Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s varsity football programs are scheduled to face off during the third game of the 2020 season.
The Bulldogs and Hawks will have more time to prepare for the 15th installment of the Ceres Classic contest, which will be staged on Jan. 22.
The 2019 crosstown showdown was the season opener for both teams. Ceres High and Central Valley played during Week Zero.
“That game is so big,” Bulldogs’ Athletic Director John Bussard said. “Putting it Week One, there wasn’t much buildup. We felt it was beneficial to everyone to move it to keep their interest peaked.”
“It’s going to be a great environment and game,” Hawks’ A.D. Greg Magni stated.
“It will benefit both programs,” Ceres High senior all-purpose player Amare Padilla added. “It gives us more time to prepare for each other. We’ll have better game plans for each other. We’ll know who can play what and the substitutions. Last year, we were going off how we did at scrimmages.”
The Bulldogs and Hawks both have new head coaches.
The Goblirsch brothers, Clinton (Ceres High) and Derrick (Central Valley), earned promotions.
Derrick replaced Scott Edwards, who resigned to spend more time with his family.
The Hawks amassed a 32-30 overall record, claimed one conference title and qualified for the playoffs twice during Edwards’ six-year tenure.
Clinton took over for Matt Chachere, who stepped down after two seasons.
The Bulldogs continued their losing tradition under Chachere’s guidance.
Ceres High had a combined record of 1-19.
“The schedule was done before I got hired,” Derrick Goblirsch said. “We look forward to the challenge. Every game is important. Win or lose that game, it’s not the end of the season. Obviously, we want to win the game. It’s important to the kids. They put a lot of emphasis on it.”
Central Valley has an all-time record of 12-2 versus Ceres High.
The Hawks won the 2019 showdown, 55-13.
Central Valley racked up 515 yards of total offense against Ceres High.
The Hawks had 310 rushing yards on 40 attempts.
Isaiah Hidalgo rushed for a career-high 205 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
He also returned a punt 60 yards for a score.
Ceres High quarterback Bryce Piatt completed 11 of 22 passes for 119 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Verlis Smith led the Bulldogs in receiving as he totaled 58 yards on five catches.
Central Valley outscored Ceres High 28-7 during the opening half.
The Hawks beat the Bulldogs for the fifth year in a row.
Central Valley topped Ceres High 35-0 in 2018, 35-33 in 2017, 52-10 in 2016 and 48-14 in 2015.
The Bulldogs won the inaugural showdown in 2006 (20-7) and eliminated the Hawks from playoff consideration in 2014 (24-7).
Padilla didn’t play against Ceres High last season. Formerly of Central Valley, Padilla missed the first four games to satisfy the California Interscholastic Federation’s transfer rule.
“I’m friends with a lot of their players,” he said. “We’re always talking trash. It would mean a lot to me to beat them because I know them so well.”
“There’s always excitement leading up to the game,” Padilla added. “This year, there’s more excitement. It will be a better matchup. Our team has a chance to be good. We have high expectations for the season.”
Central Valley posted a 4-6 overall record and finished in fifth place in the Central California Conference standings (2-4) last fall.
Last-place Ceres High was 0-10 overall and 0-7 in the Western Athletic Conference.
“We’re done being known as a losing program,” Padilla said. “We really want to change that.”
The start of the 2020 season was delayed until the first week of January by the CIF due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s so much unknown before now and then,” Derrick Goblirsch said. “A lot of different things can happen.”