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Ex-Hawk will play football at the collegiate level
Vince Lopez boarded a plane in San Jose and flew to North Dakota on Saturday.

The 2010 Central Valley High School graduate will begin his freshman year at the University of Mary on Aug. 24.

Lopez earned a partial football scholarship to Hawks head coach Tim Garcia's alma mater.

"There's no place like home but you got to grow up some time," said Vince, who plans to pursue a career in law enforcement in the future. "I have one life to live. I want to make as many memories as possible. Most importantly, I'm getting my education done."

Lopez will in all likelihood redshirt his freshman year.

He'll be allowed to practice with the team but can't play in games.

"I get a year to get bigger and faster," Vince said. "It will benefit me for the future."

Lopez was recruited to play running back. He might contribute at cornerback. Vince starred at both positions at Central Valley.

"Running back would be my first choice but I'll do what's best for the team," he said. "Either way, I'm going to have fun."

Vince attended his first team meeting with the Marauders on Sunday. He reunited with former Ceres High quarterback Josh Edwards (class of 2010). Edwards was also awarded a partial scholarship.

"I talked with him at the gym a month ago," Lopez sad. "It will be cool to know somebody up there. We're both from the same place."

Vince had a highlight-filled career with the Hawks. He was a three-year starter.

Lopez contributed on offense, defense and special teams.

He was named to the Valley Oak League first team as a utility player this past season. He also received second-team, all-conference honors for his productivity on both sides of the ball.

Vince rushed for 969 yards and eight touchdowns on 118 carries. He intercepted six passes, returning one 38 yards for a TD. He also had an 82-yard kickoff return score.

Lopez and Central Valley had a 3-0 record against the crosstown Bulldogs.

"I'm proud of my accomplishments," said Vince, who represented the Hawks in two all-star games this summer. "I couldn't have asked for better coaches at Central Valley. They knew what they were doing."

Lopez has played with a chip on his shoulder his entire football career. Vince's size has never been a barrier. He stands 5-foot-7 on his tippy-toes and weighs 180 pounds.

"I won't pass the look test, but that hasn't stopped me before," Lopez said. "Everybody has to prove themselves. I'm real excited for the opportunity. I'm going to show them what I'm capable of."

Vince's mindset will remain the same.

"You can never be satisfied," he said.