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Vanden's Dion Williams (81) runs the ball down the field during a football game against Napa, at Vanden High School, in Fairfield. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic file)


Prep year in review: Lots of good stuff happened

By From page B1 | June 15, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Two state placers.

One Sac-Joaquin Section team title, two section title game appearances and five individual SJS crowns.

Nine Monticello Empire League or Solano County Athletic Conference team championships and 41 league player of the year awards or individual league championships.

For the city, 2013-14 was that kind of school year, one of thrilling victories, heart-breaking defeats and every emotion in between.

Here’s a look at the best of 2013-14:

Top 5 teams

1. Vanden boys track — Behind Tyler Koss’ four victories, including two on relays, the Vikings earned the SJS Division II-III championship – the city’s only section title in 2013-14 – and easily repeated as SCAC champs.

2. Vanden girls basketball — Despite being upset in SJS Division III semifinals, the Vikings had their best Northern California finish ever, reaching the semifinals before falling to eventual state champ Modesto Christian.

3. Rodriguez boys basketball — Though without a true big man, the undersized Mustangs won their second straight MEL title, reached the SJS Division I title game and won the first NorCal playoff game in school history.

4. Armijo boys tennis — The Indians captured their eighth straight MEL title and made it to the SJS Division I semis where they lost to eventual champion Jesuit.

5. Vanden boys soccer — Putting together the best season in program history, the Vikings won their first league title ever and reached the SJS Division II quarterfinals.

Honorable mention — Vanden boys basketball, Fairfield boys basketball, Rodriguez badminton and Vanden girls track.

Top 5 performances

1. Tyler Koss, Vanden track — The Air Force Academy-bound senior had a day for the ages, winning the boys 200- and 400-meter dashes and helping the Vikings win the 4×100 and 4×400 relays at the SJS Division II-III championships. His sixth-place finish in the 400 at the CIF State Championships would also rank in the top 5.

2. Megan Dulaney, Rodriguez track — Bouncing back from having the flu during the SJS Masters meet, the Mustangs senior finished fifth in the girls shot put at the state meet.

3. Dion Williams, Jadon Brisendine, Isaiah Hamilton, Vanden football —  In helping the Vikings defeat Benicia 46-27 and set a school record with 608 yards of offense, Brisendine threw for 367 yards and five touchdowns, Williams caught eight passes for 152 yards and three TDs, and Hamilton ran for 212 yards and two TDs.

4. David Hostler, Armijo baseball — As part of leading the MEL in strikeouts (77) and earned run average (0.75), the senior right-hander pitched an eight-inning, 1-0 no-hitter against Rodriguez.

5. Rishod Abraham, Rodriguez boys basketball —  With the Mustangs trailing Napa by double digits in the first half, Abraham poured in a school-record 40 points in an 83-72 victory, part of the team’s 19-game winning streak, a school record.

Honorable mention — Jeffrie Brown, Armijo football; Noah Strong, Rodriguez boys swimming; Malia Bryant, Vanden girls track; Derek Wadsworth, Armijo boys tennis; Betsy Samonte, Rodriguez girls tennis; Kiwi McDaniel, Vanden girls tennis; Devyn Fitchhorn Vanden boys golf.

Top 5 seasons

1. Dion Williams, Vanden football — Rewriting city and school record books, the senior receiver caught 87 passes for 1,261 yards and 24 touchdowns, catching at least one TD pass in all 12 games and three TDs four different times. As a free safety, he led the area with six interceptions and averaged 6.5 tackles per game.

2. Tyler Koss, Vanden track — Four league and four Sac-Joaquin Section Division II-III titles, a third-place finish in the SJS Masters and sixth in the state. Enough said.

3. Megan Dulaney, Rodriguez track — The Mustangs junior repeated as MEL girls shot put and discus champ, won the former in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I meet, took third in the SJS Masters and fifth in the state.

4. Jadon Brisendine, Vanden football — With Williams as his favorite target, the junior QB put together the most prolific passing season in city history, completing 224 of 355 passes for 2,961 yards and 44 touchdowns.

5. Steward Pimienta, Vanden boys soccer — As the SCAC co-Offensive Player of the Year, Pimienta netted 22 goals and had six assists as part of the best season in school history.

Honorable mention — Alejandro Lara, Vanden baseball; Hope Brandner, Vanden softball; Kiwi McDaniel, Vanden softball; David Hostler, Armijo baseball; Raiza Balancio, Rodriguez badminton; Cody Meyer, Fairfield boys water polo; Jorge Perez, Armijo wrestling; Brandon Vu, Rodriguez wrestling; Patrick Ferrer, Rodriguez wrestling; Alejandra Sanchez Hernandez, Fairfield girls wrestling; Elijah Williams, Vanden football.

Top 5 coaches

1. Nate Rankin, Rodriguez boys basketball — With a different player stepping up seemingly every game, the Rankin-led Mustangs set school records for wins (27) and consecutive wins (19) en route to the program’s second SJS title game appearance and first NorCal playoff win.

