Underdogs on paper, Central Valley’s varsity football team embraced the challenge of facing unbeaten Enochs.
The Hawks dealt the Eagles their first loss of the season Friday evening at Johansen High School.
Central Valley outplayed Enochs in the first half and held on for a 21-14 victory in front of a large crowd.
“We had something to prove,” senior receiver Erick Martinez-Stucchi said. “We owed it to ourselves, coaches and fans to get the W. We wanted to wreck their unbeaten streak.”
“Our kids played much better as a team this week. They executed their roles.”Coach Scott Edwards
“Our kids played much better as a team this week,” head coach Scott Edwards said. “They executed their roles.”
Central Valley improved to 2-2 overall.
Enochs dropped to 3-1.
“We showed what we could do this game,” Martinez-Stucchi said. “It gives us momentum going into league.”
Led by cornerback Xavier Alvarez, Central Valley’s defense limited Enochs’ offense to just two touchdowns.
The Eagles averaged 29 points during their first three victories.
“It was a great defensive effort,” Edwards said. “That fueled the night.”
Central Valley generated 305 yards of offense against Enochs.
Andrew Hernandez completed 8 of 15 passes for 161 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
He also ran for 80 yards and one TD on 14 carries.
“Andrew’s doing a really good job of running the offense,” Edwards said. “He understands what we’re doing.”
Indy Hothi caught three passes for 87 yards and one touchdown.
Martinez-Stucchi totaled 50 yards and one TD on two receptions.
Isaiah Hidalgo rushed for 58 yards on 14 attempts.
Hernandez and Martinez-Stucchi combined for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:08 to play in the fourth quarter. Hernandez delivered a 30-yard strike to Martinez-Stucchi, who beat two defenders on his way to the end zone.
“If it’s a 50-50 ball, he can trust me to make the play,” Martinez-Stucchi said. “We have that connection.”
Ahead 21-14, Central Valley’s defense secured the victory by forcing a turnover on downs on fourth-and-6 at the Hawks’ 30-yard line. Central Valley ran the final two minutes off the clock.
“Our defense got us the ball back (most of the night),” Edwards said. “It would have been nice to capitalize more on the offensive side.”
Central Valley outscored Enochs 14-0 in the first half.
Hothi hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass from Hernandez.
Hernandez also scored on a 2-yard run.
The Eagles had an opportunity to cut the deficit to seven points late in the second quarter.
The Hawks prevented that from happening with a goal-line stand at the 3-yard line.
Enochs turned the ball over downs.
“It’s an amazing feeling knowing we can trust our defense to get the job done,” Martinez-Stucchi said.
The Hawks won two of their four preseason games.
Central Valley will open Central California Conference play on the road at Golden Valley this Friday.
The Hawks will battle the 2018 CCC-champion Merced Bears at 7 p.m.
“They lost a lot of talent to graduation, but they have a winning program,” Martinez-Stucchi said. “They’re reigning champs until someone takes that away.”
“We start over now,” Edwards added. “Our preseason schedule was a grind. We deserve to be 2-2. We hope to continue to progress.”