GRAND SALINE — Anchored by Dalton Santos, the Van defense opened the 2011 football season against Grand Saline and narrowly missed a shutout, defeating the Indians 50-6 on Friday night.
Santos was the man in the middle for the Vandals, and got help from defensive linemen Oscar Taylor, Sid Moore and Damond Dean, who put pressure on the Indians offense all night.
Van scored on its second possession of the game after a defensive stand that allowed only four positive yards to the Indians.
Quarterback Garrett Smallwood capped the drive on a 2-yard run and added another touchdown run from 6 yards out on the Vandals’ next possession.
Smallwood hooked up with receiver Jared Carter from four yards out for the Vandal third TD on three consecutive possessions as the Vandal offense found its rhythm.
Defensively the Vandals held Grand Saline to minus 17 yards offensively in the first half.
To their credit, the Indians kept fighting and eventually found some success in junior running back TJ Ollison.
Grand Saline found the end zone when, on third-and-13, Ollison broke through the middle of the line, hit the left sideline, broke multiple tackles and sprinted 73-yards to put the Indians on the scoreboard.
Colby Rucker paced the Van offense with seven catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. Smallwood completed 14 of 27 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
Van will play host to Brownsboro next Friday. Grand Saline will travel to Malakoff.