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Hawks get a head start
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Practice ended at 6:15 p.m. Prospective members of the Central Valley High JV and freshman football teams walked off the field at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High. Sophomore Tony Marques and freshman Trevor Mew stayed after for several minutes to talk about the summer and upcoming season. They answered a host of questions.

"Our coaching staff is great," said Marques, an all-purpose player for the JV squad. "They're challenging us. They're pushing us so we can get in shape for four quarters."

"These coaches work us hard but don't yell at us," said Mew, who's vying for playing time at quarterback and outside linebacker.

Coach Tim Garcia and his staff held their first voluntary practice on June 20. The Hawks have been working on conditioning, speed and agility, and offensive and defensive drills for the past three weeks. They meet four times a week, Monday through Thursday, from 4-6 p.m.

"We're out here trying to build some team chemistry," Garcia said.

Around 56 players attended practice on July 5. They gasped for air and put their hands on their sides during a conditioning drill. They were supposed to run 10 two 40s.

"We only got five," Garcia said. "That's okay. This is our first time doing it."

Added Marques: "We're out of shape. You can see it."

Central Valley High's coaches and players gathered near the 50-yard line at the end of practice. Garcia and company provided encouragement.

"We got a lot better today," he said. "Keep working hard."

Central Valley will scrimmage against the Downey Knights in Modesto on Sept. 3. The Hawks open the 2005 season at Cesar Chavez High School on Sept. 9.

"I think we're going to do great," Marques said. "Our defense is going to kill other teams."

Mew said he has a lot to improve on.

"I need to pick up more speed, work on my footwork and bulk up," Mew said. "That's what the weight training is going to do for me." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier