VACAVILLE — Dominance.
That’s the easiest way to describe the Vacaville High football team in recent history.
The Bulldogs head into their 2013 campaign having won four straight Monticello Empire League titles, and have won or tied for six league championships in the last eight seasons under head coach Mike Papadopoulos.
Vacaville should be able to make a run at a fifth straight MEL title as it returns four starters on offense and another three on defense, along with bringing up several players from a junior varsity team that also enjoyed success last season.
Back for the starting offense this season is the 2012 MEL Lineman of the Year in Jeremy Sweany, along with all-MEL wingback David Mewborn. Lineman Steven Gomez and fullback Connor Kanellis are also back in uniform this season.
Defensive backs Daniel Mewborn and Kanellis also return to the starting defense along with Sweany, a defensive end.
“It’s always just the biggest thing, they have a great experience and continue to do it,” Papadopoulos said. “They have a stake in what’s going on. That’s nice that it’s a mutual thing that we’re in these together.”
Newcomers looking to contribute for the Bulldogs this season include Tanner Donaldson (WR), Clayton Caserza (G), Gunnar Sigler (TE/LB) and Damonte Moore (HB).
With David Mewborn, Kannelis and Moore in the backfield, Papadopoulos said he’s going to utilize his team’s speed.
“That’s really something you do things to work on, but it’s also natural talent,” the coach said. “That’s big for us.”
The coach also noted that he is always wanting to develop depth on his squad.
“We’ve had a lot of kids that got reps as juniors last year, and JV had a successful season last year, so there’s quality there,” Papadopoulos said. “You can never have enough depth as you grind through the times. It’s extremely important all year long.
“We need to compete to get us where we need to be. The more experience in varsity game speed, it’s always valuable. You get more valuable info from them, the football IQ.”
And for making a run at that fifth straight league championship.
“That’s the biggest thing for us is getting ready to be competitive in league,” Papadopoulos said. “That’s the No. 1 thing for us the first five weeks (in nonleague). That will help us prepare for league.”
That preparation begins next Friday when the Bulldogs open their season by hosting Valley Christian at 7:30 p.m. at Tom Zunino Stadium.