Vallejo football wants to change the atmosphere – Times-Herald
Last year, the Vallejo High School football team ended a streak. Now the Redhawks want to start a new, more positive one.
After not making the playoffs for 18 years, the Redhawks made the playoffs with a 4-6 record in 2021. Although Vallejo lost to Tennyson 65-7 in the first round, returning players from the program got a taste of the playoffs.
Now they want to enjoy a bigger meal.
“The goal is to keep the trend going,” junior quarterback Jasier Smith said. “We are working more as a team this year and we are very dedicated.”
Demiko Wallace sounded like a broken record player: “I want this program to make the playoffs over and over and over again.”
“It was good to make the playoffs,” Wallace said. “As a senior, I want to help change the culture here. I don’t just want to leave here, I want to leave here after I’ve done something and help start this program by making the playoffs every year.
The Redhawks start their season Friday at Fairfield.
Mike Wilson III is entering his seventh season as head coach after taking the place of his father, Mike Wilson Jr. So far, Wilson III has liked what he has seen in practices and scrimmages against teams. teams like Acalanes and Deer Valley.
“We’re trying to build something,” Wilson said. “We were young last year, but we had a taste of the playoffs. It’s not the result we wanted, but now the kids want more. I’m happy that we were able to move the ball really well in attack and I’m happy with how we approach the ball in defence. We’re all over the pitch every game.”
For years Vallejo’s offense was a heavy hitter, but Wilson said he became more patient as a coach and learned to adapt to the times.
“I think we did when we moved to a spread offense a year ago,” Wilson said. “Kids like it because it’s what they see on TV.”
The offense will be led by Smith, a junior who was primarily a second-string player a year ago.
“He stepped up,” Wilson said of his quarterback. “He threw the ball well in the pocket and I really see his progress. He seems more in control now.
Smith will have plenty of options to throw including Jonias Lewis, Sedrick Vaughn, Brandon Nunez, Nate Navarro and Aiden Perry. Julian Williams will see time at the tight end. Many wides will also see some running time, but Nalachi Edmonson will often be a star fullback.
“We want to be quick and get all of our athletes in the right space,” Wilson said.
The offensive line will be led by Wallace at right tackle while Simon Prado will be at right guard. Wilson said he will need linemen such as Andrew Virgo, Ever Martinez, Mariano Mayorga and Justo Garza to “step up” this season.
Wallace should also be a force on the defensive line.
“He meets the ball quicker this year,” Wilson said of Wallace. “He spent a lot of time in the weight room and it shows.”
Prado, Julian Williams, Jakhari Wallace and Kevin Pettis will see time on the defensive line, while Nicolas Gardley, Joacun Williams and Edmonson will play linebacker. Edmonson had 78 tackles a year ago according to maxpreps.com, but he has his sights set on another number – 110. That’s the career high for a Vallejo player in a season. That player happens to be his coach and 2009 graduate, Joe Pastrana.
“I made it my goal this year because I started getting closer last year,” Edmonson said. “But I know I have to play very well in every game to get the record. I know I need to make about 12 to 14 tackles per game.
Kaylan Baker and Perry will be the corners, while Navarro and Nunez will be safe.
It’s looking like a weird season for the Redhawks, who face crosstown rivals Jesse Bethel next week instead of the final game of the year.
“The team is already pumped up for this game, but I still love having that last game of the season,” Wilson said.