Angel Vega was at work but his mind was elsewhere.
Central Valley’s Vega and Ceres High’s Verlis Smith both yearned to play football last Friday night.
The 2020 season was supposed to kick off on Aug. 21 but was postponed until the first week of January because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was different,” said Vega, a senior safety/receiver. “I was looking at my Snapchat memories throughout the day for last year’s Central Valley-Ceres High game. “I went home (after work) and played Call of Duty on PS4 with a couple of teammates.”
“When seven o’clock hit, I was imagining I was on the field,” said Smith, a junior receiver/cornerback. “It just didn’t feel right. It’s upsetting we can’t play right now. I go to school to play sports. After a while, I let it (feeling disappointed) go. I was chilling with my family watching movies and doing homework.”
Central Valley and Ceres High were scheduled to play Pitman and West, respectively, this past week.
Both games were rescheduled for Jan. 8.
“I miss everything about it (football),” Vega said. “I miss the anxious feeling you get at school on Fridays waiting for classes to end. The thing I miss most right now is the bus rides, especially after you win.”
“I miss being able to wear my football jersey to school,” Smith said. “The feeling you get when you put it on is great. I wear it with pride. I miss the warmups. It’s a big adrenaline rush. I miss playing under the lights.”
Smith and Vega both earned all-league honors last fall.
Vega was selected to the Central California Conference Second Team.
Smith was an honorable-mention, Western Athletic Conference selection.
He caught 31 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns.
“I hate that we can’t play right now, but that break helps me rest up my body,” Smith said. “I’m a three-sport athlete.”
Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s football programs will hold team meetings on Zoom, beginning this week.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Smith said. “Our coaches are getting us ready for the season. If the season started tomorrow, I’d be ready to pad up.”
“We’re hoping and praying we can start (practicing) in December,” Vega said.
“It’s definitely going to be different playing in the winter,” said Derrick Goblirsch, first-year leader of the Hawks.
Clinton Goblirsch, Derrick’s older brother, was promoted to head coach of the Bulldogs.