The 2014 fall sports season is fast approaching.
Central Valley and Ceres High teams are moving forward with revamped rosters.
Official practices for football, boys soccer, girls tennis, girls golf, water polo and cross country were staged last week.
"It's a new routine for me," said Scott Edwards, new head coach of the Hawks' varsity football squad. "The days are more active. You get to meet a lot of kids. The program is going through a lot of changes. I'm learning. They're learning. I'm the one that sets the direction and tone. The transition has been smooth."
Central Valley's football roster will feature more than 50 players, excluding the dynamic running back/quarterback duo of Ja'Quan Gardner and Kendel Johnson.
Gardner and Johnson, 2014 CV grads, racked up up 4,469 all-purpose yards and 51 touchdowns as the Hawks accomplished two firsts last year by qualifying for the playoffs and posting a winning record (6-5).
"We lost talent," Edwards said. "I hope teams underestimate us."
Danny Alvarado (OL/DL), Jayden Garcia (FB/LB), Moses Ghiorso (RB/DB) and Gerardo Solorzano (QB) will lead the way this year.
"Our numbers are good," Edwards said. "We're building a roster. We slowed down the installation of our offense. We focused on quality instead of quantity of plays. We saw better execution. We want to play at a high level. We want to avoid peaks and valleys."
Ceres High, 2-8 the past two seasons, lost its top two pass catchers to graduation in Dylan Canatsy and Harman Chung.
A WAC First-Team receiver, Canatsy posted career-highs in receptions (80), yardage (1,185) and touchdowns (12). He had at least one TD in nine of the Bulldogs' 10 games.
Chung, a 6-foot-4 tight end, earned second-team all-league honors. He caught 50 passes for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.
Ceres High's roster features 47 players, including more than 20 newcomers.
Veterans Brad Bussard (QB), Brent Bussard (RB/LB), Ramon Coral (OL/DL) and Caleb McDade (OL/DL) will be counted upon heavily this year.
Varsity newcomer Johnni Smith-Willis will also contribute.
"There's an excitement level we haven't seen before," Bulldogs head coach Bret Durossette said. "We're tired of losing. The kids are committed more this year. We have one of the best coaching staffs around."
Ceres High's varsity water polo program lost two key players to graduation: Terry Brogdon (boys) and Emily Chapman (girls).
Brogdon and Chapman both earned first-team all-conference honors.
Terry tallied 38 goals, 37 steals and 34 assists during his final season with Ceres High, which finished second in the WAC standings (6-2).
Emily scored 32 goals for the third-place Bulldogs (4-4).
Zachary Jones, one of five returners on Ceres High's boys squad, collected 54 goals, 37 assists and 31 steals last year. A first-team WAC honoree, Jones was voted league MVP as a sophomore.
Julia Pata, a team captain for Ceres High's girls squad, led the Bulldogs in assists and steals in 2013. She also had 11 goals. Pata was selected to the WAC First Team as a freshman.
"We want to be the dominant sport in the fall," Ceres High boys head coach Tracy Bull said.
Central Valley's varsity boys soccer team will look to continue its winning tradition without three of the top players in the state as Ozzie Ramos, Omar Orozco and Anthony Calvo were lost to graduation.
Ramos tied for first in California in assists (29) with Calvo and ranked fifth in goals (31). He also claimed the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award for the second consecutive season.
Orozco had a record-breaking final campaign with the Hawks. He set a program record for goals in a single season (47) and also dished out 11 assists. Orozco was selected to the WAC First Team.
Calvo also tallied six goals.
The Hawks qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section finals for the fourth time in five years, totaled a program-best 26 wins with just two losses, won their sixth straight league title and participated in the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year in 2013.
Marifer Ochoa's leadership and dominant play will be missed.
Ochoa starred at No. 1 singles on Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team for four seasons.
Marifer ranks No. 2 on Ceres High's all-time greatest girls tennis player list behind McKenzy Harden (class of 2010).
She had a .906 winning percentage (58-6) in league.
Ochoa was a four-time Sac-Joaquin Section tournament and WAC finals participant.
Senior Angelica Slater will start at No. 1 singles for the Bulldogs this season.
Slater was Ceres High's second-best player in 2013.
The Bulldogs had their streak of six consecutive playoff appearances snapped last year.