Central Valley High School’s varsity football team dropped its final game of the 2014 season, 24-7, to crosstown-rival Ceres High.
The loss was a crushing blow for the Hawks, who were denied a spot in the playoffs.
Central Valley will open the 2015 campaign against the Atwater Falcons this Friday at Ceres High.
Kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
“We’re hungry,” said Central Valley senior running back/defensive back Jamarea Lumpkin. “We’ll put up a pretty big fight and hopefully come out with a win.”
Lumpkin and senior all-purpose player Moses Ghiorso will be counted upon heavily during the course of the season.
Ghiorso had a breakout year with the Hawks last fall.
He earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors on both offense and defense. He was voted WAC Special Teams Player of the Year as well.
Moses had 2,013 all-purpose yards in 10 games.
He rushed for 735 yards and 13 touchdowns on 93 carries.
He hauled in 21 passes for 517 yards and seven TDs.
He totaled 562 yards on 17 kickoff returns.
Ghiorso had six interceptions, returning one for a score, recorded five pass deflections and collected 13 tackles.
Lumpkin was Central Valley’s second-leading rusher his junior year.
He piled up 524 yards and six touchdowns on 72 carries.
He averaged 7.3 yards per touch.
He caught 10 passes for 74 yards.
Jamarea registered 17 tackles and force two fumbles on defense.
“We want to succeed as a team,” Lumpkin said. “We have the talent. We’re strong mentally. We’re way more united. There are no clicks. Everyone is together.”
Senior Reuben Rodriguez will make his debut at quarterback.
Rodriguez’s junior campaign came to an abrupt end when he broke his left ankle in Central Valley’s 47-0 loss to Pacheco.
A safety on defense, Rodriguez totaled eight tackles in three games.
Reuben played QB at the JV (2013) and frosh (2012) levels.
He attended the Second Annual Nate Costa Football Camp during the summertime. Costa, former quarterback for Hilmar High and the University of Oregon, offered a three-day clinic in his hometown for 30 signal callers.
“If he doesn’t put a lot of pressure on himself, we’ll be fine,” said Scott Edwards, second-year head coach of the Hawks. “He just needs to run the system.”
Central Valley posted a 5-5 overall record and finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Western WAC standings (2-4) with Ceres High and Livingston last fall.
The Bulldogs played the role of spoiler with a 24-7 victory over the Hawks on the final day of the regular season.
Ceres High prevented Central Valley from securing its second straight playoff berth. The Bulldogs also snapped a seven-year losing streak against the Hawks.
“For us seniors, it’s our last year of high-school football,” Ghiorso said. “We’re more focused and dedicated. We’re working harder as a team. We have a closer bound. We don’t want to make the same mistakes as last year. We’re trying to push ourselves to be better. Our mindset is winning WAC and making playoffs. We do have talent. I’m looking forward to having a successful season.”