Andrott Alvarez limped off the field with a hamstring injury 15 minutes into the second half of the Ceres High varsity boys soccer team's crosstown showdown with Central Valley last week.
Alvarez returned to the game and provided a spark at offensive midfielder as the Bulldogs rallied for a 1-1 tie with the host Hawks on Jan. 17 at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex.
"The whole team was playing defensive," Ceres High head coach Danny Barragan said. "We decided to push up and take a risk when Andrott came back in. He's in really good shape. He has a lot of skill. He has good ideas and vision."
The Bulldogs moved to 0-2-2 in the WAC standings.
The Hawks moved to 2-1-2 in the Western Athletic Conference.
"I still think we should be playing a lot better," Barragan said. "The potential is there. This boosts our confidence."
Ceres High's Juan Chavez evened the score at 1-1 with a close-range goal in the final 10 minutes.
Enrique Montalvo assisted.
Isaac Juarez accounted for Central Valley's lone goal.
He blasted a shot into the net from 12 yards away midway through the opening half.
Bulldog goalkeeper Erick Martinez totaled seven saves.
"Honestly, the guy is really good," Barragan said. "He's the only freshman on the team. He's always prepared. He plays with heart. He motivates his teammates."
The Hawks appeared headed for a 1-0 victory over the Bulldogs before Chavez tallied the equalizer late in the game.
"Central Valley was doing better," Barragan said. "They out-touched us as far as possession. I decided to take a risk. We were already losing. We started attacking more."
Ceres High lost by blowout, 9-1, to Pacheco on Jan. 12.
Central Valley and Pacheco battled to a 1-1 draw on Jan. 10.
"They might have underestimated us," Barragan said.
Ceres High and Central Valley will play two more times this season.
The Bulldogs edged out the Hawks for the WAC's third-and-final playoff berth last winter.
Ceres High has participated in the playoffs eight out of the past nine years.