Mark Ramirez and his Central Valley varsity football teammates envisioned battling for a league title and playoff berth during their first season in the Central California Conference.
Losers of eight consecutive games, the Hawks ended the 2018 season on a positive note last week.
Central Valley edged visiting El Capitan 23-16 on Senior Night Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
“The motivation was really high, especially for us seniors, because we knew it was our last game. We didn’t want to have any regrets at the end of the game.”Mark Ramirez
“The motivation was really high, especially for us seniors, because we knew it was our last game,” Ramirez said. “We didn’t want to have any regrets at the end of the game.”
The Hawks compiled a 2-8 overall record and finished sixth in the CCC standings (1-5).
The winless Gauchos dropped to 0-9 and 0-5.
“Not winning many games is upsetting,” Ramirez said. “We definitely could have done better. Sometimes we got too comfortable and that’s when we started messing up. I’m going to remember this team not as 2-8 but as a team that fought hard every game and just came up short sometimes.”
Ramirez had one rushing touchdown against El Capitan.
Quarterback Andrew Hernandez tossed one TD pass.
Hernandez also scored once on the ground.
Xavier Alvarez had a TD reception on offense and game-sealing interception on defense.
Central Valley led 15-8 at halftime.
Hernandez scored on a 10-yard run early in the first quarter.
Hernandez and Alvarez combined for a 34-yard TD late in the second quarter.
Ramirez accounted for the winning touchdown.
Down 16-15, Ramirez raced 15 yards for a score with 2:34 to play in the contest.
“It was important to win the game,” Ramirez said. “We (the seniors) wanted to show the juniors and sophomores on the team you have to keep fighting.”
The Hawks amassed a 26-16 overall record (14-8 Western Athletic Conference), claimed one league title and qualified for the playoffs twice under head coach Scott Edwards’ guidance from 2014-17.
“The CCC was a big step in competition,” Ramirez said. “The teams are more aggressive. The players are bigger, stronger and faster. We still expected to do a lot better. Next year, they’ll be prepared for the CCC. They just need to work harder.”