Garrett Moseley + No. 8 Van Remain Unbeaten With 33-14 Defeat of Kaufman
VAN -- The Van Vandals have passed every test thrown their way this season. And there's just one more hurdle to clear for Van's second undefeated regular season in three years.
Garrett Moseley rolled up 452 yards of total offense and accounted for all five touchdowns in the eighth-ranked Vandals' 33-14 victory over Kaufman on Friday night, putting Van on the doorstep of an outright District 8-4A Division I championship.
Van (9-0, 5-0) faces Terrell (7-2, 4-1) on the road next week with the district's No. 1 seed for the playoffs at stake.
“We were 8-0 but in district it all starts over," said Van senior receiver Isaiah Allred, who picked up his first Division I scholarship offer from Missouri State just hours prior to kickoff. "We came into this game knowing we had to win this game to get in position for a district championship.”
Moseley did it all on offense for Van, completing 11 of 15 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for a season-high 204 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
The Vandals' junior quarterback surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season with Friday's performance, and will enter next week's regular-season finale with 2,942 total yards and 41 touchdowns.
“Garrett’s been doing that all year long, it seems like he scores five touchdowns every game whether it’s throwing or running," said Van coach Jared Moffatt. "I can’t say enough about the way he plays the game. He has a lot help out there; his receivers are playing great and they made some tremendous catches tonight.”
Allred caught two of Moseley's scoring tosses, and finished with four catches for 119 yards. Connor Houston had a team-high five receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, while Holden Myers was on the receiving end of Moseley's other TD pass.
Moseley had five runs on the night of at least 20 yards.
“I’m just patient and wait for them to make a big hole," Moseley said. "You can drive trucks through half the holes that they give to me. They’re the best offensive line, I think in Texas right now.”
Van's defense dominated Kaufman (7-3, 5-1) in the first half, holding the Lions to just 54 yards of offense and three first downs. Kaufman regrouped with a pair of long scoring drives in the third quarter, but a turnover deep inside its own territory helped Van finish off the game.
With the Vandals leading 27-14 in the early stages of the fourth quarter, Van senior safety Cooper Bledsoe picked up a Kaufman fumble at the Lions' 1-yard line. Following a delay of game penalty, Moseley's 6-yard touchdown run with 10:15 remaining pushed Van's lead to three scores.
“As expected Kaufman came out in the second half, and they weren’t going away," Moffatt said. "But I was real proud of the way we finished the game. The defense rose up and got a stop when we needed to. We got a turnover down there that set up our last score. And the offense did what they had to do to win the game.”
Kaufman junior running back Marquithias Johnson had 133 yards (127 in the second half) on 21 carries and both touchdowns to lead the Lions.
Bledsoe continued his stellar senior season on the defensive side of the ball for Van. He came up with his East Texas-leading seventh interception of the year in the first half in addition to the second-half fumble recovery.
“Cooper’s been a great player for us for three years," Moffatt said. "He’s the guy on that defense that we’ve leaned on, and we’ve needed him to make great plays, and he has all year long. He’s just a tremendous competitor, a warrior, and I’m so proud of the way he’s playing this year. He’s a big reason why our defense is playing the way they are.”
Bledsoe left the game midway through the fourth quarter with an apparent injury to his right ankle, and did not return.
Kaufman went to the ground exclusively to begin third quarter, rumbling 69 yards in a 10-play, five-minute drive. Johnson's 5-yard touchdown cut Van's lead to 20-7 midway through the third.
It took Van only four plays to respond. Moseley hit Allred for a 30-yard gain on the first play, and that was followed by back-to-back Moseley carries that netted 30 yards. Allred beat his man in single coverage on the next play, hauling in a 15-yard touchdown pass for a 27-7 lead.
“With our receivers, we have tons of playmakers," Allred said. "But definitely when it’s one-on-one coverage, it’s kinda like a sigh of relief.”
Kaufman's ensuing drive featured a lot more of Johnson, who broke off a 8-yard run on fourth-and-4 to the Van 37, and scored two plays later on a 20-yard burst, cutting the deficit to 27-14 with 2:38 remaining in the third.
Van's next possession stalled, but Zeke Betancourt downed a Houston punt inside the Kaufman 1-yard line, which set up Bledsoe's fumble recovery and Moseley's touchdown run on the next play.
Van avoided disaster on its opening possession of the game when Houston raced 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage to chase after an errant snap on a punt attempt. Houston won the race, then managed just get off what ended up being a 15-yard punt, instead of sizable loss on fourth down.
The Vandals then forced a three-and-out. Moseley took off for 38 yards on first down, and three plays later, connected with Houston over the middle of the field for a 21-yard touchdown and 7-0 Van lead.
Following another Kaufman three-and-out, Van aired it out as Moseley heaved a pass deep down the sideline to Allred, who beat the cornerback for a 60-yard touchdown, which gave the Vandals a 14-0 advantage with 3:43 to play in the first quarter.
“(Offensive coordinator Zac Harrell) knows that when Isaiah’s one-on-one we’re just gonna throw it up to him," Moseley said. "It doesn’t even have to be a good pass. He was covered, broke out of the coverage, went up and got the ball like he always does.”
Van extended its lead late in the first half by traveling 86 yards in only five plays. Moseley's 18-yard touchdown pass to Myers with 1:36 until halftime gave the Vandals a commanding 20-0 lead.
“We didn’t start great, we punted on our first series, and then kinda settled down and made some plays," Moffatt said. "The defense just played outstanding in the first half. The guys on that side of the ball just played their tails off. Fly to the football and it’s a race to get there.”
Added Moseley: “The defense is so good. We know that if we get stopped and go to the sideline, the defense is gonna get it right back. That’s gives you a confidence boost. It was the defense’s game tonight, it wasn’t our game.”
No. 8 Van 33, Kaufman 14
At Van Memorial Stadium
Kaufman 0 0 14 0 -- 14
Van 14 6 7 6 -- 33
VAN--Connor Houston 21 pass from Garrett Moseley (Alex Vasquez kick), 6:51.
VAN--Isaiah Allred 60 pass from Moseley (Vasquez kick), 3:43.
VAN--Holden Myers 18 pass from Moseley (kick failed), 1:36.
KAU--Marquithias Johnson 5 run (Abraham Garcia kick), 7:04.
VAN--Allred 15 pass from Moseley (Vasquez kick), 5:46.
KAU--Johnson 20 run (Garcia kick), 2:38.
VAN--Moseley 6 run (kick failed), 10:15.
First Downs 11 19
Total Yards 217 501
Rushes-Yards 41-189 27-253
Passing Yards 28 248
Comp.-Att.-Int. 4-15-1 11-15-0
Punts-Avg. 5-40.6 3-27.7
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-37 9-66
RUSHING--Kaufman, Marquithias Johnson 21-133, De'Kembe McCullar 6-24, Dre Prox 6-21, Devyn Morris 3-9, Jacob Nalls 5-2. Van, Garrett Moseley 20-204, Reid Thomas 6-44, Cooper Bledsoe 1-5.
PASSING--Kaufman, Ralls 4-15-1--28. Van, Moseley 11-15-0--248.
RECEIVING--Kaufman, Drue Armstrong 2-20, Prox 2-8. Van, Connor Houston 5-96, Isaiah Allred 4-119, Holden Myers 2-33.