The members of Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s football programs practiced in full gear for the first time this season last week.
“The energy’s been great,” Hawks’ head coach Scott Edwards said. “Guys are working hard. They’re enthusiastic.”
“I feel really good about where we’re at compared to last year,” Bulldogs’ leader Matt Chachere said. “Guys appear more comfortable because there’s been less of a learning curve.”
“Everybody was hyped up,” Ceres High senior lineman Elias Saldana said. “We fed off that energy.”
The Hawks will field varsity, junior-varsity and frosh-soph teams this fall.
Approximately 119 players will suit up for Central Valley, including more than 50 at the varsity level.
“The numbers are good,” Edwards said.
The Bulldogs will field varsity and frosh-soph teams.
About 78 players will suit up for Ceres High, including 43 at the varsity level.
“The guys are working really hard,” Chachere said. “They’re pushing each other. They’re buying into what needs to be done to win.”
On Wednesday, Central Valley receiver Erick Martinez-Stucchi showed off his route-running skills during one-on-one drills by creating separation with a stutter-step move prior to hauling in a long touchdown pass from Hawk quarterback Andrew Hernandez.
The Hawks and Bulldogs also dedicated a considerable amount of time to 11-on-11 drills last week.
“I’m happy where we’re at,” Hernandez said. “We still got to get better.”
Hernandez enjoyed competing against Mike Parsons’ defensive unit.
Parsons enjoyed a wealth of success while serving as head coach of Modesto Christian’s football program in the past.
“It was a battle,” Hernandez said. “They were flying around, swarming to the ball and hustling every play.”
The Bulldogs and Hawks inched one step closer to the start of new season by donning full pads for the first time.
“It’s been a positive start to the campaign,” Edwards said.
“We just finished up our second week of practice,” Saldana said. “I’ve enjoyed seeing what people are capable of. The majority of our players got the plays locked down.”
“The senior class is stepping up and being vocal,” Chachere said.
Ceres High and Central Valley open the 2019 campaign on Aug. 23.
The Bulldogs and Hawks will face off for the 14th time.
Central Valley owns an 11-2 head-to-head record versus Ceres High.
The Bulldogs and Hawks went 1-9 and 2-8, respectively, last fall.
Central Valley placed sixth (1-5) during its first season in the new-look Central California Conference.
Ceres High (1-6) finished fifth in the revamped Western Athletic Conference.
“We’re starting over from square one,” Edwards said.