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Hawks win one for Rick
Fifteen minutes before kickoff against cross-town rival Ceres High, Rick Rogers watched from the end zone with crutches under both arms as his Central Valley varsity football teammates warmed up.

His senior season came to an abrupt end when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while returning a kickoff on Nov. 7 against Manteca.

A third-year starter at receiver and cornerback, Rogers led the team in receptions (63), and ranked second in yards (912) and touchdowns (10).

"I wanted to play so much," said Rick, whose faced quivered as he fought to hold back tears. "For it to be taken away like that sucks. It made me realize how much I love football. It's not just a game. I have friends out there. They're my brothers."

Rick participated in the Senior Night ceremony at Bulldog Stadium. He was accompanied by his parents Chuck and Teresa. Head coach Tim Garcia greeted them with hugs near midfield.

"We emphasized all week long doing this for Rick," Garcia said. "He means everything to the program. It's very unfortunate what happened to him."

Rogers also delivered a pre-game speech in the locker room.

"I told them to enjoy every second they're on the field," he said.

Rick has been playing football for 10 years. The most serious injury he suffered prior to this year was at the age of nine when he hit his head on a sprinkler while practicing at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High School.

"I've had concussions before but nothing like this," Rogers said. "I haven't missed a practice or game in all four years (at Central Valley). It's just so hard to sit and watch."

Trevor Mew, Deangelo Williams and Vince Lopez put on a show for their injured teammate as Central Valley cruised to a 40-7 win over Ceres High.

"I'm not surprised," said Rogers, who posed for pictures with the Ceres Classic trophy and his teammates after the one-sided contest. "We work hard."

Mew, a senior quarterback, completed 13 of 19 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns. He also added a 1-yard rushing score.

Williams, Central Valley's standout junior receiver, caught five passes for 130 yards and three TDs.

Junior Vince Lopez rushed for 133 yards on 23 carries, and grabbed four passes for 78 yards and a score.

Lopez and Williams both had one interception on defense.

"We had to step it up for Rick," Deangelo said. "He's one of the most incredible leaders we have. He taught me to be a better player."

"It was tough because he wanted to be out there real bad," Mew added. "For that to happen during his senior year was bad luck. He's one of the hardest working kids on the team."

Rogers will have surgery on his knee this month.

The recovery process will take half a year, which means he'll be sidelined during the basketball and baseball seasons.