to God," said Arnold. "He knew what was going to happen, so thank God he put me in that position"