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Kyle Brown’s four first-half touchdown passes power Vista Ridge past McNeil

Stephen Wagner
American-Statesman Correspondent
Vista Ridge's Jacob Boerman goes up over the McNeil defenders for a Vista Ridge touchdown. Vista Ridge won a District 25-6A football game 42-7 Oct. 8 over McNeil 42-7 at Reeves Athletic Complex.

Little feels normal in 2020, but it was business as usual for Vista Ridge in their 42-7 district-opening win over McNeil Thursday night.

Vista Ridge (3-0, 1-0 District 25-6A) overcame a slow offensive start with an explosive second quarter featuring four touchdown passes from quarterback Kyle Brown. McNeil (0-3, 0-1), playing without starting quarterback Luke Hutchison, was unable to match the Rangers’ frantic pace and second-quarter eruption.

“(Brown) did a great job once we got going with taking what (McNeil was) giving us,” head coach Rodney Vincent said. “But I was proud of Kyle for settling in and just taking what they gave us down the stretch.”

After a promising first drive that stalled out in Maverick territory, Vista Ridge gave up a 38-yard run to Kaleb Cooper. The Mavericks struck again a few plays later, this time with a 20-yard run by quarterback Brad Whittenburg to put McNeil in the red zone. But the Ranger defense rallied, and ultimately forced a missed field goal.

While the Ranger defense was stout, its offense struggled to put points on the board in the first quarter. Vista Ridge was held scoreless Thursday night after scoring 14 points in each of the opening periods of its first two games.

The second quarter was a different tale.

Brown connected with receiver Wyatt Gates on the first play of the second period for a 32-yard touchdown strike, igniting the Ranger bench and permanently capturing momentum for Vista Ridge.

One series later, running back Alex Berndlmaier slipped out on a screen pass, dodged three defenders and barreled his way to the end zone. Brown later connected with Jacob Bowerman, and Wyatt Gates just before the half to put the Rangers up 28-0.

“We were trying to do some things that we've been able to do, and McNeil did a great job coming out in that first half of mixing up what they were doing to us defensively,” Vincent said, adding how proud he was of how his team responded to a sub-par first quarter.

Although while starting district play with a victory is normally a cause for celebration, Vincent is aware of the District 25-6A gantlet ahead of the Rangers. Vista Ridge hosts Vandegrift next week before traveling to Cedar Ridge.

“In our district, you never feel like you’re in a good position,” Vincent said. “But anytime you can start 1-0 in this district, it at least gets you off to a good start.”