Central Valley’s varsity football team has shown flashes of competitiveness during its first season in the Central California Conference.
The Hawks cut an 18-point halftime deficit to eight in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s 42-27 loss at Golden Valley.
“The last three weeks, we’ve shown improvement,” coach Scott Edwards said. “That’s all you can ask for. Hopefully, some wins come.”
Last-place Central Valley dropped to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the CCC standings.
The third-place Cougars improved to 4-2 and 1-1.
“The last three weeks, we’ve shown improvement. That’s all you can ask for. Hopefully, some wins come.”Coach Scott Edwards
“We’ve lost some close games we should have won,” Edwards said.
Said Hawks’ junior quarterback Andrew Hernandez: “It’s been a rough season. We know we’re better than 1-6. We have to stick with it and keep playing to win.”
Central Valley had 291 yards of total offense versus Golden Valley.
Hernandez completed 18 of 27 for 218 yards with a career-high four touchdowns and two interceptions.
“He did a better job this week of trusting himself,” Edwards said.
Hernandez completed passes to seven different players.
Junior Erick Martinez caught four passes for 51 yards and one touchdown.
Junior Eindeveer Hothi grabbed three passes for 36 yards and one TD.
Junior Dylan Kong hauled in two passes for 29 yards and one score.
Ryan Palecek finished with 25 yards and one touchdown on three catches.
Junior Xavier Alvarez totaled 48 yards on three receptions.
Central Valley sophomore Isaiah Hidalgo rushed for a team-high 50 yards on 14 carries.
Palecek gained 15 yards on five carries.
“We’re trying to develop this offense around the young guys we have,” Edwards said.
Added Hernandez: “We just got to execute better and not freeze up.”
Golden Valley’s offense racked up 309 yards on the ground.
Jaren Phillips did the majority of the damage, carrying the ball 34 times for 284 yards and two touchdowns.
“Our defense got better in the second half,” Edwards said.
The Hawks limited the Cougars to just 10 points after intermission.
Central Valley tallied two touchdowns.
Hernandez connected with Kong on a 14-yard scoring play to cut the deficit to 35-27 with six minutes to play.
Golden Valley dashed Central Valley’s comeback bid with a 4-yard TD run at the 1:26 mark of the fourth quarter.
“We performed well at the end,” Hernandez said. “We kept fighting back.”
The Cougars scored 22 points off three Hawk turnovers during the game.
“It seems like we’ve discovered every way to lose this season,” Edwards said.
Central Valley fell behind 16-0 in the first quarter and trailed 32-14 at intermission.
The Cougars returned a fumble and an interception for touchdowns in the opening period.
“We tried to remain positive and keep the energy up,” Edwards said. “There was a lot of time left. The kids fought hard until the end.”
Central Valley fell short of its goal of trying to spoil Golden Valley’s Homecoming.
“They were a big, physical team,” Edwards said. “They were able to control the line of scrimmage and clock.”
The Cougars dealt the Hawks their sixth straight loss.
Central Valley will host second-place Patterson (4-3, 2-1) this Friday at Bulldog Stadium.
The Homecoming contest will get underway at 7 p.m.
“Both teams are younger and in a rebuilding season,” Edwards said. “We need to step up in a lot of facets. The more things you do the right way, the more success you’ll have.”
Added Hernandez: “Offensively, we need to execute the whole game, not just one quarter.”
The Hawks will try to secure their first CCC victory.
Central Valley amassed a 14-8 record and claimed one title in Western Athletic Conference play under Edwards’ guidance from 2014-17.
“The CCC is on an upswing this year,” Edwards said. “It’s more physical than what we’ve seen in the WAC. It’s been a step up in intensity. It’s definitely been an awakening. We’ve played some good teams.”