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Ceres High’s 2003 team ended playoff drought
2016 CHS team
Central Valley High School’s football team reached new heights in 2016. The Hawks posted a program-best 9-2 overall record and claimed their first-ever conference title.

The Ceres Courier looks back on Ceres’ top high school football teams since I started covering the sport in 2001.

Central Valley (2016)

Central Valley High School’s football program had a banner year in 2016.

The Hawks made history by posting a program-best 9-2 overall record and capturing their first-ever league title. 

Central Valley won all five of its Western Athletic Conference games.

The Hawks participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons. 

Central Valley had its team-record eight-game winning streak snapped in the first round of the playoffs. 

The Hawks’ stingy defense totaled 33 sacks and surrendered just 11.8 points per game on the season.

Central Valley averaged 258.5 yards rushing and 30.3 points per game.

The Hawks won nearly every major award during the WAC year-end coaches’ meeting.

Scott Edwards was voted Coach of the Year.

A standout offensive and defensive lineman, Erik Mejia made program history by being named Most Valuable Player. He had 42 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 11 games. The Hawks piled up 2,843 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground thanks in large part to Mejia’s blocking.

Oso Fregoso was named Outstanding Defensive Player.

He garnered first-team all-league recognition as well.

Fregoso racked up 72 tackles, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, two pass deflections and one fumble recovery at defensive end.

Gabriel Quezada was named the Outstanding Defensive Lineman.

Quezada totaled 44 tackles, 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Angel Lopez was named Outstanding Special Teams Player.

He led the conference in kick scoring (20), point-after-touchdown kicks (20), touchbacks (13) and field goals made (four).

Lopez booted field goals of 47, 41, 30 and 28 yards.

David Serrano earned first-team all-WAC honors for outstanding play on both offense and defense.

Serrano tallied 43 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass deflection.

He started at left tackle on Central Valley’s offensive line.

Jonathan Barragan, younger brother Estevan Barragan and Nasson Sanchez were all selected to the WAC First Team.

Jonathan enjoyed a breakout season with the Hawks. He racked up 1,731 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns. He gained 1,148 yards and scored 13 TDs at running back. He caught 13 passes for 266 yards. He also returned a punt 56 yards for a score.

Estevan earned first-team accolades for the second year in a row at safety.

He had 91 tackles, six pass deflections, one fumble recovery and one sack.

Sanchez, an inside linebacker, had 63 tackles, five pass deflections, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one sack.

Fullback Gerardo Solorzano was selected to the WAC Second Team.

David Lezama, Cipriano Salazar, Chase Winchester, Julian Gutierrez and Johnny Velasquez were honorable-mention picks.

Lezama and Salazar started at left guard and right guard, respectively, on offense.

Winchester, Gutierrez and Velasquez all played defensive back.

Ceres High School (2003)

Ceres High School amassed a 7-4 record, qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in eight years and won seven of nine games en route to a third-place finish in the ultra-competitive Central California Conference in 2003 under Bret Durossette’s direction.

Cruz Leon, Brandon Crawford, Isaiah Beard, Brian Borges, Derrick Goblirsch and Matt Venema led the way.

Leon was voted the CCC’s Outstanding Linebacker.

A first-team all-conference selection as well, Leon made 97 tackles, had one sack and recovered one fumble.

Crawford earned first-team, all-CCC honors on offense. The halfback rushed for 954 yards on 159 carries and scored a school-record 16 touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 205 yards.

A three-year starter on the offensive line, Beard was selected to the CCC First Team.

He was a solid run and pass blocker at guard during his final season with the Bulldogs.

A second-team all-CCC performer at safety, Borges tallied 85 tackles, four picks and one fumble recovery.

Goblirsch passed for 1,374 yards and 12 touchdowns during his first season at quarterback.

Venema contributed at linebacker.

Ceres High School (2004)

The last time Ceres High’s football program won a league title was in 1985, when Bret Durossette starred at quarterback. 

