Central Valley High School’s football team made a triumphant return to the Western Athletic Conference this past week.
The Hawks opened the 2020-21 season with a 42-6 thumping of the visiting Johansen Vikings Friday evening at CUSD Stadium.
Central Valley moved from the ultra-competitive Central California Conference to the WAC for just this school year because of travel and COVID-safety reasons.
“It’s definitely exciting to get off to a good start,” Hawks’ first-year head coach Derrick Goblirsch said. “There were a ton of positives. Our effort was great from start to finish. We played hard. But we do have some things to clean up. We had three turnovers and nine penalties.”
“It’s not going to be easy in the WAC,” he added. “There are some good teams.”
“It’s a good welcome back. I have confidence in this team. I really feel confident we’ll be able to win the championship this year.”Central Valley senior defensive back Angel Vega
“It’s a good welcome back,” Central Valley senior defensive back Angel Vega said. “I have confidence in this team. I really feel confident we’ll be able to win the championship this year.”
“Most definitely, we made a statement,” Hawks’ senior quarterback Isaiah Hidalgo said. “We’re not here to play around. We’re here to dominate.”
Hidalgo had a spectacular debut at quarterback for the Hawks.
He ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries.
He completed 2 of 5 passes for 45 yards and one TD.
Hidalgo starred at running back the past two seasons at the varsity level.
“This is my fourth year coaching him,” Goblirsch said. “I’ve coached him in two sports (including baseball). I didn’t see anything different (tonight). He was him. He was calm, cool and collected. His performance speaks for itself. He’s a game-changer.”
“I don’t like talking about myself,” Hidalgo stated. “Everybody said I did well. Not too bad for a running back.”
Amari Taylor gained 36 yards and scored one touchdown on eight attempts.
Tristan DeLeon had a 15-yard TD catch.
Tyrell Williams (30 yards) and Edgar Garcia (21 yards) both had one reception.
Vega returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown.
“I didn’t realize I scored until after the play,” Vega said. “My adrenaline was so high it took me a while to process what I did.”
Vega, Joseph Alamo and Ruben Valenzuela all had five tackles.
Favian Lopez-Garcia collected four tackles, including three for a loss, and recovered three fumbles.
Jonathan Vierra had four tackles and one sack.
“Our strength on both sides of the ball was our line,” Goblirsch said.
Promoted to head coach following Scott Edwards’ resignation in October of 2019, Goblirsch had a successful debut last week while leading the Hawks.
Goblirsch guided Central Valley’s junior-varsity football team for five seasons (2012-15, 2019).
He worked with quarterbacks and running backs at the varsity level in 2019. Goblirsch was defensive coordinator from 2016-18.
“Getting the victory was nice,” Goblirsch said. “It was a lot of fun. My staff and players did a great job. It’s not about me.”
“I’ve also been blessed to have Goblirsch as my baseball coach,” Vega said. “It feels good making him happy. He really loves being out here.”
Johansen never posed a threat as Central Valley dominated from start to finish.
The Hawks allowed a meaningless touchdown late in the game. The Vikings capitalized on one of the Hawks’ three turnovers.
“We did our job,” Hidalgo said. “We kept our pace. We didn’t let them slow us down. I give our defense a solid A.”
“We expected this,” Vega said. “We played hard. We didn’t take a play off.”
Central Valley and Johansen played in front of a sparse crowd.
Attendance is being limited this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Each player, coach and cheerleader will be given just two tickets for each contest.
Fans can live stream games through NFHS Network (nfhsnetwork.com).
“The crowd was a little smaller,” Goblirsch said. “But it still felt like a good atmosphere. The kids had fun.”
“I missed the energy—playing the game I love, being with my (football) brothers and seeing these lights at night,” Vega said.
“It’s a blessing to be out here,” Hidalgo said. “It was a long wait.”
Central Valley will host Los Banos (0-1) at CUSD Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m. The Tigers dropped their season opener, 16-13, to the Pacheco Panthers.
“We’re going to have the same mindset for every game,” Goblirsch said. “If we stay healthy, be disciplined and do our job, we have a chance to be successful.”