The 2013 prep football season will get underway this Friday.
Central Valley will battle Manteca at Bulldog Stadium.
The non-conference game will begin at 7 p.m.
Ceres High will compete against non-league foe Modesto High at Downey High School.
Kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
"Manteca is supposed to go 10-0 this season," Hawks head coach Jason McCloskey said. "I watched them scrimmage. They're big and physical. They're good at what they do. They're well-coached. We feel like we're the underdog and we have something to prove. We get to see what we're made of. The kids are excited. They have a tradition. I respect tradition. But to me it's a new year."
"I wouldn't be surprised if we won," Bulldogs head coach Bret Durossette stated. "We have comparable talent and coaches. I think it's going to be a darn, good football game. We're going to have to play well to win."
Ceres High, 2-8 overall and 0-6 in the Western Athletic Conference a season ago, hasn't compiled a winning record or qualified for the playoffs since 2004.
The Bulldogs expect to be more competitive this season.
Ceres High lacks depth but has a talented core of varsity newcomers in Brad Bussard (QB/DB, Jr.), Brent Bussard (RB/LB, Jr.), Tyree Williams (RB/LB, So.), Juan Anderson (WR/DB, Jr.), Blake Tobler (OL/DL, Jr.), Ramon Coral (OL/DL, Jr.) and Adrian Torres (OL/DL, Jr.).
Brad, Brent, Tyree and Juan played major roles while leading the Bulldogs' 2012 junior-varsity football team to a 4-6 overall record (2-4, WAC).
Brad threw for 1,398 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He scored four rushing TDs as well.
Brent caught 21 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns. He rushed for 295 yards and three scores. He also had 65 tackles and two sacks.
Tyree gained 640 yards and scored four times on the ground. Williams tallied 62 tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Juan totaled 468 yards and three TDs on 30 receptions.
Ceres High's top returnees are Dylan Canatsy (WR/DB, Sr.), Pietro Puducay (OL/LB, Sr.), Domingo Bermudez (WR/DB, Sr.) and Dominic Durossette (WR/DB, Sr.).
Canatsy ranked second on the team as a junior in receptions (37), yards (399) and touchdowns (5) while contributing at receiver.
Puducay made 44 tackles and forced two fumbles.
Bermudez had 32 tackles, three pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one interception.
Durossette chipped in with 15 tackles, one interception and one pass deflection.
"We have a chance to have a winning record heading into league," Brad Bussard said. "It will help us out tremendously with our confidence."
"I don't know how good we're going to be but I truly believe we're turning the corner," Bret Durossette added.
Central Valley fell one victory shy of accomplishing a first in 2012-qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The Hawks expect to make history this year thanks to their experienced-laden roster.
Senior Ja'Quan Gardner, Central Valley's all-time greatest running back, will look to add to his program-record totals.
A standout at the varsity level since his sophomore year, Gardner's racked up 3,547 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground.
He was voted Western Athletic Conference Offensive MVP in 2011.
Ben Anitelea (LB/FB, Sr.) had a productive junior season with the Hawks.
He was named to the WAC Second Team. Anitelea ranked second overall and first at his position with 75 tackles in conference play.
He tallied five tackles behind the line of scrimmage, one sack, one fumble recovery, one interception and one pass deflection.
Ben also returned a fumble 38 yards for a touchdown.
Angelo Bermudez (RB/WR, Jr.) will showcase his versatility for the second year in a row.
Bermudez had 1,162 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns at the varsity level as a sophomore.
Milton Uti (DB/WR, Sr.) hauled in a team-leading five TD passes as a junior.
Uti racked up 44 tackles and five sacks.
Kendel Johnson (QB/DB, Sr.) replaces four-year quarterback Abraham Navarro.
Johnson opened eyes at the Oakland Nike Football SPARQ Combine in May at Laney College.
About 1,000 athletes from 15 different states participated.
Kendel posted the 25th-best overall score (91.23).
He had a 34.4-inch vertical jump, 4.79 40-yard dash time, 4.33 20-yard shuttle and 38-foot power ball throw.
Johnson completed 2 of 7 passes for 13 yards, rushed for 77 yards on 18 carries and caught two passes for 13 yards in four games for the Hawks. He had 17 tackles, two pass deflections, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
The Hawks finished 5-5 on the year and fifth in the WAC standings (2-4) last season.
"We got high expectations," McCloskey said. "We plan on being a lot more dynamic and efficient. I think this is the year. They don't want to let each other down."
The Bulldogs and Hawks co-hosted a six-team scrimmage at Ceres High on Saturday.
"There were a lot of people there," McCloskey said. "It was a good fundraiser for both schools. Hopefully, we can continue to do it every year."
Ceres High played against Weston Ranch and West of Tracy.
Central Valley challenged East Union and Modesto High.
"It was a payday for everybody," coach Durossette said. "Offensively, we did very well. We had some kids that really impressed us. Defensively, we flew to the ball. We had a lot of good moments."
Added McCloskey: "Offensively, we had our ups and downs. We dominated on defense. We improved. We stayed healthy. That's all we wanted to do."