There was more up for grabs than just crosstown bragging rights when Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s football teams battled last week.
Unbeaten through their first two games, the Hawks and Bulldogs sought to boost their Western Athletic Conference title hopes.
Central Valley won the 15th installment of the Ceres Classic, 36-14, Friday night at CUSD Stadium.
“You don’t want to be that class that loses the trophy,” Hawks’ senior quarterback/linebacker Isaiah Hidalgo said. “We want to hold onto it for as long as we can.”
“I stayed and watched them celebrate,” Bulldogs’ sophomore quarterback Landyn Hudson said. “I took it all in. I don’t want to experience that feeling again.”
Central Valley moved to 3-0 in the WAC South Division standings.
Ceres High dropped to 2-1.
The Hawks improved their all-time record versus the Bulldogs to 13-2.
Central Valley has won the last six meetings.
The Hawks have the inside track on a WAC title with two games remaining.
“That’s a good, young varsity team right there,” Hidalgo said. “They were fighting until the end. I give them credit. We didn’t go into the game with big heads. We let the scoreboard do the talking.”
“We approached it like any other game,” Central Valley head coach Derrick Goblirsch said. “Now that it’s over, we have higher aspirations for the rest of the year.”
“We definitely could have played a lot better, offensively, defensively and on special teams,” Hudson stated. ”We knew what to expect. We had a game plan. We didn’t execute it. I wish we would have performed a lot better.”
The Hawks and Bulldogs are coached by the Goblirsch brothers.
Clinton (Ceres High) congratulated Derrick (Central Valley) after the game.
Family members watched from the stands.
“It’s definitely special,” Derrick stated. “Our parents, wives and kids were there. Our dad roots for both of us to do well. My mom said she hoped we end in a tie.”
Hidalgo carried the ball 28 times for a career-high 238 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs.
He completed 2 of 5 passes for 59 yards with one TD.
Amari Taylor ran for 62 yards and one score on 12 carries.
Elijah DeLeon totaled 21 yards and one TD on six attempts.
Tristan DeLeon hauled in two passes for 53 yards and one touchdown.
Adrian Perez set a program-record for sacks in a single game with five.
Roberto Tiscareno had one tackle, four pass deflections and one interception.
Angel Vega also picked off one pass.
“I knew if we executed, we would win the game,” Perez said.
Hudson completed 9 of 24 passes for 230 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions versus the Hawks.
He also had a 1-yard rushing TD.
Sophomore Tarrell Lee-Gill grabbed two passes for 99 yards and one touchdown.
Verlis Smith totaled 42 yards on four receptions.
Samar Singh (63 yards) and Amare Padilla (15 yards) both caught one pass.
The Bulldogs had minus-2 yards rushing.
“Our line is our strength and they showed that again,” Derrick Goblirsch said.
“Our team is stacked with people that want to hit,” Hidalgo added. “We’re fast and have size.”
The Hawks outscored the Bulldogs 16-6 in the opening half.
Hudson’s 85-yard TD strike to Lee-Gill cut the deficit to 30-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Ceres High had a chance to get within eight points late in the game but turned the ball over at Central Valley’s 10-yard line. Tiscareno intercepted Hudson’s pass with 3:15 to play.
Tiscareno shadowed Smith, Ceres High’s star receiver, for the majority of the contest.
“We knew it was going to be a tough task for him,” Derrick Goblirsch said. “He welcomed the challenge and stepped up. He played well all night.”
Elijah DeLeon’s 5-yard TD run gave the Hawks an insurmountable lead with 1:39 to play.
Hidalgo set up the score with a 75-yard scamper.
“Having him (Hidalgo) on the team gives us a huge confidence boost,” Perez said. “It takes a lot of pressure off our shoulders. Some players have good and bad days. He’s always solid.”
“They built that offense around him (Hidalgo),” Hudson said. “When he gets moving, it’s hard to stop him. He’s always been a phenomenal athlete.”
Central Valley earned bragging rights for another year.
The Ceres Classic perpetual trophy will be displayed in the school’s cafeteria.
“Bringing it back home is always fun,” Hidalgo said. “It’s a different joy winning it this year. It’s one of the highlights of my senior year.”
“Every game is important, especially this year,” Derrick Goblirsch said. “Our kids have high expectations for themselves.”
The high-school football season was moved from fall to spring and shortened to five games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Central Valley will face WAC North member Mountain House (1-1) on the road this Friday.
Ceres High will host Pacheco (2-1, 2-0).
“Each week, we keep getting better and better,” Hidalgo said.
“We’re going to fix things and get better,” Hudson said.