Photo: Charleston Gladden/TexasHSFootball
KAUFMAN — The shots traded — the 30-, 89- and 7-yard touchdowns by Lion quarterback Trey Collier and the two strikes thrown by the Vandals Garrett Moseley — in the first half was only part the story of an upset.
Maybe not even the most important part of Kaufman High School’s 43-35 defeat of Associated Press No. 8 Van High School on Friday night at Lion Stadium.
It was the more than 200 yards of offense the Lions amassed in the second half behind Collier and lead back Jay Gasper. It was the second of two interceptions by Jay’s brother Cecil Gasper that stole chances away from Van and his 44-yard touchdown reception that gifted those chances to a surging Lion offense.
It was the way the Lion defense rose to the challenge and stopped Moseley and the Vandals on a crucial 4th and 13 that could have turned a 15-point deficit into one of the eight-point variety and opened the door to a possible comeback with enough time to spare to make it a reality.
“It was huge,” Kaufman Head Coach Jeramy Burleson said. “It gave us the ball back and let us milk the clock and get out of here with a win before they put another one in the end zone. With that quarterback and that offense, they’re capable of scoring on every play.”
One team entered the game undefeated, notching trademark victories against 5A Lindale and 4A Brownsboro. The other had no notable victories but one loss to TAPPS 5A reigning state champion Bishop Lynch High School — a team that is undefeated at 9-0 and added UIL 6A Irving and possible District 7-4A-1 Princeton to its list of gridiron victims.
Van, despite the deceptive two-touchdown margin, threw its fair share of counter punches — first with a 1-yard jab by Moseley via ground and pound and three hooks via the air to sophomore Ethan Robinson.
“Their offense is unbelievable,” Burleson added. “I think they’re going to make a run in the playoffs and we just happened to come out on top tonight.”
The Vandals 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior gunslinger was a key proponent of the margin being as close as it was, Burleson noted about how the game unfolded and giving credit to Van and its “gutsy” quarterback. Moseley either stood tall in the pocket and braved hits to complete passes to open receivers, slid inside shrinking pocket space to find time, or escaped the furious Lion rush that threatened to swallow him whole, finishing 21 for 46 with 215 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.
That number line — as well as Robinson’s nine receptions, 85 yards, and three scores — would have been good enough to beat most teams not lead by Collier.
Collier threw for 108 yards and a touchdown and completed three of his four passes and ran for 285 yards and four touchdowns while Jay (12 rush, 49 yards) and Devyn Morris (4 rush, 12 yards, TD) added 61 yards rushing to Kaufman’s total.
“I give credit to my O-line,” Collier said about his 62-yard scamper, deflecting credit to the hulking front that bulldozed a path to the end zone, specifically during the four-play, 84-yard third quarter drive that extended the Lions’ lead to 15 points. “They block for me and help me out a lot. It’s the pass protection. It’s everything.”
It was a measure of redemption for Collier, who had suffered injuries in back-to-back years, as well as for a Kaufman team that fell short of claiming an outright district championship after falling to Van 33-16 last season.
“Every game is its own individual game. You can look at rankings if you want to and throw all that stuff out of the window when you have two teams that are undefeated,” Burleson said. “Van’s a really, really good football team. [Finishing the season as district champions] was a position that we wanted to be in all season. We told them all they had to do just go play our Kaufman brand of football. They did that and we took care of business.”
While the Lions watch how seeds No. 3 and No. 4 unfold and shake out, district No. 2 Van will face a 2-3 Terrell team battling for its playoff life.
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