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A season to remember
The fall high school sports season is over. Now is a great time to highlight the accomplishments of top individuals and teams.

Male athlete: Alejandro Garcia made history by becoming Ceres High School's first two-time, state-meet qualifier in cross country. The senior placed 34th at the prestigious CIF competition, second at sections, third at divisionals and first at conference finals. Garcia also won the Stanislaus County Invitational title and a pair of Valley Oak League cluster meets for the second straight year.

Female athlete: For the third straight year, McKenzy Harden won all of her Valley Oak League conference matches while starring at No. 1 singles for Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team. The senior wrapped up her illustrious career with a top-4 finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Championships. Harden had a combined record of 161-9 over the past four seasons, accumulating 97 straight victories in conference play.

Male newcomer: Greg Mathews starred at receiver and safety during his first season of varsity football at Central Valley High School. The junior caught 51 passes for 868 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Hawks, who posted a 4-6 overall record. He also collected a team-leading eight interceptions, one of which was returned 45 yards for a score.

Female newcomer: Ceres High's Jamie Beck emerged as one of the top varsity volleyball players in the area. The 6-foot-2-inch junior middle blocker tallied 442 kills, 86 blocks, 69 aces and 60 digs en route to leading the Bulldogs to their first Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearance since 2004-05, a 21-13 overall record and fourth-place finish in the Valley Oak League standings (9-7). Beck received first-team, all-conference honors.

Coach: Koeurn Phe, Omar Leon, Bryan Harden and Stephanie Hamilton warrant recognition. Phe guided Ceres High's varsity boys soccer team to its first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section championship, a year after losing 5-4 on penalty kicks to top-seeded River City in the finals. The Valley Oak League runner-up Bulldogs (17-3-3 overall, 12-2-2 conference) shut out crosstown rival Central Valley 2-0 for the Division IV crown. The victory snapped an eight-game winless streak (0-6-2) against the Hawks ... Leon was named VOL Coach of the Year for the second straight season. He led Central Valley High School's varsity boys soccer team to a conference title (12-1-3), Sac-Joaquin Section finals appearance and 17-4-5 overall record. The Hawks claimed the VOL crown after battling to a 1-1 tie versus the runner-up Bulldogs on the final day of the regular season ... Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team defended its VOL championship under Harden's guidance. The Bulldogs won a share of the conference crown (15-1), qualified for the Division II playoffs for the third straight year and went 20-5.

Game: Ceres High's varsity boys soccer team exacted revenge and achieved redemption on the biggest stage.

The Bulldogs made a return trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title game and erased the bad memory of last season's crushing penalty-shootout defeat with an impressive 2-0 win over crosstown nemesis Central Valley.

After time expired, Ceres High's student section stormed the field at Lincoln High's Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Forward Luis Martinez emerged from the dogpile with a huge smile on his face and jumped into the arms of goalkeeper Kyle Cerny.

The Bulldogs ended a four-year winless streak against the Hawks. Ceres High entered the section title game with an all-time record of 0-6-2 versus Central Valley. The Bulldogs had to settle for runner-up honors in the Valley Oak League behind the Hawks the past two seasons.

Junior Ramon Corona accounted for both of Ceres High's goals in the section finals.

A standing-room-only crowd at Bulldog Stadium watched nervously as Central Valley High School eeked out a 28-26 victory over Ceres High in the Fourth Annual Ceres Classic varsity football showdown.

The Bulldogs had two chances to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.

Hadon Lopez's 2-yard TD run cut the deficit to 21-20 with 4:09 to play in the fourth quarter. Kyle Cerny's low point-after kick was blocked.

The Hawks increased their lead to 28-20 when Tyree Jones raced 65 yards for a touchdown and Daniel Ochoa added the PAT at the 2:46 mark.

The Bulldogs answered on their subsequent possession as Justin Canatsy got behind a Central Valley defensive back and managed to stay in bounds in the right corner of the end zone while hauling in a 17-yard TD pass from sophomore Nick Welsh.

The Hawks stopped Lopez on a potential game-tying two-point conversion run with 1:02 remaining.

Central Valley recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

Jones couldn't stop smiling after the game while clutching the Ceres Classic perpetual trophy. The junior tailback rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Hawk running back Vince Lopez added 108 yards on 15 attempts. Central Valley sophomore quarterback Abraham Navarro scored twice on the ground (3, 1).

Hadon Lopez carried the ball 24 times for 132 yards and two scores. He also registered 10 tackles.

Ceres High managed to keep the game close even though its roster was decimated by injuries. Bulldog quarterback Josh Edwards suffered a career-ending knee injury at Sonora. Several of his teammates were also sidelined with crutches during the Ceres High-Central Valley.

Contributors: Central Valley's Jose Ramirez and Ceres High's Luis Martinez shared the Valley Oak League MVP award in varsity boys soccer. Martinez, a senior forward, had 25 goals and seven assists. Ramirez, a junior offensive midfielder, accumulated 16 goals and 21 assists ... Hawk striker Antonio Cabrera collected 29 goals and 17 assists ... Hadon Lopez had another solid season of varsity football at Ceres High despite missing three games with a knee injury. The junior linebacker made 67 tackles, had two sacks, forced one fumble and recovered a fumble. A healthy Lopez gained 132 yards and scored two touchdowns on 24 carries while playing running back for the first time during Week 10 against Central Valley ... Bulldog receiver Justin Canatsy had a productive year, tallying 46 catches, 574 yards and seven touchdowns. Hawk all-purpose player Vince Lopez filled the stat sheet. He rumbled for 969 yards and eight touchdowns on 118 carries. He picked off six passes, returning one 38 yards for a TD. Vince also had an 82-yard kickoff return score ... Alyssa Long did a little bit of everything while leading Central Valley's varsity volleyball team to a program-best fifth-place showing (7-9) in the VOL standings. The junior middle blocker finished with 13 kills, 13 digs and five blocks in the Hawks' 9-25, 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 upset of Sac-Joaqin Section Division III playoff participant Sierra. Long's all-round play propelled Central Valley to a combined six victories against East Union, Weston Ranch and Lathrop ... Leslie Wyatt, a third-year member of Central Valley's varsity girls golf team, made history by becoming just the second Hawk player to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason tournament. Wyatt placed 19th at the 18-hole VOL championships and finished 16th in the overall point standings ... Angie Prak won all 29 of her matches while competing at No. 2 singles for Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team during the VOL regular season. The senior earned a runner-up medal and section-playoff berth after finishing second at the league finals. She lost 6-0, 6-2 to Bulldog teammate McKenzy Harden.