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Central Valley edges Ceres High 35-33 in football
David Serrano (pictured left), Estevan Barragan and Central Valleys varsity football team closed out the Western Athletic Conference season with a 35-33 victory over crosstown-rival Ceres High Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. The Hawks improved their all-time record against the Bulldogs to 10-2. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Eliminated from playoff contention, Central Valley's and Ceres High's varsity football teams battled for crosstown bragging rights during the final week of the 2017 season.

The Hawks and Bulldogs thoroughly entertained everyone in attendance as the 12th and final meeting between the two programs in conference play wasn't decided until the very end.

Central Valley hoisted the Ceres Classic perpetual trophy for the 10th time after outlasting Ceres High 35-33 Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

"If that's our last time playing Ceres High, that's the best way to go out," Hawks' senior running back/safety Estevan Barragan said. "It was a great game. We gave our fans what they wanted."

Central Valley posted a 5-5 overall record and placed fourth in the Western Athletic Conference (2-3) this fall.

The Bulldogs went 3-7 and finished last in the WAC standings (0-5).

"We faced a lot of adversity this season," Hawks' head coach Scott Edwards said. "We were in a lot of tight games. We finished the year on a high note."

Central Valley amassed 303 yards and four touchdowns on the ground against Ceres High.

The Hawks averaged 9.5 yards per attempt.

Barragan piled up 282 all-purpose yards during his final game with Central Valley.

Estevan rushed for 238 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs, on 20 attempts.

He totaled 44 yards on three receptions.

Barragan tallied a team-high 12 tackles on defense.

"My teammates made amazing blocks for me the whole night," Estevan said. "Everything was clicking."

Nasson Sanchez gained 61 yards and scored one TD on eight carries.

He caught two passes for 15 yards.

Sanchez collected 10 tackles.

Hawk quarterback Miguel Jimenez completed 9 of 15 passes for 81 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

James Benites' lone catch produced a 16-yard TD.

Sophomore Kyle Hendrix totaled 77 yards with a long of 62 on three kickoff returns.

Sophomore Daniel Ward chipped in with seven tackles.

David Serrano had six tackles.

Daniel Alvarez, Vince Bocanegra and Ryan Palecek all made five tackles.

"I knew they were going to bring it," Barragan said. "They wanted it just as bad as we did. They played with a lot of heart. We just made more key plays than them."

Central Valley edged out Ceres High in a game that featured six lead changes.

The two teams combined to score six touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"I knew it was going to be competitive," Edwards said. "I didn't think it would play out like that. It was a stressful night because they kept answering. It was a great game. Both teams should feel good about their efforts."

Ahead by just one point, Barragan raced 67 yards for a TD and Christian Palomares booted the subsequent PAT to extend Central Valley's lead to 35-27 with 2:52 to play.

Ceres High nearly sent the rivalry contest into overtime.

Dalton Durossette and Bulldog teammate Andrew Gibson combined for a 10-yard touchdown with 43 seconds left in regulation.

Durossette's potential game-tying 2-point conversion passs deflected off Gibson's fingertips and sailed out of bounds.

Serrano recovered Ceres High's onside kick in the game's final minute to secure the victory.

"It's a great feeling," Barragan said. "I can't describe it. We never lost confidence. Everyone was focused on the prize-the trophy. We didn't want to lose this game."

Central Valley beat Ceres High for the third year in a row.

The Hawks improved their all-time conference record versus the Bulldogs to 10-2.

"In those types of games, you have to stay focused," Barragan said. "You have to compete every play."

Central Valley and Ceres High will face off Week Zero next season.

The Hawks will move to the Central California Conference and Bulldogs will remain in the WAC as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section's league alignment plan for 2018-19.