DUBLIN -- New Valley Christian High football head coach Jim Heal says the Vikings are going to "pound the rock."
Indeed, with quarterback Theman Taylor and Vince Volpatti running behind the likes of Logan McHone and Sean Flynn, the Vikings appear capable of keeping the first-down markers moving.
Heal took the reigns after his friend John Parrella, a former Raiders defensive lineman, resigned to become an assistant at Chabot College.
Valley Christian offers a slice of football life on Inspiration Drive in Dublin. Despite a school enrollment of less than 300, the Vikings have made the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs every year since 2009 -- the year Parrella and Heal coached the school's first varsity team.
The Vikings are coming off a solid season in which they finished 4-2 in the Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division and 8-3 overall. They opened the season with a 38-29 loss to Division I San Leandro, as Volpatti finished with 169 yards rushing and scored on runs of 65 and 39 yards. Taylor threw for just 54 yards but added 78 yards on the ground for the Vikings.
This year's staff also includes former college players Eric Broussard and Dan McHone (Logan's dad). Newcomer Larry Triplett, a former University of Washington defensive lineman, had a seven-year NFL career after being drafted in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts.
Jairus Woodson, son of 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Rod Woodson, is a key newcomer at defensive back/wideout. Rod Woodson is listed as a Vikings defensive assistant.
Talk about a five-star staff. Heal says the Vikings are about teaching and building leaders through a positive approach. You won't find players doing up-and-downs in the dirt or being belittled, he assures.
"We have great staff," Heal said. "We teach the kids right way. They play as a team and know Who they're playing for. We get the best out of each individual, which is how we're so tough to play, even when we're small."
Logan McHone, who is 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, and Flynn (6-5, 260) anchor the offensive and defensive lines. Volpatti, a running back/linebacker, and Demaurier Blackwell, a tight end/linebacker, are key returners. Heal said the Vikings have good balance on offense and defense, quality at the skill positions and a pretty strong senior class.
Gone to graduation, though is league rushing leader Howard Wikle, who ran for 1,808 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Heals says how his team plays in a tough nonschedule will set the tone for tits second season in the division. With El Cerrito the clear favorite, the Vikings look to remain in the top group.
"It's going to be a fun year. We've got to stay healthy," Heal said.
Aug. 30 vs. San Leandro^ L 38-29
Sept. 6 CASTLEMONT 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Kenn-Rich. 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 McCLYMONDS 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at El Cerrito* 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 ST. MARY'S* 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 ST. PATRICK-S.V.* 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 at Berean Chr.* 1 p.m.
Nov. 1 PINOLE VAL.* 7 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Salesian* 1:30 p.m.
ALL HOME GAMES AT CHABOT COLLEGE
^At Burrell Field