2. Larry Hogue, Vanden boys and girls track — Hogue’s boys and girls track teams repeated as SCAC champs, with the boys going on to win the SJS Division II-III title.

3. Greg Davis, Armijo boys and girls tennis — The Indians boys got their eighth straight MEL title, the girls their third in a row.

4, Roy Darbison, Vanden boys soccer — Under Darbison, the Vikings went 17-1-1 and won their first league title in school history, due in great part to the program’s first two victories over perennial SCAC power Benicia.

5. Micheal Holloway, Vanden boys basketball — The Vikings won their first league championship since 1997 – Jim Boyd’s final season as coach – reaching the SJS Division III semis and earning their first NorCal playoff victory this century.

Honorable mention — Dave Monk, Armijo cross country; Neo Thao, Rodriguez badminton; Allison Johnson, Vanden girls basketball; LeVon Haynes, Vanden football; Eddie Wilson, Fairfield boys basketball

Top 5 games

1. Vanden-Fairfield boys basketball — Easily the most talked-about game in the city this school year, the Falcons avenged two SCAC defeats at the hands of the Vikings by earning a stunning 80-59 victory in the SJS Division III semifinals.

2. Vanden-Benicia boys soccer — Proving their earlier 3-2 home win over Benicia wasn’t a fluke, the Vikings earned a 1-0 victory over the Panthers in Benicia on a header by Santino Atanasov off a Patrick Dazo free kick in the 74th minute.

3. Vanden-Wood football — Playing in a soggy Zunino Stadium after an earlier downpour, the Wildcats trailed 14-0 before ever running an offensive play but somehow rallied for a 28-27 overtime victory.

4. Armijo-Rodriguez football — Once the Mustangs stopped hurting themselves – they had two touchdowns called back because of silly penalties – they edged the Indians 22-19 on a last-second, 28-yard field goal by Eddy Nuno, No. 57 in your program.

5. Rodriguez-Vanden volleyball — It was contested far from home in the Stockton Classic, but it truly was a classic as the Vikings rallied to win 22-25, 25-21, 15-13.

Honorable mention — Fairfield-Vanden boys basketball (first regular season game); Vanden-Encinal girls basketball; Fairfield-Rodriguez football; Vanden-Vista del Lago football

Top 5 multi-sport athletes

1. Tyler Koss, Vanden football, track — Overshadowed by his track exploits, Koss led the Vikings with 67 solo tackles and had seven sacks while earning all-SCAC first team honors as a linebacker.

2. Kiwi McDaniel, Vanden girls tennis, softball — After winning the SCAC girls tennis singles title in the fall, McDaniel had her usual solid season in softball, hitting .470 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs.

3. Alejandro Lara, Vanden boys soccer, baseball — An unsung hero as an all-conference defender for Vanden’s SCAC champion boys soccer squad, Lara earned SCAC co-Player of the Year honors in baseball.

4. Dion Williams, Vanden football, track — A solid two-way player on the football field, he also came within two inches of making the state track meet in the triple jump.

5. Tiffini Mestas. Armijo, girls cross country, girls tennis, girls basketball — A standout in two fall sports – girls cross country and girls tennis – Mestas earned all-MEL first team honors in girls basketball in the winter.

Honorable mention — Patrick Dazo, Vanden boys soccer, boys tennis; Halle Sullivan, Rodriguez girls cross country, softball; Julie DeVries, Rodriguez girls tennis, girls soccer; John Jones, Fairfield boys basketball, baseball; Isaiah Hamilton, Vanden football, track; Tony Terry III, Vanden football, boys basketball; DeMoriaye Hart-Spikes, Fairfield boys basketball, baseball; Anthony Bryant, Fairfield boys basketball, track; Javin White, Vanden football, track; Amini Kapapa, Armijo football, wrestling; Josh Weiss, Rodriguez football, wrestling; Isreal Colozza, Rodriguez football, wrestling; Kris Elkin, Armijo football, wrestling; D’Andre Scott, Rodriguez football, boys basketball

Top 5 teams for next year

1. Armijo boys tennis — The Indians return most of a roster that won its eighth straight MEL title, including league singles champ Derek Wadsworth.

2. Vanden football — The Vikings graduate standout receiver Dion Williams, but return Jadon Brisendine at quarterback and a bunch of other solid pass catchers.

3. Vanden girls basketball — Having won 14 straight league titles – the last 10 under coach Allison Johnson – the Vikings, who reached the NorCal semis for the first time, are showing no signs of slowing down, especially after Kayla Blair was named SCAC Player of the Year as a junior.

4. Vanden baseball — The Vikings had just four seniors on their 25-player roster, only one of whom played in more than 15 games for a team that went 19-6.

5. Armijo boys cross country — The Indians were ninth in the SJS Division I finals with four juniors, three sophomores and no seniors. On top of that, Armijo was third sophomore boys division, second in the freshman boys division.

Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.

Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer is a 1985 graduate of Brigham Young University. The Suisun City resident has been with the Daily Republic Sports Department since 1989 and has served as sports editor since 2007. He and his wife Jackie have four children.

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