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Backyard battle set
• Ceres High, Central Valley football to clash on Friday
Backyard battle
Josh Ofisa and Ceres High will battle for bragging rights against Thomas Carrillo and Central Valley this Friday at Bulldog Stadium. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m. - photo by Dale Butler

The 14th installment of the Ceres Classic, which pits Ceres High against Central Valley in varsity football, will be staged this Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

The Bulldogs and Hawks will enter the crosstown showdown with identical 0-0- records.

“It’s the first game of the year,” Hawks’ head coach Scott Edwards said. “It’s Ceres and Central Valley. It’s a rivalry. The kids are going to be jacked. We don’t want to overbuild it (the importance of the contest). But you don’t want to undersell it. It’s a huge game.”

Running back Montrell Block, receiver Fernando Sosa, linemen Josh Ofisa, Elias Saldana and Diego Fernandez, linebacker Isaias Jimenez and defensive back Aaron Delgado will lead Ceres High.

Quarterback Andrew Hernandez, running back Isaiah Hidalgo, receiver Erick Martinez-Stucchi, lineman Thomas Carrillo, linebacker Chris Simental and cornerback Xavier Alvarez will lead Central Valley.

“I’m excited for the match-up,” Carrillo said. “It’s always a fun game. We don’t want to lose to Ceres. But we don’t want to lose any game.”

“We have confidence in each other,” Sosa said. “We have positive minds. We’ll definitely be prepared. We’re going to go out there, compete and have fun. It’s important to put on a good show. It would be exciting to win.”

Established in 2006, Central Valley owns an 11-2 head-to-head record versus Ceres High. 

The Hawks bested the Bulldogs in 2018, 2017 (35-33), 2016 (51-10), 2015 (48-14), 2013 (48-15), 2012 (40-13), 2011 (55-11), 2010 (55-24), 2009 (28-26), 2008 (40-7) and 2007 (25-20).

Ceres High won the inaugural showdown in 2006 (20-7) and eliminated Central Valley from playoff consideration in 2014 (24-7).

The Hawks topped the Bulldogs for the fourth year in a row last fall.

Central Valley prevailed by shutout, 35-0.

Hernandez completed 14 of 15 passes for 132 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Hidalgo rushed for 111 yards and two TD on seven carries.

He totaled 35 yards on four receptions.

Martinez hauled in TD passes of 9 and 21 yards.

The Hawks limited the Bulldogs to 93 yards of total offense.

The Ceres Classic perpetual trophy—the hardware awarded to the winner of the rivalry game—was hoisted into the air by Central Valley players and coaches for the 11th time.

Sosa and his Bulldog teammates were devastated following last year’s loss to the Hawks.

“We don’t want to feel that feeling ever again,” he said. “We want to win that game so bad.”

No longer in the same conference, the Bulldogs and Hawks will face off in non-league play for the second year in a row.

Ceres High will try to end four years of frustration against Central Valley.

Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

 “We’ve been waiting for football to start since last season ended,” Hernandez said. “We’re all excited. If we execute, I feel like we can beat every team.”

Central Valley and Ceres High had a combined record of 3-17 in 2018.

The Hawks went 2-8.

The Bulldogs finished 1-9.