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CV holds off Ceres High in JV affair
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The members of Central Valley High School's junior-varsity football team were in a jubilant mood after securing a 14-6 victory against crosstown rival Ceres High in a battle for bragging rights and league positioning on Thursday at Bulldog Stadium.

"This means everything," Central Valley standout running back Alex Casas said. "It's the most important game of the season. We were really upset from losing last year."

Added Hawks head coach Pat Leach: "Rivalry games are always close no matter what the record is."

Central Valley finished 4-6 overall this year, including 2-5 in the VOL. The Bulldogs went 2-8 overall, 1-6 in conference play.

The two squads entered the contest tied for fifth place in league. The loser dropped into last place with East Union.

Central Valley and Ceres High combined for 361 yards of offense and five turnovers. The Hawks outgained the Bulldogs 184-177.

"They did a great job of switching up their defenses," Leach said.

Central Valley running backs Casas, Dayjohn Sallie and Tyree Jones combined for 184 yards on 35 attempts.

Casas ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

Sallie gained 69 yards on eight carries.

Jones added 59 yards on 13 carries.

Bulldogs quarterback Josh Edwards completed 12 of 25 passes for 149 yards with one touchdown, an interception and a fumble.

Justin Canatsy grabbed seven passes for 109 yards and a score.

Brandon Jolley caught four passes for 32 yards. He also rushed for 37 yards on nine carries.

Central Valley took a 7-0 lead on Casas' 1-yard plunge. Dario Manriquez booted the extra point. The 42-yard drive consisted of six runs. Jones gained 20 yards on two carries. Sallie's lone carry resulted in a 12-yard gain.

Edwards engineered a 42-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 16-yard strike to Canatsy with 9.7 seconds remaining in the first half. Josh's two-point conversion pass sailed just out of reach of Jolley.

The Hawks' opening drive of the third quarter consisted of 12 straight runs, covered 73 yards, chewed up more than seven minutes and resulted in a TD. Casas scored on a 1-yard run.

"That was key right there," Leach said. "I challenged them at halftime."

Ceres High squandered several scoring chances in the red zone in the fourth quarter.

Central Valley defensive lineman Casey Ashlock intercepted an Edwards pass on fourth-and-goal from the Hawks' one and returned it 31 yards.

Alex Sanchez got the ball back for Ceres High when he recovered a botched Hawks quarterback-running back exchange at the Bulldogs' 49 with 3:56 to play.

Ceres High's final drive ended with turnover at Central Valley's 16. Hawks defensive lineman Nathaniel Lopez recovered Jolley's fumble with 1:34 remaining.

Central Valley proceeded to run out the clock with three straight runs and a knee. The Hawks escaped with an eight-point victory.

"We thought we were going to roll them," Casas said. "But they came out to play."

"Our defense stepped up big time," Leach said. "We set the tone for the varsity game."