A quick start propels the Vacaville high school football team onto Vanden – The Vacaville Reporter

Sometimes it’s easy to tell how important a high school football game can be just by who shows up to watch it.

The Monticello Empire League’s first-place showdown between the Vanden Vikings and host Vacaville Bulldogs on Friday night featured a packed house – coverage from Fox40 and other media; and a visit from former Bulldogs star and current second-year Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Mykal Walker, who served as the honorary coins thrower in pre-game ceremonies.

Against this backdrop, the Bulldogs got off to a quick start and came away with a 35-17 victory – their 23rd straight MEL victory – to take first place on their own. Vacaville is now 3-0 in the league, 6-2 overall, while Vanden drops to 2-1 in the MEL, 6-2 overall.

“I’m proud of what the kids have done tonight,” said Bulldogs head coach Mike Papadopoulos. “We had to make adjustments in all facets of the game. We challenged them all week, they accepted the challenge and they were basically solid.

Walker didn’t bring Vacaville much luck in the draw as Vanden won but chose to rely on the second half. Looking back, which might have been a bad decision, as after kick-off the Bulldogs only needed two games and 27 seconds to score their first points of the night.

Vacaville High running back Darian Leon-Guerrero (6) passed behind the cover of Vanden defensive back Kyren Jackson-Davis on Friday for a touchdown and a 58-yard run in the second quarter of the 35- win. 17 Bulldogs vs Vikings at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum / The Reporter)

Bulldog backer Darian Leon-Guerrero started the party with a clever 25-yard run to Vanden 33. On the next play, following a false start penalty, Vacaville quarterback Ryan Vaughn found a gaping hole on the right side of the line and ran 38 yards into the end zone.

Vaughan was 9 for 17 for 210 passing yards with three touchdowns and added 92 rushing yards with another score for the game.

Vanden’s first practice of the evening was stifled by a solid Bulldog defense led by defensive lineman Dylan Cho, leading to a three and one out and thoughts of rout. But Vanden recovered a punt and was back on offense at Vacaville 21.

Vanden reached the Bulldog seven, but three false start penalties, an Eric Gladney sack and an abandoned pass led to a 16-yard field goal by kicker Diego Nuńez-Smith, reducing the lead to 7-3.

The teams traded punts before Vacaville embarked on a quick two-play run that ended in a 63-yard catch and ran from Vaughn to Timothy Plowman for another Bulldog score and a lead of 14-3.

Vanden quarterback Tre Dimes was no slouch. On Vanden’s next possession, the junior QB joined Jamai East on a 41-yard pass to Bulldog 11; two games later, they connected again on a nine-yard strike to make it 14-10.

Vacaville bounced back with another two-game workout, this one featuring a 59-yard Vaughn-to-Leon-Guerrero turnout for his first of three touchdowns to take it to 21-10.

Vacaville High’s Eric Gladney (40) and Luke Levengood (69) sack Vanden quarterback Tre Dimes near the goal line in the third quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum / The Reporter)

“We played as a unit,” Leon-Guerrero said of his team’s success throughout the game. “We had a plan and we executed it.”

Leon-Guerrero had 95 rushing yards and 94 receiving yards in the contest.

Vanden also had a plan, which included a 21-yard touchdown by Sean Davis to close the lead again to 21-17. Vacaville responded with a 13-game workout that was capped with a three-yard run by devious Leon-Guerrero, turning and twisting for a 28-17 lead at halftime.

The second half started with a poor position for the Vikings on the pitch following a kick-off penalty which brought them to their own seven-yard line. After coming off their own 18s, another penalty sent them back to the eights, before Dimes was nearly sacked in the end zone by Luke Levengood. Vanden kicked, giving the Bulldogs a great field position at the Vanden 35.

That’s when Vaughn and his quick attack hit again, throwing a perfect pass first to Leon-Guerrero. Vanden’s defender on Leon-Guerrero was completely returned before falling to the ground, allowing Leon-Guerrero to run into the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown – his third score of the night and the final score of the one or the other team.

“We were excited to play them,” Vaughn said after the game. “We kept doing our thing. It’s a good team. The victory did me good.

And while the Bulldogs’ offense was impressive, the defense was even more so. Dimes was harassed all night by the defensive line and linebackers, while the defensive backs managed to keep Vanden’s quick receivers from doing too much damage once they caught the ball.

Vacaville High wide receiver Timothy Plowman walks away from Vanden High cornerback Marcellus Chandler for a 65-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum / The Reporter)

For his efforts, Cho, a 5-11, 238-pound senior lineman, was named the Bulldog’s defensive player of the game by the coaching staff.

“It was nice to be recognized,” Cho said of the honor. “I worked my buttocks in training. You have to be dedicated, show that you love the game, and the coaches will notice it. ”

When asked what he saw watching a Vanden movie during the week that helped him and the rest of his defensive teammates succeed, Cho replied that it was something. basic.

“Their center is a skilled and talented guy,” Cho said. “He was quick on the line. I just had to play smashmouth football. That’s all I have to say. ”

The score

Vacaville 35, Vanden 17

Upcoming matches: Vaca in Rodriguez, Armijo in Vanden: 19h

About Betty J. Snyder

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