MESQUITE — Van needed one half of football to secure its place in the area round, building a 42-0 halftime lead en route to a 51-23 victory over Ferris on Thursday in their Class 2A Division II bi-district playoff at Memorial Stadium.
Van (10-1) advanced to face the winner of Gilmer-Atlanta, which play Friday in Longview, next week in the area round.
Every time Ferris (3-8) snapped the ball on offense in the first half, it went backward. Almost every time Van quarterback Garrett Smallwood brought the offense on the field, it left with another touchdown.
Smallwood tossed three scoring passes and totaled 143 yards through two quarters. Only an interception after he’d driven Van deep into Ferris territory one final time before the half denied the Vandals a perfect first half. Smallwood watched the second half from the comfort of the sideline.
Defensively, it was a masterpiece. The Vandals held Ferris to -17 yards of total offense in the first half while Carson Rucker returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown with Colby Rucker returning a punt 57 yards for another score. All told, Van held Ferris to 107 total yards for the game and forced four turnovers.
Ferris did not record a first down until the 5:12 mark of the fourth quarter. By then Vandal was coasting with a 51-7 lead. The Yellow Jackets tacked on two more touchdowns in the remaining minutes to make the final score.
Jared Carter led the Vandals receivers with five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown while Van received rushing touchdowns from Dalton Santos (1) and Hayden Preston (2). Van’s Chuy Alvarez was 6 of 7 on PATs to go along with a 29-yard field goal.
Ferris trailed 51-0 with 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Jay Foster broke the shutout by returning the ensuing kickoff 66 yards for a score.
Van 51, Ferris 23
Class 3A Division II Region II Bi-District Playoff
At Memorial Stadium, Mesquite
Ferris 0 0 7 16 — 23
Van 21 21 9 0 — 51
VAN—Dalton Santos 1 run (Chuy Alverez kick), 11:16
VAN—Carson Rucker 43 interception return (Alverez kick), 8:55
VAN—Jared Carter 17 pass from Garrett Smallwood (Alverez kick), 4:06
VAN—Rigo Lemus 30 pass from Smallwood (Alverez kick), 11:51
VAN—Colby Rucker 9 pass from Smallwood (Alverez kick), 8:43
VAN—Colby Rucker 57 punt return (Alverez kick), 6:20
VAN—Hayden Preston 2 run (kick failed), 6:10
VAN—FG Alverez 29, 0:17
FER—Jay Foster 66 kickoff return (Miguel Mendiola kick), :03
FER—Robert Grady 54 run (Keegan Harris pass to Darius Rouwtt), 4:17
FER—Lorenzo Garcia 39 pass from Harris (Grady run), :34
First Downs 4 20
Rushes-Yards 27-64 39-154
Passing Yards 43 167
Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-12-2 16-23-1
Punts-Avg. 5-46.0 2-26.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-0
Penalties-Yards 3-25 9-75
RUSHING—Ferris, Robert Grady 18-63, Jay Foster 5-23, Miguel Mendiola 1-(minus 11), Keegan Harris 2-(minus 6), Team 1-(minus 5). Van, Hayden Preston 10-39, Casey Smith 14-38, Matt Savis 3-32, Colby Rucker 1-12, Dalton Santos 2-6, Rigo Lemus 1-10, Logan Sartain 3-12, Brendan Curtis 2-7, Zane Harrison 1-0, Garrett Smallwood 2-(minus 2).
PASSING—Ferris, Harris 3-11-2 43, Grady 0-1-0 0. Van, Smallwood 14-21-1 143, Sartain 2-2-0 24.
RECEIVING—Ferris, Lorenzo Garcia 1-39, Ollie Collins 1-3, Marcus Smith 1-1. Van, Colby Rucker 5-61, Jared Carter 5-81, Lemus 2-34, 6 Austin Lockwood 4-41.