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Hawks extend unbeaten streak
Central Valley High School varsity boys soccer player Jose Ramirez missed his team's Valley Oak League opener against Manteca on Sept. 18.

The sophomore midfielder made the most of his return to the Hawks' starting lineup on Tuesday, Sept. 23, by tallying a goal in a 2-1 win over visiting Oakdale.

Ramirez had been sidelined with flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat, dizziness and migraine headaches. He continued to practice with the team despite feeling under the weather.

"I went to the doctor," Jose said. "He told me to take some time off. I didn't want to do that."

In the hours leading up to kickoff in his VOL debut, Ramirez had trouble staying focused at school, especially in his sixth-period art class.

"I was looking at the clock constantly, just waiting for the bell to ring," Jose said. "I've been wanting to play so bad."

Central Valley shut out Sonora 3-0 at Dunlavy Field on Thursday to remain in a first-place tie at 3-0 in the VOL standings with crosstown rival Ceres High. The Hawks also extended their unbeaten streak to nine games (8-0-1).

Central Valley managed to beat Oakdale despite its offensive struggles.

"We should have had at least five goals," Hawks head coach Omar Leon said. "We had a lot of chances. We need to work on finishing."

The Hawks took a 1-0 lead when Ramirez blasted a 10-yard shot into the lower-left corner of the net in the eighth minute.

"I felt very excited," Jose said. "I didn't know it was going to happen that quick. That goal made my day."

Added Leon: "He's a very talented player."

Central Valley scored what proved to be the game-winning goal 27 minutes into the second half.

Larry Hernandez sent a 40-yard pass into the box and Juan Pacheco finished from close-range with his right foot.

Five minutes later, Oakdale standout Robert Gilbert converted a penalty kick to make it a 2-1 game.

The Hawks survived during the final 13 minutes.

Bobby Chantavong had a standout game on defense for Central Valley. He logged playing time at left and right fullback.

"We pulled through," Ramirez said. "That's all that matters. A win is a win. The team showed a lot of effort out there."