A standing-room-only crowd watched Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s varsity football teams face off for the 14th time this past week.
“We were absolutely shocked at how many people showed up,” Bulldogs’ athletic director John Bussard said. “We were expecting a big crowd but nothing like that. Financially, it’s one of the largest gates we have ever pulled.”
Approximately 2,500 fans attended the Ceres Classic rivalry game Friday night at CUSD Stadium.
“The town and two schools did a great job supporting the programs,” Central Valley head coach Scott Edwards said. “It was pretty neat to see.”
“There were so many people there,” Ceres High senior receiver Fernando Sosa said. “It was so amazing to experience that. Our community came together to support both football teams.”
“The entire community showed up,” Central Valley senior receiver Erick Martinez-Stucchi said. “I wasn’t really expecting to see that many people. The line to get in wrapped around the softball field.”
“It means a lot,” Central Valley junior running back Isaiah Hidalgo said. “The town and students at our schools support us.”
The Hawks won 55-13 and improved their head-to-head record against the Bulldogs to 12-2.
Previous games between Central Valley and Ceres High drew fewer fans.
“I knew it was going to be packed,” Hidalgo said. “A line was already forming when we were warming up behind the stadium. The game obviously means a lot to everybody. It’s the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of. It’s a blessing.”
“Obviously, there’s a lot of excitement around the game,” Martinez-Stucchi said. “The support amps everyone up. It makes you want to do more on the field.”
“I’ve seen large lines before but nothing like that,” Bussard said. “We discounted ticket prices for an hour and a half so we didn’t have to make change so we could get people in faster. They would have missed part of the game if we didn’t do that. We definitely could have made more money.”