Vikings football is on the rise for 2018


The Diablo Valley College Vikings hold a spring practice (Luis Lopez/The Inquirer)

Luis Lopez, Editor In Chief

The Diablo Valley College Vikings are an up and coming team.

After a record of 5-6 in 2017, losing 14 starters through the course of the season, along with a 71-43 loss to Modesto in the Gridiron Bowl, a bounce back year appears to be in order.

“We’ve got a new (offensive coordinator) this year, we had a lot of guys that were hurt last year, and we’re getting a lot of those guys back this year, so it should be a big year,” said sophomore quarterback Jarrod Hoyer

The lessons he learned from last year will be vital in Hoyer’s new role as the starting quarterback this season. In 2017, Hoyer threw for 928 yards along with seven passing touchdowns, all while sharing time with now graduated quarterback Matt Vitale.

“He’s really grown into a solid, steadying influence as a leader” said head coach Mike Darr.

“I’m excited to see what he will do this year,” said Darr.

In 2017, the Vikings ranked 16th out of 68 California Community College Athletics Association teams with 365 passing yards per game.

“We have the skill and athleticism on the offensive side, we have the skill and potential to be a super explosive offense,” said sophomore wide receiver Dylan Alves.

DVC managed to put up an average of 359.4 yards per game in 2017, and in 2018, the sky is the limit.

“The offense has the most weapons we’ve had in years,” said Darr

One of those weapons will be running back and former Pittsburg high school standout D’najee Smith, who averaged 4.8 yards a carry at Pittsburg.

“If this offense stays healthy, defenses are going to have to pick their poison,” said Darr.

On the other side of the ball, the Vikings look to improve on defense after struggling in 2017. Last year, the Vikings defense gave up an average of 451.1 yards per game, along with allowing 36.7 points per game. This year, the Vikings will feature a revamped defensive line, including seven new freshmen players.

The main course of the Vikings’ defense comes in their three Big Eight all-conference defensive backs, Cory Cox, Josh Ramirez, and Ryan Payne.

“I definitely think our defense is going to be good this year,” said freshman defensive back Darryl Walker.

Coach Darr echoed those same sentiments, saying “This is the deepest and possibly most dynamic defensive lines we’ve had in years.”

One main contributor to the Vikings defense is defensive back and team captain Jake Peralta, who led the team in tackles last year with 43.

Another key contributor will be linebacker Tui Pulu, who led the Big Eight conference in sacks last season with 5.5.

“He may be the most disruptive player in the state,” said Darr.

With everything going on for the Vikings right now, the overall expectations stay very high.

“I want to go undefeated because I feel like we have the skill to match anybody that we play this year,” said freshman wide receiver and former Bishop O’ Dowd standout Justin Ross.

When Hoyer was asked of his idea of the team’s goal this season, one accomplishment came to mind.

“Our goal here is to win a state championship,” said Hoyer.

The Vikings will kick off the 2018 season against West Hills Coalinga on Friday, Aug 31 at 6:00 p.m.