By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Backyard brawl: CHS versus Central Valley
The Ceres Classic perpetual trophy will be up for grabs when Central Valley's and Ceres High's varsity football teams tangle this Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

"I've been having dreams about what's going to happen in the game," Ceres High senior receiver/cornerback Martino Bertolotti said. "I'm excited. I just want to play already."

The Hawks and Bulldogs enter the Valley Oak League finale with identical 2-4 records (fifth place).

Central Valley and Ceres High posted victories over Weston Ranch and East Union. They lost to Sierra, Manteca, Oakdale and Sonora.

Second-place Sierra edged the Hawks (31-28) and Bulldogs (21-14). Third-place Sonora won by the slimmest possible margin at Ceres High (35-34) and pulled away late for a victory against visiting Central Valley (35-24).

"Our record doesn't show how good we really are," Bertolotti said. "We should have five wins on the season with at least four in league. It (beating Central Valley) will make up for the close games we lost to Sonora and Sierra."

Senior quarterback Trevor Mew will direct Central Valley's high-powered offense, which has averaged 25.5 points per game in conference play. The third-year starter ranks first in the Sac-Joaquin Section, just ahead of Oregon-State bound Cody Vaz of St. Mary's. Mew's completed 73.3 percent of his passes (168-for-229) for 2,688 yards and 25 touchdowns.

The Hawks also have one of the top receiving tandems in the area in Deangelo Williams (50 catches, 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns) and Rick Rogers (63-912-10).

Williams and Rogers rank second and third, respectively, in the section.

Rick, a third-year starter, won't be at 100 percent due to a knee injury sustained last week.

Vince Lopez, Central Valley's star running back, has accumulated 936 yards of total offense. The junior's rushed for 660 yards and four touchdowns on 93 carries. He's averaging 7.10 yards per touch. Lopez has also caught 23 passes out of the backfield for 276 yards and three scores.

"Coach (Tim Garcia) and his staff will have a good game plan," Mew said. "We're not worried about that. We just got to go out and execute."

Josh Edwards, Ceres High's junior quarterback, ranks eighth in the section with 1,630 passing yards and 14 touchdowns.

"We went into our season with our goal to be a running team," Bulldogs head coach Brett Johnson said. "Obviously, we changed plans. Josh has gotten better as the year progressed. I'm not surprised. He's an extremely coachable, hard-working kid."

Edwards has a trio of talented receivers to throw to in Bertolotti (35-475-6), Justin Canatsy (33-550-4) and Devaun McGregor (16-324-3).

Sophomore Hadon Lopez leads the team in rushing with 319 yards and three touchdowns on 70 carries.

Ceres High's defense has allowed 148 points in league, 19 fewer than Central Valley. The Bulldogs are led by middle linebacker Hadon Lopez (81 tackles, four-and-a-half sacks and two fumble recoveries), defensive end Justin Hidahl (38 tackles, two sacks and one interception) and cornerback Martino Bertolotti (39 tackles and three interceptions).

Vince Lopez has picked off three passes at cornerback for the Hawks.

"I'm expecting it to be close," Bertolotti said. "It's going to be a nail-biter."

The Ceres Classic series began in 2006. The first two games were decided by a combined 18 points with each team earning a victory.

The Bulldogs won the inaugural contest (20-7) against Central Valley's first-ever varsity team.

Central Valley avenged the loss in 2007 (25-20).

Which team is going to win this season?

"I don't think you can pick a favorite," Johnson said. "We're very comparable. Defensively, we match up really well with them. It's just going to be a matter of coming out and playing mistake-free football. I definitely like our chances."

"We have to put pressure on their quarterback and make him make mistakes," Bertolotti said. "We also have to play solid on offense and special teams. If we do that, we'll win the game. We want to prove we're the better team."

Mew and Co. remain confident heading into the big game.

"We should have no problem if we come out and do what we're supposed to do," Trevor said. "I'm not making any guarantees. But I can't see us not winning. It's going to be a battle."

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.