By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Central Valley, Ceres High face off in varsity football this Friday at Bulldog Stadium
Placeholder Image
The Ceres Classic trophy, which goes to the winner of the Central Valley-Ceres High varsity football contest, has been in the Hawks' possession for the past five years.

The Bulldogs won the inaugural showdown in 2006.

The seventh installment of the Ceres Classic will be staged at Ceres High this Friday at 7 p.m.

The Hawks (4-5, 1-4) will try to improve their all-time record versus the Bulldogs (2-7, 0-5) to 6-1.

"We just want to keep the winning tradition going," Central Valley star running back Ja'Quan Gardner said.

"They have a lot of talent," Ceres High receiver Caden Johnson said. "Beating Central Valley, that's what everyone wants. It would be a great way to end the season. It would give the team momentum going into next year. It would definitely be something we'll never forget. We're going to have to perform on both sides on the ball."

Gardner rushed for 307 yards and scored a program-record seven touchdowns in Central Valley's 55-21 blowout of Ceres High in 2011.

Ja'Quan will look to add to his 2012 season totals of 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He will also play defensive back. He's intercepted three passes this year.

"We can't let him get to the outside," Johnson said. "He has breakaway speed and good cuts."

Hawk teammates Benjamin Anitelea (linebacker), Marcus Rodriguez (lineman), Nick Van Tuinen (lineman), Raul Godinez (safety/linebacker), Milton Uti (defensive end/linebacker/receiver), Angelo Bermudez (all purpose), Kendel Johnson (defensive back/receiver/quarterback) and Abraham Navarro (quarterback) will be counted upon as well.

Anitelea had a team-high 61 tackles and one fumble recovery through Central Valley's first eight games.

Godinez had 48 tackles, two interceptions, two pass deflections and one sack.

Uti had 35 tackles and four sacks. He caught 14 passes for 179 yards and five touchdowns.

Bermudez accumulated 324 yards and four touchdowns while splitting playing time at receiver and running back.

Navarro, a fourth-year starter, passed for 793 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The Bulldogs will be led by Johnson (66 receptions, 865 yards and seven touchdowns), quarterback Blake Hurst (1,144 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions), receiver Dylan Canatsy (31-337-5), running back Jorge Arroyo (142-502-1), linebacker Damien Underwood (45 tackles, three fumble recoveries, two sacks and one forced fumble), and defensive backs Domingo Bermudez (29 tackles, two pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one touchdown) and Adam Welsh (54 tackles, two pass deflections and one fumble recovery).

"They got some weapons on offense," Central Valley head coach Jason McCloskey said.

Brothers Domingo and Angelo will face off for the second year in a row.

Angelo helped lead the JV Hawks past Domingo and the Bulldogs last season.

"I love him," Angelo said. "But I want to beat him at everything."

Ceres High and Central Valley have dropped five and four games straight, respectively, entering Friday's showdown.

The Bulldogs collected wins against Gregori (27-26) and Johansen (45-32) earlier this season. Ceres High lost to Pacheco (41-20), Central Catholic (69-7), Los Banos (45-0), Livingston (42-28) and Patterson (54-21).

The Hawks beat Gregori (27-16), Johansen (27-0), Madera South (32-20) and Livingston (42-7). Central Valley lost to Golden Valley (28-24), Patterson (21-20), Pacheco (30-20), Los Banos (29-0) and Central Catholic (38-6).

The Hawks have dominated the crosstown series.

"It's going to be a good game," Angelo Bermudez said. "We're not taking them lightly."

"I've watched them in person," McCloskey said. "They've been getting better each week. We've been struggling on offense. I don't think it's going to be an easy win. We don't want to end the season with a loss. The pressure is off to make playoffs. It's time to have fun."