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CV, CHS players earn all-conference accolades
Verlis Smith first team
Verlis Smith earned first-team all-WAC South honors for his outstanding play at receiver. The Ceres High junior caught 16 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior Isaiah Hidalgo stood out above everyone else during the Western Athletic Conference South Division football campaign.

A three-year varsity player at Central Valley High School, Hidalgo contributed at quarterback this season.

He starred at running back as a junior and sophomore.

 “We didn’t move him to quarterback to throw the ball,” Hawks’ head coach Derrick Goblirsch said. “He provided misdirection. I think he over-performed. To rush for over 1,000 yards in five games is amazing. He was right at 200 yards every game.”

Hidalgo was recognized in a vote by the league’s head coaches this past month.

Central Valley teammates Favian Lopez, Alexis Becerra, Angel Vega and Roberto Tiscareno, and Ceres High’s Verlis Smith, Samar Singh and Ryan Beffa were also named to the WAC South First Team.

The Hawks won all five of their games and compiled a perfect 4-0 record en route to a first-place finish in the conference standings.

The Bulldogs finished 2-2 overall and 1-2 in league play.

“They based it off where you finished in league,” Goblirsch said while talking about the voting process. “For our guys to get honored, it’s a big deal. I’m excited they’re getting rewarded for their hard work.”

“I’m excited for all of them,” said Clinton Goblirsch, Ceres High’s head coach and Derrick’s older brother. “They’re very deserving and worked hard to get there.”

Hidalgo rushed for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns on 134 carries.

He passed for 189 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

He caught two passes for 52 yards. 

“Every team knew he was going to get the ball,” said Derrick Goblirsch . “He still found ways to get yards and score touchdowns. The consistency was outstanding on his part. He led by example. He had a great understanding of what we were trying to do. Isaiah has always been a smart player. He’s a student of the game.”

Central Valley’s defense allowed just 10.2 points per game this year thanks in large part to the play of Lopez, Becerra, Tiscareno and Vega.

“The one close game that we played, our defense was on the field at the end, and stepped up,” said Derrick Goblirsch, whose team earned a narrow 13-12 win over Los Banos after stuffing the Tiger’s 2-point conversion run attempt at the line of scrimmage.

Lopez, a senior defensive lineman, had 20 tackles, two sacks and a team-high four fumble recoveries on the season.

“He played his role perfectly,” said Derrick Goblirsch . “He was wreaking havoc in the backfield.”

Becerra, a junior linebacker, tallied a team-high 31 tackles.

“He was beating guys to the punch because his reads were great and his reaction to plays was faster,” Derrick Goblirsch said.

Vega, a senior safety, and Tiscareno, a junior cornerback, tied for first on the team with three interceptions apiece.

Vega had 20 tackles and one sack.

He also returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown.

“He was a pleasure to watch,” Derrick Goblirsch said. “He did everything we asked. He was flying up and making tackles. He was fearless.”

Tiscareno had 14 tackles and four pass deflections.

“He stepped up big time,” said Derrick Goblirsch. “He guarded everyone’s No. 1 receiver and shut them down. He was creating turnovers.”

Smith, a senior receiver, totaled 348 yards and three touchdowns on 16 receptions.

He ranked first on the team in all three offensive categories.

Smith rushed for 198 yards and two TD, both team highs, on 20 carries.

He also completed 10 of 17 passes for 160 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“Verlis did a lot of great things this year,” Clinton Goblirsch said. “He was our go-to guy on the outside. He made plays for us when we needed them.”

Singh, a senior tight end, ranked second on the team in receptions (13), receiving yards (259) and receiving touchdowns (2). He was a newcomer to football.

“You never know what you’re going to get from a first-year guy,” Clinton Goblirsch said. “He exceeded expectations. He caught on real quick because of his IQ, athleticism and ability to take coaching out on the field.”

Beffa, a senior linebacker, had a team-high 19 tackles, to go along with one fumble recovery and one pass deflection.

“He was the anchor of our defense,” said Clinton Goblirsch . “He was flying around and making tackles. That’s what we expected from him. He was consistent.”

Isaiah Hidalgo was selected
Central Valley senior quarterback Isaiah Hidalgo was selected to the WAC South First Team. He rushed for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns in fives games. - photo by Dale Butler