Garrett Moseley + Van Snap Mineola’s Regular Season Winning Streak At 17 Games
MINEOLA -- Garrett Moseley stopped and sat on a ledge against Meredith Memorial Stadium's away side stands after the game. He was totally exhausted and only halfway back to Van's locker room.
Moseley ran for five touchdowns Friday in the Vandals' 41-21 win versus Mineola. The quarterback, who looked a lot like old Oklahoma signal caller Blake Bell on this particular night, accepted praise from fans in the sitting position.
"Honestly, it's full credit to the line," Moseley said, still sitting on that ledge. "That's all I can say. The linemen are working hard, man. They're the best guys on the field. That's all I have to say about my night."
Van (1-0) did look much better than just two weeks ago when the running game sputtered in a tiny sample size against White Oak in a scrimmage. It appeared the four new offensive lineman and returning center Caleb York meshed since.
Moseley called his own number 27 times and ran for 132 yards plus four scores. He also got the ball twice as a running back with fellow junior Jaxson Taylor under center and scored on his second run toward nine yards at the position.
Cooper Bledsoe, a three-year starter at safety, broke off seven runs for 50 yards in his first game as a double-duty player from the running back spot. Reid Thomas put up 18 yards on two carries.
In the same 48-minute span, Moseley completed 8 of 12 passes for 125 yards.
Taylor helped add Van's other touchdown in the game on a 35-yard strike Isaiah Allred pulled down on deflection in the end zone as part of a 2-for-2 night for 70 yards.
"We've got four new offensive linemen with Caleb York, who is the only starter there coming back," Van head coach Jared Moffatt said. "The four guys that are playing are going to be good, but this was their first varsity game. First varsity experience. On offense, we had eight new starters.
"I was really proud of how they responded. We played a really good football team with (11) starters back (on defense) that won 14 games last year. I think the line is going to continue to grow. They have a chance to be really good, and I hope you saw a glimpse of that tonight."
Mineola (0-1), a Class 3A Division I program, stayed stride-for-stride with Van from the Class 4A Division I level through most of the first half despite setbacks.
The Vandals cashed in on the game's first possession with a 7-yard run from Moseley to end an eight-play, 62-yard drive ahead of a missed extra point. The Yellowjackets answered that score in six plays featuring four runs of 11 yards or more for a 7-6 lead on a 5-yard run from quarterback Jeremiah Crawford and kick from Cameron Sorenson.
Van punted away its second possession and turnovers began to plague Mineola. It fumbled right back to the Vandals -- which cost it a 1-yard scoring run from Moseley at running back and a 13-7 deficit -- before giving up a second quarter interception and 35-yard return to Bledsoe that immediately translated into Allred's grab for a 20-7 score.
Linebacker Michael Huffer put the pressure on Crawford. Mineola head coach Joe Drennon said he read the coverage Van was about to execute and should have called a timeout, so fans should pin the blame on him rather than Crawford.
Crawford cut his squad's 20-7 deficit on a 1-yard score at the end of another 69-yard drive, but Moseley's 4-yard, third touchdown 4:10 afterward gave Van a 27-14 lead at the break.
Bledsoe got another pick on the final play of the first half. Crawford went for a 37-yard Hail Mary pass.
Huffer killed Mineola's opening possession of the second half by taking down running back Chantz Perkins for a 10-yard loss. Perkins ultimately took 15 touches for a net of 81 yards.
Moffatt and offensive coordinator Zach Harrell slowed Moseley and company down at the start of the second half, but the quarterback dropped the hammer on a 9-yard run that put the exclamation point to an 80-yard drive over 7:43 for a 34-14 edge.
Crawford scored a 22-yard touchdown with 1:13 to play in the third frame -- and Van turned the ball over on downs at Mineola's 21-yard line early in the fourth quarter -- but the Yellowjackets then turned the ball over on downs at their own 37-yard line and drew a personal foul penalty in frustration.
Moseley capped a 22-yard drive from four yards away with 4:43 to play and the two sides went to backups.
"Like I told our kids, we've got to see the big picture of everything," Drennon said. "We're focused on the now, don't get me wrong, but we have to realize this game is going to make us better when we get to the playoffs. We wanted to see this type of caliber team. You always know Van is going to be tough. Coach Moffatt does a great job.
"They took it to us tonight. We had some chances, but we turned around and made some mistakes. It cost us."
Connor Houston somewhat quietly led Van with 105 yards receiving. A 38-yard comeback catch over defensive back Frankie Meason pushed both Houston and Moseley past the 100-yard mark in the passing game.
Unfortunately, Houston immediately seized up with cramps in both his legs at the start of the fourth quarter. He did not return, but he said he was fine after the contest.
Crawford led Mineola with 181 yards on 13 carries and completed 3 of 9 passes for 37 yards.
Like Drennon said, the Yellowjackets sought challenges through non-district to prepare for a third consecutive run toward a 3A Division I crown on the heels of a 2014 championship game appearance and a 2015 state semifinals appearance with 18 total starters back for this campaign.
They'll only be playing 4A teams from the Division I and Division II levels before beginning district play Sept. 30.
The gauntlet resumes next Friday when Mineola travels to Kaufman, which won Van's district's championship last season.
Van, simultaneously, hosts Princeton.
"They might be a smaller team, but they're a great team," Bledsoe said. "We definitely didn't take them lightly. We didn't underestimate them all week. We knew they were a good team. They've had far drives in the playoffs and have great players with Chantz and Jeremiah. But we didn't take them lightly, came out with the best mindset we could and came out with the W."
Van 41, Mineola 21
At Meredith Memorial Stadium, Mineola
Van 13 14 7 7 -- 41
Mineola 7 7 7 0 -- 21
VAN--Garrett Moseley 7 run (kick failed), 9:34
MIN--Jeremiah Crawford 5 run (Cameron Sorenson kick), 7:40
VAN--Moseley 1 run (Alex Vasquez kick), :37
VAN--Isaiah Allred 35 pass from Jaxon Taylor (Vasquez kick), 11:19
MIN--Crawford 1 run (Sorenson kick), 8:59
VAN--Moseley 4 run (Vasquez kick), 4:36
VAN--Moseley 9 run (Vasquez kick), 2:41
MIN--Crawford 22 run (Sorenson kick), 1:13
VAN--Moseley 4 run (Vasquez kick), 4:43
First Downs 21 17
Total Yards 404 273
Rushes-Yards 38-209 31-235
Passing Yards 195 38
Comp.-Att.-Int. 10-14-0 4-10-2
Punts-Avg. 1-30 3-36.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-1
Penalties-Yards 6-60 4-50
RUSHING--Van, Garrett Moseley 29-141, Cooper Bledsoe 7-50, Reid Thomas 2-18. Mineola, Jeremiah Crawford 13-181, Chantz Perkins 15-81, Michael Drennon 1-2, Seth Hudgins 1-(-14), TEAM 1-(-15).
PASSING--Van, Moseley 8-12-0--125, Jaxson Taylor 2-2-0--70. Mineola, Crawford 3-9-2--37, Hudgins 1-1-0--(-1).
RECEIVING--Van, Connor Houston 6-105, Isaiah Allred 2-54, Cooper Bledsoe 1-27, Thomas 2-18. Mineola, Drennon 2-20, Kourtland Sinches 1-17, Chantz Perkins 1-(-1).