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[ Sports Article ]

"Doing it with class"
Against the Rope column by Jim Mc Kay

The 1984 Vanden High School football team has done something no other team in the school's history has been able to do.

The Vikings finished up this year's campaign with a perfect 9-0 regular season mark, which bested the 1975 team's record of eight straight wins. They are currently ranked third in the state, according to CAL HI Sports.

Although the regular season has ended, Vanden may accomplish even more. The Vikings will play host to Oak Ridge Friday night in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section A playoffs in a rematch of last year's opening playoff game.

The Vikings will be seeking revenge after being eliminated by Oak Ridge a year ago.

No matter what happens in the playoffs, the Vikes have had a memorable season. Vanden observers will remember the comeback victories, and the way Bryan Batchan and Maurice Gwinn ate up yard after yard in leading the Vikings' ground game.

They will remember the way Ronnie Beverly refused to let injuries deter him from leading the explosive Vanden offense, and the way the defense stifled opponents.

But there is something about this Vanden team that does not show up on the scoreboard or a stat sheet - - class. The team has class. And this is a reflection on the coaching staff.

Some will say it is easy to have class when you're on top. True, nobody likes to lose, and having a losing season can make one miserable. But Coach Ron Beverly proved he is indeed worthy of a championship team all year long, especially in the Vikings' win over Dixon Sept. 28.

In that game, Beverly watched as his son, Ronnie Jr., took two hits on the head which produced a concussion. No one enjoys seeing friends or family injured, but Coach Beverly was able to control his emotions and lead the team on to victory.

With his son on his way to the hospital via ambulance, Beverly was in a hurry, and a bit concerned, but this didn't deter him from speaking to the press in his usual at ease manner.

Nor has anything else prevented the Viking skipper from being anything less than cooperative this year.

With such an outstanding performance this season, one could not blame him for asking for maybe just a little bit more coverage. Or perhaps, better position in the paper. After all, he has one of the best football teams around.

But Beverly isn't one to complain about lack of enough coverage. That shows the man's got character.

Beverly said many times his team had character, and they proved it on numerous occasions this season. They may need to call up that character again this Friday against Oak Ridge, but there is really nothing more to prove as far as class is concerned.

The only thing Vanden has left to prove is how good a team they are competitively. That chance may come Nov. 16 when Vanden could take on Folsom, provided the Vikings defeat Oak Ridge. Folsom is undefeated and ranked fifth in the state by CAL HI Sports. A win would be great, but a loss wouldn't take away what Vanden has done.

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This is the Home of the undefeated 1984 Vanden Vikings Football Team's true story.

Their story is told in the book -
"We Took Names - The Time of Vikings, Friends and Family"

History should remember them.

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