Early in the week, Big Valley Christian coach Brian Berkefeld challenged his offensive line.
“I coach the O-line and they saw during the week that we needed to get better,” Berkefeld said. “They put in the extra work and they figured it out.”
It all came together on Friday evening as the small-school No. 10 Lions opened the season with a roar over Harker of San Jose, 47-20.
Javyn Drobnick tied his school record with 372 rushing yards, racing through massive holes at the line of scrimmage. Caleb Van Donselaar also topped 100 yards as Big Valley Christian’s ground attack overwhelmed Harker, who won 11 of its 12 games last season.
“We were pretty nervous about this team. Last year, this team was 11-1. They had a great team, really well-coached,” Berkefeld said. “We weren’t sure what to expect. Luckily, our guys showed up and we felt the culture came through and did its work.”
The Lions rushed for more than 500 yards in their season debut, and none of it would have been possible without a moment of mid-week reflection by the offensive line.
“We weren't sure what we would get out of them, to be honest,” Berkefeld said. “We lost a few guys (to graduation) that were really good, but they did a fantastic job. The holes were huge.”
Drobnick’s record-tying night included multiple runs of 40 yards or longer and three touchdowns. Van Donselaar also found the end zone three times.
Only a junior, Drobnick originally set the school record in a victory over Riverbank on Oct. 27. He finished the season with 1,608 yards, but missed parts of five games with injuries. Over the summer, he set his sights on the region’s single-season rushing record: 2,851 yards by Oakdale’s Will Semone in 2016, a number pinned to the wall of Berkefeld’s classroom.
After one game, Drobnick is ahead of pace.
“That’s a good start,” Berkefeld said with a chuckle. “It was everything. The offensive line was fantastic and the holes were huge. When he got to second level, he’d make a guy miss. That’s what we ask our backs to do.”
Big Valley Christian (1-0) has a bye next Friday and will return to action at Le Grand on Aug. 31.