Bryce Pazdel is the one that keeps Vacaville Christian churning.
Pazdel, a junior linebacker and fullback/tight end, is the one in the middle anchoring everything. He’s a coach on the field. A leader. Wise beyond his years.
“Bryce Pazdel is the absolute brain in the middle,” said Vacaville Christian head coach Manny Tarango. “He’s up to like 210 pounds now. He’s thick. He knows everybody’s position, all 11 players. He knows their routes. He knows the blocking scheme. He’s in charge of the defense. He knows all 17 blitz combinations and all six, seven fronts that we use and the coverage that we need. He is the defensive coordinator on the field, and that’s what makes him so good. He’s just such a student of the game.”
Right when Pazdel arrived at Vacaville Christian, he turned into a star and one of the region’s premier athletes.
As a freshman, in the Falcons’ first season back as a program after not fielding a team for multiple years, Pazdel shined in every regard. His 75 tackles were the second-most on the roster, adding one sack, one quarterback hurry and two blocked field goals in a 1-9 campaign for VCS.
But that was only the beginning.
The class of 2022 sensation turned it up a notch again during his sophomore season, registering a team-high 133 tackles – which ranked 68th in California and was the third-most among California sophomores, according to statistics available on MaxPreps. His final statistics also read six tackles for loss, seven quarterback hurries, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal.
And Pazdel was a key cog offensively, carrying the ball 10 times for 75 yards while catching 15 passes for 258 yards and one score – part of a VCS squad that improved to a seven-win team and was a Sac-Joaquin Section semifinalist.
“I know he’s smart,” said Vacaville Christian sophomore King Saffings. “I know he can run. He can hit hard too.”
Those numbers only tell part of Pazdel’s story, though.
Leadership is in his blood. So is academic success by compiling a 4.2 GPA.
“I’ve been a natural leader pretty much most of my life,” Pazdel said. “I get a lot of it from Boy Scouts, from other extracurricular activities. I’m in NHS and things like that.”
Also a baseball and soccer player, Pazdel’s offseason has been one of tremendous growth to an already impressive skill set.
Tarango said Pazdel has gained 20 pounds and improved his 40-yard dash time. Plus, he’s honed in on making the defense better to understand his and his teammates’ responsibilities.
All of that work has Pazdel aiming for VCS to create an even more formidable defense, along with some hardware…
“This year, as sort of the defensive captain, I would like to have the best defense in the league and take that defense and win league and section, if we end up competing for section,” Pazdel said.