3A Countdown: Garrett Smallwood, Syd Moore to Lead No. 8 Van Vandals
The Vandals may have lost all-American linebacker Dalton Santos (now at Texas) to graduation, but there cupboard certainly isn’t bare in Van where head coach Jared Moffatt welcomes 13 starters back to the fold in 2012.
The Vandals broke through with a 10-2 season a year ago, eventually bowing out to state power Gilmer, 57-40, in the area round of the playoffs.
Headlining the list of returnees for Van are quarterback Garrett Smallwood and defensive tackle Syd Moore.
Smallwood exploded onto the scene as a junior, passing for 3,135 yards and 34 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Moore (6-2, 260) has offers from SMU and Texas State and is garnering interest from several other schools after picking up 102 tackles and eight sacks in 2011.
Smallwood lost his favorite target, Colby Rucker, to graduation but has a couple of viable receivers returning in Rigo Lemus (5-9, 170) and junior Carson Rucker (6-3, 215). Lemus posted nearly 800 yards and nine touchdowns, while Rucker had 312 yards and four TDs.
All the pieces appear to be in place for another successful season for the Vandals. With Lindale moving up to 4A, the district is there for the taking. However, a first-round matchup would pit the Vandals against one of the area heavyweights from the “District of Doom” that is 16-3A.