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Bulldogs, Hawks prepare for 2018 football campaign
Quarterback Clayton Taylor (9) hands the ball off to running back Andrew Alcala (pictured right) during Ceres High’s first week of practice. The Bulldogs open the 2018 season against the crosstown-rival Central Valley Hawks on Aug. 17. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s football programs completed their first official week of practice for the 2018 campaign on July 27.

Returning and prospective players dedicated more than a dozen hours to preparation for the upcoming season, which begins in 16 days.

“Overall, it was really positive,” said Scott Edwards, fifth-year head coach of the Hawks. “We have good numbers, roughly 50 players. I don’t know what we’re going to look like. I’m going to adjust to the talent we have. We have some quality depth at every position.”

The Bulldogs had 45 participants.

“I’m happy with the turnout,” Ceres High first-year head coach Matt Chachere. “I was surprised by the level of commitment and energy of the players. It was nice.”

Central Valley practiced daily, from 4-6:30 p.m.

“I’m having fun developing this group. There’s a good mojo. They all get along.”
Hawks Coach Scott Edwards

“I’m reenergized right now,” Edwards said. “I’m having fun developing this group. There’s a good mojo. They all get along.”

Depending on the heat and air quality outside, Ceres High practiced from 3:30-6 p.m. or 5:30-8 p.m.

“Each day, we spent 20 minutes in the classroom,” Chachere said. “We taught new offensive and defensive concepts. We walked through alignments and assignments. The last two hours of practice were spent on the field applying what we learned in the classroom. I’m very happy with their work ethic.”

The Hawks also adjusted their practice schedule accordingly.

Central Valley walked through plays inside the school’s gymnasium.

Ceres High and Central Valley also made sure all of its players stayed hydrated.

“You use common sense,” Edwards said. “Every time there’s a rotation in practice, we send them to get water.”

Chachere faces a daunting task as he inherits a program that amassed a 29-101 overall record from 2005-17.

The Bulldogs haven’t posted a winning record or claimed a conference title since 2004.

"Hopefully, we have good success this year. That’s what we’re expecting.”
Ceres HighiCoach Matt Chachere

“We all understand programs don’t get built in a day,” Chachere said. “It takes time. Hopefully, we have good success this year. That’s what we’re expecting.”

Central Valley amassed a 26-16 overall record (14-8 Western Athletic Conference), won one league title and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs twice during Edwards’ coaching tenure.

The Hawks claimed the WAC crown with a perfect 5-0 mark in 2016.

“I think we made some strides my first four years here,” Edwards said. “Now, we have a new challenge.”

Conference rivals for the past 12 years, Ceres High and Central Valley will compete in different leagues this fall.

The Hawks moved to the Central California Conference as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s realignment plan.

The Bulldogs remained in the Western Athletic Conference, which was also revamped.

Ceres High and Central Valley are scheduled to play each other this year and in 2019.

The Bulldogs and Hawks will face off during Week Zero on Aug. 17 at Ceres High.

Erick Martinez intercepts a pass during a defensive drill while practicing with Central Valley’s football team last week.