Vacaville High School football coaches may have found their quarterback on Friday night. They already knew they had a solid punter. Chad Hekking punted the Bulldogs out of trouble for much of the night, then threw two touchdown passes in the final eight minutes to rally the home team to a 20-17 victory over Valley Christian of San Jose in the season opener at Tom Zunino Stadium. Hekking put Vacaville ahead to stay with 4:46 left, when he hit David Mewborn with a 16-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-15 play. Hekking rolled right, then fired a fastball just before going out of bounds. Mewborn caught the ball just before he stepped out of the front right corner of the end zone. "It kind of broke down, but it was fourth down ... you've got to go for gold," Hekking said. "I saw him, and then I took about three or four more steps and threw it. You've got to get the ball in your playmaker's hands." Mewborn had 133 yards rushing and another TD, but it was Vacaville's defense -- and Hekking's punting -- that kept the Bulldogs in the game. The defense also helped Vacaville stay in front at the end. The Bulldogs forced four consecutive incompletions by Valley Christian QB Michael Machado at midfield, but Vacaville went three-and-out to give the ball right back. Hekking got off a 40-yard punt with no return. Machado threw an incomplete pass, then was sacked by Vacaville's Connor Kanellis and Devin Kelly on consecutive plays. Machado tried to scramble for a first down on fourth-and-20, but Mykal Walker caught him from behind. Vacaville took over and ran out the clock. "There was a lot of resolve in the kids," Vacaville head coach Mike Papadopoulos said. "Our offense really struggled for a while, but in the really dark times the defense kept us in there until the offense got going." Vacaville took the early lead on a 9-yard run by Mewborn, but Valley Christian tied the game just before the half after a Vacaville fumble. Two more Vacaville turnovers led to 10 more Warriors points in the third period for a 17-7 lead. Justin Milander, Dulon Stevens and Hekking all saw time at quarterback, but Hekking finally got Vacaville back in the game after Stevens left with leg cramps. Hekking threw a long pass to Tanner Donaldson on a third-and-18 play from the Vacaville 17. Donaldson made a leaping catch, and when the Warriors defender fell, Donaldson sprinted in for an 83-yard scoring play. Vacaville's defense stopped Valley Christian, and Hekking engineered a seven-play, 55-yard drive.
Vacaville 20 Valley Christian  17
BY TIM ROE/Vacaville Reporter
Vacaville High School football team opens season with comeback win
game photos
Chad Hekking 16 yard touchdown pass to David Mewborn in the fourth quarter to take a 20-17 lead