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Ground attack propels Hawks to 33-13 win over Spartans
Central Valley High School's varsity football team won its final pre-season game in impressive fashion.

Sophomore running back Ja'Quan Gardner generated the second-highest rushing total in program history and the Hawks got a momentum-changing stop from their defense en route to a 33-13 victory against Grace Davis Thursday night at Chuck Hughes Stadium.

"I've been expecting us to play like this," two-way starter Gabriel Alvarado said. "We got a lot of potential."

Gardner racked up 359 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries. He intercepted one pass and recovered a fumble on defense. Ja'Quan fell 33 yards short of shattering 2011 Central Valley grad Tyree Jones' single-game mark. Jones rumbled for 391 yards against Ceres High last season.

"I'm feeling good right now," Gardner said. "I'll be exhausted in the morning. I didn't know I had that many carries or yards. I did it thanks to my blocking and whole team."

The Hawks improved to 2-2 on the year.

The Spartans remained winless at 0-3.

Grace Davis had an opportunity to break a 13-all tie during its final possession of the third quarter. The Spartans' seven-play, 53-yard drive ended at the Central Valley 4. Alvarado tackled Joe Palacios for a 3-yard loss on fourth down while playing outside linebacker.

"That changed everything," Gabriel said.

Added Gardner: "Our whole team stepped up."

The Hawks' go-ahead drive consisted of 10 plays and covered 96 yards. Ja'Quan carried the ball nine times and scored on a 23-yard run to give Central Valley a 20-13 lead with 9:23 left in regulation.

Ja'Quan's fumble recovery helped set up Kenny Lopez's 1-yard quarterback keeper at the 3:01 mark.

Gardner's final touch resulted in a 75-yard touchdown with 1:06 to play.

"It's a relief having someone like that on our team," Alvarado said. "That kid's talented."

Ja'Quan sprinted 39 yards for a score in the first quarter.

Lopez and star receiver Greg Tripp combined for a 13-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Kenny filled in for Abraham Navarro, who was sidelined with a knee injury.

Central Valley opens the WAC season on the road this week. The Hawks will play at Livingston (3-1) on Friday. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.