Van Blows Away Paris In 4A Division I Regional Semifinals
ALLEN -- Garrett Moseley accounted for three rushing scores in the first half. He also had two passing touchdowns before the band performances.
The third quarter saw Van's junior dual-threat quarterback accumulate a fourth rushing score and more than 100 yards on the ground to burn those 12 minutes off the clock.
Fourth quarter? Didn't matter.
The Vandals suffered two defensive gaffes in the opening frame, but they ultimately got their bearings on that side of the ball and blew past Paris, 55-27, in Friday's Class 4A Division I, Region II semifinal game at Allen High School's Eagle Stadium.
"It feels real special," Van head coach Jared Moffatt said. "Especially with this group of kids. What they've accomplished, and what they've battled through, just to do what they've done so far is tremendous. To be one of the last eight teams standing already is an honor. Couldn't be more proud of the kids and coaches."
Van (12-1), which faced Paris for the first time since a first-round loss in the 2014 postseason, now awaits Kennedale in next week's Region II championship game. The surviving teams will meet at 7:30 p.m. next Friday inside the Dallas Cowboys' indoor practice stadium at The Star in Frisco.
Paris (9-4) looked like a squad capable of giving the Vandals a game early. Running back Donovan Williams broke off first-quarter touchdown runs of 53 and 42 yards right up the middle of the defense for leads of 6-0 and 13-7.
Van brought its secondary down to help contain Williams after the second score. From there, the defense only gave up a turnover-assisted 33-yard touchdown drive just before the half and a 54-yard touchdown throw late in the third quarter.
Paris' final touchdown of the season made the score 42-27 in favor of the Vandals.
Moseley and company scored touchdowns on their first five possessions and converted eight of 10 drives for six or more points before turning to backups for the game's final 6:25.
Running plays dominated Van's scoresheet, but receivers Isaiah Allred and Holden Myers convinced Paris they had to respect the passing aspect and opened lanes for the runners.
Down 6-0 after a missed Paris extra point kick, Allred converted third-and-8 from his own 34 with a 32-yard grab. Allred scored three plays later on a 17-yard screen pass from Moseley for a brief 7-6 advantage.
Moseley threw a 27-yard pass to Myers to put Van in the red zone its next time out. Moseley was in the end zone four plays later for a permanent lead, 14-13, with Alex Vasquez's extra point kick.
The Vandals' defense came up with four consecutive stops afterward, including a turnover on downs the team converted into a touchdown the other way.
Moseley ran in from four yards to end a 94-yard drive, he found Tre Lovett for a 15-yard scoring strike and then he scored from four yards a second time for a 35-13 advantage with 2:50 left in the half.
Paris forced the first half's lone turnover in the final minute by blindsiding Moseley. Defensive lineman Demetric Glover recovered the fumble and Jalon Pipkins won out in one-on-one coverage in the back corner of the end zone just before the halftime whistle.
Moseley threw for 217 yards in the first half and had 91 rushing yards before his fumble and a loss of 12 yards. He finished with 228 passing yards as part of 13-of-21 day and upped his rushing total to 201 yards on 27 carries.
"I was actually on the sideline for that Paris game in 2014," Moseley said. "Last year was kind of a rebuilding year, a bunch of young guys on the team. We got it all together this summer. This is fun. Fun stuff."
Friday's third quarter was a big departure from the earlier periods. Van broke through inside the four-minute mark after trading punts with Paris on a 2-yard Moseley dive toward 122 yards on 13 carries in that quarter alone.
Montavius McCarty trumped Van's manned-up secondary for a 54 yard score the next play from scrimmage.
Cooper Bledsoe, most notable as a three-year starter at safety, and Reid Thomas added late scores for the Vandals. Bledsoe recorded 97 yards on eight carries in addition to an East Texas-leading ninth interception on the defensive side of things.
"We really put in the work in the offseason," Bledsoe said. "We felt good about this game, but we also knew we needed a level head and composure. The team really came together and played as one. Losing to Paris sophomore year is something that really stuck with me, so I know I was fired up and the guys were fired up. We're just ready to keep on rolling."
Kennedale, a perennial late-round playoff team, defeated Midlothian Heritage by a score of 49-47 Friday evening to draw the meeting with Van. It stopped a Heritage two-point conversion in the final minutes that otherwise would have forced overtime.
The Vandals and Kennedale share two common opponents.
Most notably, Kennedale defeated Terrell once in the regular season and then again in the playoffs whereas Van lost to Terrell in its regular season finale. Kennedale, like the Vandals, also earned a win against Mineral Wells.
"The only way I can think of this is that it's surreal," Allred said. "We have a real chance of going to state. Everyone always talks about the goals ahead of the year. 'State.' But now that it's actually a reality we could actually go there, it's surreal."
Van 55, Paris 27
Class 4A Division I, Region II Semifinal Playoff Game
At Eagle Stadium, Allen
Van 14 21 13 7 -- 55
Paris 13 7 7 0 -- 27
PAR--Dononvan Williams 53 run (kick failed), 10:14
VAN--Isaiah Allred 17 pass from Garrett Moseley (Alex Vasquez kick), 8:11
PAR--Williams 42 run (Zachery Lamb kick), 6:19
VAN--Moseley 8 run (Vasquez kick), 3:37
VAN--Moseley 4 run (Vasquez kick), 9:56
VAN--Tre Lovett 28 pass from Moseley (Vasquez kick), 4:57
VAN--Moseley 4 run (Vasquez kick), 2:50
PAR--Jalon Pipkins 18 pass from Je'Kerion Brown (Lamb kick), :06
VAN--Moseley 2 run (Vasquez kick), 3:34
PAR--Montavius McCarty 54 pass from Brown (Lamb kick), 3:16
VAN--Cooper Bledsoe 18 run (kick failed), 1:23
VAN--Reid Thomas 5 run (Vasquez kick), 8:01
First Downs 32 13
Total Yards 599 338
Rushes-Yards 49-371 32-214
Passing Yards 228 124
Comp.-Att.-Int. 13-21-0 12-21-1
Punts-Avg. 1-38 4-39.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-35 6-60
RUSHING--Van, Garrett Moseley 27-201, Cooper Bledsoe 8-97, Reid Thomas 7-46, Connor Houston 3-25, Davonta Johnson 4-2. Paris, Donovan Williams 11-135, Quinndarian Perry 9-36, Ja'Kerion Brown 9-21, Montavius McCarty 1-15, James Neal 2-7
PASSING--Van, Moseley 13-21-0--228 . Paris, Brown 11-20-1--124, Wesley Gage 1-1-0--0.
RECEIVING--Van, Isaiah Allred 4-88, Tre Lovett 3-58, Holden Myers 2-46, Houston 2-25, Bledsoe 2-11. Paris, McCarty 2-59, Jalon Pipkins 2-25, Kelontre Scott 3-19, Perry 3-11, Williams 1-10, Chandler Aynes 1-0.