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CV leader Edwards earns the respect of his peers, players
The Hawks posted a program-best 7-4 overall record under second-year head coach Scott Edwards guidance this past fall. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's Scott Edwards was narrowly edged out in a 3-2 vote by Patterson's Rob Cozart for Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

"I think he (coach Edwards) should have won it," Hawks senior standout/2015 WAC Outstanding Offensive Player Moses Ghiorso said.

"I'm not disappointed," Edwards said. "It should go to the league champ. It's just nice that other coaches thought I should get nominated."

Edwards guided Central Valley to a program best 7-4 overall record and second-place finish in the WAC (5-1).

Patterson finished 11-1 and first in the conference standings (6-0).

"There are a lot of good coaches in the WAC," Central Valley athletic director Greg Magni said. "Patterson's Rob Cozart did a great job. Scott did a great job, too."

The Hawks amassed a 12-9 record and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs once under Edwards' leadership from 2014-15.

Jason McCloskey coached at Central Valley for two seasons (2012, 2013).

The Hawks won 11 of 21 games.

Central Valley accomplished several firsts during McCloskey's final year at the helm.

The Hawks advanced to the postseason and compiled a winning record (6-5) for the first time in program history.

Central Valley had a combined record of 19-41, and no winning seasons or playoffs appearances under founding head coach Tim Garcia's direction from 2006-11.

"We've been fortunate at Central Valley to have great coaching," Magni said. "I think very highly of Scott. He's one of the greatest guys I've met. He's down to earth. He's an old soul. He's fun to be around. He does a great job of motivating our kids. He demands a lot out of them. He's also devoted to what he does. He's a true professional."

"I can be a whole lot of fun," Edwards said. "I can be a bear. I'm pretty consistent. I'm demanding. I don't give them a whole lot of slack. I'm also a players' coach. I love my guys if they put forth the effort. I'm going to cry and celebrate with them."

Central Valley opened the 2015 season with back-to-back losses.

"I'm not surprised we were a playoff team this year," Edwards said. "We had some good players. A large part of our success is we went to a platoon system. That helped us stay fresh. It was the right mix of talent and depth."

Central Valley accomplished several objectives on its to-do list.

The Hawks won their homecoming game against El Capitan (29-23), beat crosstown-rival Ceres High (48-14) and participated in the playoffs.

"It was a lot different this year," Edwards said. "We knew we had talent coming back. We matured. The kids met my expectations."

Central Valley won seven of eight games over an eight-week span thanks in large part to its offensive line, two-headed rushing attack of Ghiorso and Jamarea Lumpkin, and swarming defense.

Central Valley posted a surprisingly-easy 42-21 victory over 2014 WAC-champion Los Banos.

"Every week, we got better," Magni said. "That's the sign of a great coach."

"We didn't lose a single varsity player to grades," said Edwards, who took more pride in how his team performed in the classroom. "We started with 49 and finished with 49."

Ghiorso, Central Valley's most versatile player, was suspended for one game for mouthing off at practice.

"I'm going to miss playing for him," Moses said. "He's a really good coach. He's a motivator. He kept us focused and on the right track. He brought everyone together. He made us believe we could do something special."

Edwards was head coach of Bret Harte High School's football team for seven years (2006-12) prior to being hired to fill the same positon at Central Valley.

The Hawks were competitive during Edwards' first season. He inherited a program moving forward without three-year star Ja'Quan Gardner, who earned a full-ride scholarship to Humboldt State.

The Hawks went 5-5 and tied for fourth place in the WAC (2-4) with the crosstown Bulldogs in 2014.

Central Valley lost by upset, 24-7, to Ceres High on the final day of the regular season. The setback eliminated the Hawks from playoff consideration.

"As a coach all you can do is prepare them the best you can and hope they develop as a team over the course of the season," Edwards said. "You continue to strive for certain goals."

Central Valley will compete with a revamped roster in 2016.

"He's going to take what he has and make them better football players," Magni said.

"We played as a team this year," Edwards said. "All three facets pitched in to results. The same thing will be required next year. It will be a fun challenge."

Central Valley will lose nine of its 11 offensive starters to graduation. The Hawks will return eight starters on defense.

"The real reason I coach is to provide a perfect team experience," Edwards said. "It's not based on wins and losses. You try to get the most out of each team. You got to keep the game fun."

"All of the coaches in the area respect him," Magni said. "He's not just trying to win football games. He's trying to teach the kids how to be better men. His expectations are not hard to figure out. He doesn't just talk it. He does it. If we lose, it's not because he didn't prepare us."

Added Edwards: "I enjoy my job. I got a great administration. Everybody has been extremely supportive."