In November of 2004, Durossette, Ceres’ head coach, and the Bulldogs captured a share of the inaugural Modesto Metro Conference championship with a 26-24 victory over Downey. 

Ceres High battled back from a 17-7 halftime deficit.

The victory also helped the Bulldogs (6-5, 4-1) secure a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs for the second year in a row and earn the right to host a postseason game for the first time since 1994.

Durossette was named the MMC Co-Coach of the Year. 

Approximately 13 of his players earned all-league honors, including Cruz Flores, A.J. Ball, Luis Malagon, Brian Borges, Brandon Gresham, Derrick Goblirsch, Ray Robles, Rafael Valencia, Adam Kent, Nick Eudy, Zack Wiedenbeck, Daniel Smith and Ryan Leazer.

Flores and Ball earned first-team, all-MMC honors on offense.

Flores ranked second in the Stanislaus District and MMC in receiving. He had 60 catches for 659 yards and three touchdowns.

Ball starred at left guard for the second year in a row.

Malagon, Borges and Gresham earned first-team, all-league honors on defense.

Malagon had 119 tackles, three sacks, one interception, which he returned 89 yards for a score, and one fumble recovery at linebacker. He registered a career-high 21 tackles against Franklin in the playoffs.

Borges ranked fourth in the District and first in the MMC with six interceptions, five of which came in the final six games, at safety. He also had 90 tackles and one fumble recovery.

Gresham was the top punter in the MMC. He averaged more than 40 yards per punt. He also had a host of punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

Goblirsch, Robles, Valencia and Kent earned second-team, all-league honors on offense.

Goblirsch ranked second in the District and first in the MMC in passing. He threw for 1,938 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Robles totaled 537 yards and scored five touchdowns at running back. He also had six catches for 96 yards and one touchdown.

Valencia ranked 11th in the District and fifth in the MMC in receiving. He had 33 catches for 277 yards and three touchdowns.

Kent started at center.

Eudy, Wiedenbeck and Smith earned second-team, all-league honors on defense.

Eudy (lineman) had 80 tackles and four sacks. He was double teamed most of the year.

Wiedenbeck (lineman) had 51 tackles, six sacks, including two for safeties, one forced fumble and one interception. He also recovered a fumble for a touchdown.

Smith (cornerback) had 39 tackles, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He also tallied two touchdowns. Smith returned an interception 20 yards and a fumble 28 yards for scores.

Leazer (cornerback/tailback) was an honorable-mention selection. He had 57 tackles, one sack and three touchdowns, including two rushing and one receiving.

Central Valley (2013)

Central Valley accomplished several firsts under head coach Jason McCloskey’s direction in 2013.

The Hawks qualified for the playoffs and compiled a winning record (6-5).

Central Valley relied heavily on running back Ja’Quan Gardner and quarterback Kendel Johnson.

Gardner broke the Stanislaus District’s career and single-season rushing yard records.

The three-year standout racked up 2,467 yards and 27 touchdowns during his final season with the Hawks. 

Gardner totaled 6,014 yards and 67 TDs in 31 career games.

Johnson, a dual-threat QB, rushed for 1,091 yards and 11 touchdowns. He passed for 783 yards with 10 TDs and eight interceptions. Johnson also had a 23-yard TD catch.

Gardner ran for 378 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries during 15th-seeded Central Valley’s 69-55 loss to No. 2 Manteca in the first round of the Division-III playoffs. He also tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Christian Romo.

Johnson totaled 221 yards and three scores on the ground.

The Buffaloes (13-2) captured section and Valley Oak League titles.

Gardner was voted the WAC’s Offensive Most Valuable Player.

Central Valley teammates Daniel Ochoa (punter/kicker), Marcus Rodriguez (defensive lineman), Cristian Chavez (offensive lineman), Orlando Nevarez (offensive lineman), Greg Tripp (wide receiver), Cody Melton (linebacker) and Hector Ornelas (defensive lineman) all earned league honors.

Ochoa (kicker/punter) was named Special Teams Most Valuable Player.