DVC football coach Mike Darr always looks forward to playing Chabot because of the nature of the local rivalry.
The Vikings (0-1) and Gladiators (0-1) will meet again on Saturday at Gladiator Stadium in Hayward. Kickoff is 6 p.m.
"The game's always a heck of a football game," Darr said this week. "We know each other very well. We've played each other for years. It's one of the schools that we feel a natural rivalry with – a lot of kids played each other in high school."
Darr added that the staffs and players expect it to be a "physical, hard-nosed football game."
Moreover, Darr describes Chabot coach Danny Calcagno as "one of the good guys … I really enjoy this matchup every year."
Both teams are stinging a bit after opening defeats. Chabot turned the ball over five times in a 21-7 loss at Siskiyous on Sept. 3, and DVC dropped a 23-20 heartbreaker to visiting American River on Sept. 2, courtesy of a wild 74-yard Beavers' touchdown completion with 47 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
"We know we should have won that game," Darr said. "Too many penalties. Too many mistakes at key times."
Darr praised Liberty High graduate Dylan Gilfoy's play on the defensive line. He had three sacks and four tackles for loss. Interestingly, Gilfoy's buddy and former Liberty teammate Kyle Trego had a similarly spectacular first game last season at DVC. Now Trego is with Colorado.
"It's great to see a guy make that progression from freshman to sophomore year," Darr said of Gilfoy. "He's always had a great motor and a great get-off, but he was just so skinny last year. He was a volleyball player in high school, so he never really had an offseason. The kid put on about 30 pounds and he's still pretty thin, but it was great to see that strength and be able to finish the plays that last year kind of slipped away from him."
Marcus de la Pena, who scored on a 5-yard interception return, also drew praise for his play in the secondary.
"I thought de la Pena was very disruptive," Darr said of the former San Ramon Valley star. "He kind of went the other way (than Gilfoy); he took 10 pounds off to give himself a little more explosive speed. He shows up in every frame of the film. Really that leader out there getting everybody lined up."
Marquese Surrell also had an outstanding game at wideout with nine receptions for 121 yards.
Tight end Sean Vaisima checked out OK after suffering what might have been a stinger during the game, causing a lengthy delay. Darr says Vaisima, a highly touted player, is back at school and eager to get back on the field.
Last year the Vikings beat Chabot 26-10, riding the arm of former quarterback Drew Anderson, who is now with Buffalo, and the sure hands of then-sophomore wideouts CJ Cornwell and Marcus Armstrong-Brown.
The Vikings are off to an impressive 4-0 start.
DVC blanked Ohlone on Tuesday 2-0 to follow a series of strong, high-octane efforts.
Freshman Vanessa Ruvalcaba of Pittsburg continued her stellar play with the winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Las Positas on Sept. 1. Karla Ramos had the assist. The Vikings surged to a 2-0 lead on goals by Ramos, assisted by Ruvalcaba, and Cameron Chan, assisted by Megan Melara, but Las Positas rallied to tie the match. Ruvalcaba nailed down the victory in the 81st minute.
The Vikings amassed 10 goals in their first three games. Melara of San Ramon Valley and Ruvalcaba shared the team lead with three goals apiece entering the week, and Chan had two goals.
The Vikings opened the season with a solid showing at the NorCal Preview Meet at Sierra College on Friday. Jessica Mendez was 24th in the women's 5K race in a time of 21:24.70, and Ella Hymel was 35th (21:42.60). Ariana Corwin finished in 42nd (22.15.70), and Holly Babcock was 75th (25:45.50).
In the men's 4 mile race, Sayed Opeyany was 31st in 23:45.80, and Ian Rider checked in at 41st (23:56.40), to highlight the team effort.
The Vikings (2-1) are off to a fine start with wins over Lane College (Ore.) 3-0 and Yuba 3-1 and a loss to host Shasta 3-0, all in the Shasta Quad on Sept. 2. Sophomore Jade Lee had 14 kills against Lane, and Isabel Villalobos had 10. Jasmine Assia had 21 assists, and Jamie Chow had 12 assists.
Against Yuba, Lee powered down 21 kills. Assia had 21 assists and Chow had 17. After dropping the first set 25-20, the Vikings reeled off three in a row, 25-13, 25-13, 25-16.
DVC will host the DVC Classic on Friday, facing Solano at 2 p.m. and Ohlone at 6 p.m.