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Hawks collect first conference win
Head coach Tim Garcia offered some words of encouragement to co-captains Vince Lopez and Alex Casas before the Central Valley High School varsity football team's contest with Weston Ranch.

"He talked about mistakes and second chances," Lopez said.

A week after being suspended for their roles in Homecoming tomfoolery, Vince and Alex returned to the lineup to spark a much-needed 35-16 victory over the Cougars on a chilly Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

The two seniors combined for four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Lopez rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns, and returned a kickoff 82 yards for a score. He also picked off Weston Ranch quarterback Jason Steele's first two passes.

Casas snagged a short pass from Hawk freshman quarterback Abraham Navarro and sprinted 36 yards for a TD. He also added an interception on defense.

"I can't explain how much we wanted to get on the field," Vince said. "We were both itching to play. We had a fire lit inside of us."

The Hawks climbed out of the Valley Oak League cellar thanks in large part to the all-round play of Lopez and Casas. Central Valley improved to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play.

The Hawks executed on offense, defense and special teams against the Cougars. The previous week, Central Valley squandered a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead to East Union.

"We all played our best game today," Lopez said. "It wasn't just me and Alex. Other people made plays too."

The Hawks reeled off 28 straight points before the Cougars got on the scoreboard with 3:04 to play in the third quarter.

Central Valley stormed to a 21-0 lead in the first half as Lopez scored on runs of 13 and 7 yards, and Navarro lofted a 19-yard touchdown pass to junior Greg Mathews in the right-corner of the end zone.

Weston Ranch was limited to six yards of total offense in the opening 24 minutes. The Cougars' first three possessions ended with interceptions.

Central Valley will face Manteca (5-3, 3-2) this Friday at Guss Schmeidt Field with kickoff slated for 7:15 p.m.