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Hawks, Dawgs stay busy
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More than 60 prospective members of Central Valley High School's football program practiced for two hours on Tuesday, May 24.

Abraham Navarro completed passes to Greg Tripp, Anthony Centeno and Nick Van Tuinen, and handed the ball off to Cody Melton and Josh Garcia.

Over at Ceres High School, Nick Welsh, Blake Hurt and Caden Johnson were among the 20-plus players toiling in the hot sun under the watchful eye of new head coach Bret Durossette.

Durossette, who returned to the Bulldogs after a five-year break, cut practice short by an hour due to a lack of numbers.

"We got to get more excitement," Durossette said. "It's disheartening. Hopefully, more kids will start showing up."

Added Hurst: "We have great athletes at this school. We just got to get them out here. I'm going to call a couple of my buddies tonight."

Hurst, quarterback for Ceres High's junior-varsity team the past two years, will be vying for playing time at the same position during the upcoming season.

The Hawks' and Bulldogs' varsity football teams compiled records of 1-4 and 0-5, respectively, in the Western Athletic Conference last fall. Four of the league's six teams made playoffs in 2010, excluding Ceres High and Central Valley.

The Bulldogs won one league title, qualified for the postseason twice and posted a 26-36 overall record under Durossette's guidance from 2000-05.

"Our goal is to win," he said. "It's going to take a lot of hard work. I think we're ready for the challenge."

"We're all looking forward to the football season," Hurst said. "That's all we're talking about during school hours. We should be good this year. We should improve."

Central Valley returns multiple starters, including Navarro, Tripp, Centeno, Melton, Cristian Chavez and Wyatt Faulkner.

Ja'Quan Gardner, a sophomore running back/safety, will contribute at the varsity level.

"We lost a couple of key guys but everyone else comes back," Hawks head coach Tim Garcia said. "Hopefully, we'll make some noise."

Central Valley's spring practices have been well attended. The Hawks average close to 80 players per session.

"We've had a really good turnout," Garcia said. "There's more interest. Our players are our best recruiters."