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CV, CHS fail to meet expectations in football
Zach Baker (30) and Ceres High and Estevan Barragan (29) and Central Valley closed out the 2017 varsity football season on Nov. 3. The Hawks posted a 35-33 win against the Bulldogs. Central Valley and Ceres High compiled 5-5 and 3-7 records, respectively, this year. - photo by Photo courtesy of Richard Story

The Sac-Joaquin Section released its playoff brackets for high school football on Nov. 4.

Central Valley fell one victory shy of qualifying for the postseason for the third year in a row.

Ceres High will miss the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season.

"We had such great dreams and hopes," said Bret Durossette, head coach of the Bulldogs. "To not reach that pinnacle is disheartening. At some point of time, Ceres High will get over the hump."

"We didn't have the season we were expecting," Hawks' head coach Scott Edwards said. "We're going to continue to work hard and compete. That's a great base to have."

Central Valley compiled a 5-5 overall record and placed fourth in the Western Athletic Conference (2-3) this year.

Ceres High finished 3-7 and last in the WAC standings (0-5).

The Hawks collected victories against Ceres High (35-33), Livingston (28-19), West (31-14), Grace Davis (35-28) and Atwater (12-9).

Central Valley lost to Patterson (62-19), Pacheco (23-0), Los Banos (50-29), Enochs (14-6) and Sierra (20-14).

The Bulldogs beat Johansen (41-13), Hughson (34-33) and Weston Ranch (48-42).

Ceres High lost to Central Valley, Pacheco (46-15), Livingston (47-23), Patterson (56-12), Los Banos (48-20), Atwater (38-19) and East Union (47-14).

"We did some good things this season," Hawks' running back/safety Estevan Barragan said.

Central Valley managed to contend for a playoff berth despite competing with a revamped roster.

The Hawks had nine new starters on offense and eight on defense.

Central Valley needed to win its final two games to keep its postseason-appearance streak alive.

First-place Patterson eliminated Central Valley from playoff consideration on Oct. 27.

"The expectations were really high because we were so dominant last year," Barragan said. "It hurts not making playoffs. Football's a team sport. Everybody has to play together and be on the same page to win games."

The Bulldogs enjoyed one of their best starts to a season to date by winning three of their first four games.

Ceres High closed out the year with six straight losses.

The Bulldogs needed to win their final three games to end their playoff drought.

Ceres High was mathematically eliminated from the postseason race by Livingston on Oct. 20.

"I definitely thought we had the talent to go to playoffs," said Andrew Gibson, a dual-threat running back for the Bulldogs. "I still think we do. It just didn't happen. It's disappointing. I don't know what went wrong so I don't know what we could have done differently. We had some injuries. Maybe that impacted us."

Central Valley and Ceres High battled for the final time in conference play on Nov. 3.

The Hawks will be moving to the Central California Conference as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section's league realignment plan for 2018-19.

The Bulldogs will remain in the WAC.

Central Valley and Ceres High are scheduled to face off Week Zero during the 2018 campaign.

"It's tough having two schools in Ceres," Barragan said. "If we had one, we'd be a powerhouse. We have talent."

Added Gibson: "If there was one high school in Ceres, we'd have a really great team."