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Cougars defeat varsity Hawks
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Abraham Navarro's 13-yard touchdown pass to Milton Uti with 1:14 left in regulation gave Central Valley High School's varsity football team a glimpse of hope.

The senior quarterback watched helplessly from the sidelines as Golden Valley recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

The host Cougars survived, 28-25, Friday night in Merced.

Golden Valley kicked off the 2012 campaign with a 49-7 loss to Downey the previous week.

Central Valley battled back for a 27-16 win over Gregori and its first senior class of players.

The Hawks didn't underestimate the Cougars.

"We never go into a game overconfident," Central Valley head coach Jason McCloskey stated. "I don't care what it says on paper. Anybody can beat you at anytime. You got to respect your opponent."

The Hawks piled up 374 yards of total offense but turned the ball over twice in Golden Valley territory. Central Valley racked up 85 yards in penalties.

Navarro tallied 150 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while connecting on 10 of 16 pass attempts. He also scored a rushing TD.

Central Valley standout Ja'Quan Gardner ran for 181 yards and one touchdown on 24 attempts. He caught three passes for 76 yards.

Junior receiver Milton Uti totaled 44 yards and two touchdowns.

Nick Van Tuinen starred on defense. He had nine tackles and one sack.

Marcus Rodriguez made six tackles.

Ruben Casas had three tackles, one interception and one pass deflection.

For the second week in a row, Central Valley fell behind early.

The Hawks also failed to execute on special teams again. Jashaan Wright's 80-yard kickoff return touchdown gave Golden Valley a 28-12 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Navarro's 29-yard TD pass to Uti cut the deficit to 21-12 minutes earlier.

"Everybody made mistakes, including myself," McCloskey said. "We were our own worse enemy."

Central Valley trailed 14-6 at intermission.

The Hawks faced a two-touchdown deficit before Gardner scored on a 10-yard run late in the first quarter.

Golden Valley receiver Andre Bodiker, sidelined the previous week for disciplinary reasons, had TD catches of 79 and 18 yards.

Wright's 19-yard touchdown reception increased the Cougars' lead to 21-6 in the third quarter.

"We knew it was going to be a fight," McCloskey said. "They made big plays and we didn't. We all need to get better."

Central Valley will play against winless Johansen (0-2) this Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

The non-league game will get underway at 7:30 p.m.