The St. Bernard High School football team may have finished with a winless record last season, but Vikings coach Greg Dixon said that last year’s outcome is not going to prevent his team from aiming high this season.

The Vikings struggled offensively throughout the season last year and ended up with a 0-10 record.

Dixon attributed last year’s struggle to a “very inexperienced” group of players, especially the seniors, who were unable to control the football and move it down the field well on offense.

Now, a year later, Dixon says his team is ready to erase the troubles of the past and become a force in the Del Rey League.

“We’re fighting for one of the top three spots in the league,” Dixon said. “We expect to push to get to the playoffs.”

St. Bernard will be led by top returning players, including senior wide receiver Marcus Mitchell, senior defensive back and wide receiver Cory Clark and senior defensive back and wide receiver Kamron Brown.

Senior running backs Steve Aguilera and Dominic Cooper will help lead the running game for the Vikings.

“Our senior group will be pretty solid for us,” Dixon said.

While the experienced seniors will be the core of the team, Dixon expects a “host of younger guys” to be major contributors as well.

One of those younger players is junior Jeremy Laney, who will start as quarterback.

Since finishing winless last season, the Vikings have gained more team speed and experience, and their athletic ability has also improved tremendously, Dixon said.

If St. Bernard hopes to make noise in the Del Rey League and follow the path into the playoffs, Dixon said the key will be winning the pre-league games on the schedule.

“We want to come out before the league with a solid winning record,” he said.

The team will also need to pull some upset victories against top league opponents such as Serra High School or the defending league champion, Crespi High School, he said.

St. Bernard will kick off the 2005 football season at 7 p.m. Friday, September 9th, at Culver City High School. Dixon said the key to victory against Culver City will be to control the football and establish a good offense.

The league season for the Vikings starts Friday, October 14th, against Bosco Tech High School.

“We’re now so much further along at this point than we were last year, which is a good sign,” Dixon said.