A few rain drops greeted Central Valley High School football players while they executed offensive plays in 90-degree weather just after 6 p.m. at the end of last Friday's practice.
"Honestly, we don't care if it's hot or raining," Hawks' third-year standout Estevan Barragan. "We love being out here."
Central Valley's starting lineup will look drastically different this fall as eight starters on both sides of the ball were lost to graduation.
Barragan refuses to lower expectations for the 2017 campaign.
"A lot of people are going to doubt our team because we lost a lot of talent to graduation," Estevan said. "That's going to make us work harder. We still have talent. As long as we have coach (Scott Edwards), we'll keep winning. He's the best head coach the school has ever had."
A standout on defense the past two seasons, Barragan will be a two-way contributor during his final year with the Hawks.
He shared carries with running backs Gabriel Campos, Carlos Rodriguez and Nasson Sanchez at practice last week.
"Wherever coach puts me, I'll play," said Barragan, who earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors for the second year in a row this past fall after filling the stat sheet at safety.
Barragan and his Hawk teammates practiced, from 4-6:30 p.m., July 31 to Aug. 4.
"Everything went smooth," he said. "Nobody was messing around. Everybody was focused."
Hawk coaches offered much-needed water breaks as temperatures soared into the 100s four days last week.
"It's also important to stay hydrated when you're not at practice," Estevan said. "If you're not drinking water, you're not being responsible."
Central Valley reached new heights in 2016.
The Hawks posted a program-best 9-2 overall record and claimed their first-ever conference title (5-0).
Central Valley returned to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The Hawks also set a team record for victories in a single season and consecutive wins (eight).
Central Valley will be vying for its third consecutive playoff berth and second straight conference title this season.
"We can't worry about what we did last year," Edwards said. "We're going to put the best product we can out there. It's a completely different team from last year. It's going to be interesting piecing everything together. It will be a fun challenge."