Sunnyvale running back Matt Leavitt rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown, but Van was able to pull out a 35-25 victory on Friday in a Class 4A Division II playoff game at Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium.

Based solely on records, Sunnyvale entered its second-round playoff game as the prohibitive underdog against undefeated Van.

But the Raiders had their own designs on playing on Thanksgiving weekend and they nearly did just that.

Sunnyvale made a charge in the fourth quarter to make the Vandals sweat, but Van (12-0) was ultimately able to pull out a 35-25 victory in a Class 4A Division II area round playoff game at Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium in Rockwall.

The Raiders, who finished the season at 6-5, found themselves in an early hole when Vandals quarterback Jackson Rainey threw a 65-yard scoring strike to Ryder Shoquist and then added a 2-yard touchdown run to take a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

Sunnyvale sliced its deficit in half when Rigdon Yates threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Joey Bruszer that made it 14-7 and it would remain that way through the break.

Van struck first in the third quarter on a 3-yard scoring run by Alex Zifer, and then after the Raiders got a 25-yard field goal from Jake Pecina, Rainey got loose again, this time for a 38-yard touchdown to push the advantage to 28-10.

But Sunnyvale was not finished.

Early in the third quarter, Matt Leavitt capped a good drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

The defense did its job to force a punt and the offense went back to work, with Yates going back to Bruszer on a 9-yard scoring pass.

The Raiders went for two and were successful when Yates found Landry Laird for the conversion and it was suddenly a 28-25 game with six minutes left.

But the Vandals would have the final answer.

Van again made it a two-score game when Brayden Bradshaw broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to 35-25.

Sunnyvale threatened on its next drive, but the Vandals were able to come away with an interception in the end zone to thwart the threat and they ran out the clock from there.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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