Few gave Ceres High's varsity football team a chance to beat Central Valley last week despite their nearly identical 3-6 and 4-5 overall records.
The Bulldogs challenged the Hawks from start to finish as the outcome wasn't decided until the game's final minute.
Ceres High fell short in its quest to reclaim the Ceres Classic perpetual trophy.
Central Valley escaped with a 35-33 victory Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
The Western Athletic Conference season finale featured six lead changes.
The two teams combined to score 43 points in the fourth quarter.
"It was a really fun game to play in," said Andrew Gibson, a dual-threat running back for the Bulldogs.
Added Ceres High head coach Bret Durossette: "We were making plays. They were making plays. We were right there. It was a great effort."
The Bulldogs compiled a 3-7 record and finished in last place in the Western Athletic Conference standings (0-5) this fall.
The Hawks went 5-5 and 2-3 (fourth place).
Ceres High sophomore Dalton Durossette threw for 274 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions while completing 23 of his 32 pass attempts against Central Valley.
"He's a very smart quarterback," Hawks' safety/running back Estevan Barragan said. "He's big. He's athletic. He has a cannon for an arm. If he would have had more weapons like Patterson, he could have been MVP of the league. He has a bright future ahead of him."
Gibson caught nine passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
David Nichols hauled in six passes for 58 yards and one TD.
Andrew Alcala grabbed two passes for 27 yards and one score.
Felipe Martinez totaled 15 yards and one touchdown on three receptions.
Cody Carpenter finished with 34 yards on two catches.
Isaac Santana had one catch for 19 yards.
Ceres High mustered just 49 rushing yards on 26 attempts.
Martinez ran for 49 yards on 11 carries.
Gibson gained 26 yards on 12 carries.
Jaime Topete led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles.
Martinez and Alcala both made seven tackles.
Shane Bell collected four tackles and one sack.
Santana had three tackles and one forced fumble.
Daniel Hadwick added one tackle, one fumble recovery and three pass deflections.
Ceres High had a chance to send last week's rivalry game into overtime.
Durossette's 10-yard TD strike to Gibson cut the deficit to 35-33 with 43 seconds left in regulation.
Dalton's potential game-tying 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
Gibson and Nichols both attempted to make a reception near the right side of the end zone.
"I ran my route and didn't think Dalton was throwing it to David," Gibson said. "I reached for the ball and it bounced off my fingertips."
The Bulldogs lost their third straight Ceres Classic to the Hawks.
Ceres High has an all-time record of 2-10 versus Central Valley in conference play.
The Bulldogs and Hawks will play Week Zero during the 2018 campaign.
"The main goal was to get the trophy back for our coaches," Gibson said. "It does hurt not being able to do that. It was a fun and frustrating night. We'd score. They'd score. I thought we were going to win. We almost did."