Central Valley High School freshman head football coach Jesse Padilla addressed his team following the conclusion of last week's crosstown clash.
Ceres High leader Darrell Long and his players celebrated near midfield.
Neither squad prevailed as the Hawks and Bulldogs battled to a 14-14 tie Thursday evening at Ceres High.
"We're very excited about the outcome of the game," Long said. "The tie gives us a winning season. We exceeded our goal."
Central Valley finished 6-3-1 overall and second in the Western Athletic Conference (4-1-1).
Ceres High was 5-4-1 and 3-2-1.
"We had a great year," Padilla said.
The Hawks moved the ball to Ceres High's 30-yard line on their final possession. Time ran out before Central Valley could attempt a potential, game-winning desperation pass.
"I was nervous," Ceres High all-purpose player Andrew Gibson said. "I was at safety telling my team to keep the intensity up and stay focused. They thought they were going to destroy us. We ended the season in a good way."
Gibson's 64-yard touchdown scamper and David Nichols' 2-point conversion run gave the Bulldogs a 14-8 lead with 4:22 remaining in second quarter.
The Hawks evened the score at 14-all when backup quarterback Estevan Barragan scored on a 3-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Barragan replaced Carlos Rodriguez at the 7:57 mark of the third quarter. Rodriguez exited the contest with a lower-back injury.
Estevan contributed on offense, defense and special teams during the course of the game.
"Offensively, we did okay," Barragan said. "We lost a little confidence after our quarterback went down. I was a little nervous. I've never played quarterback in a game. I had to stay poised. I had to step up and carry my team. It was a good game. We knew they had talent. We could have done better. We'll come back stronger next year."
Ceres High and Central Valley traded scores in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs grabbed a 6-0 lead on Adam Castellanos' 49-yard TD jaunt 32 seconds into the game.
Rodriguez's 12-yard TD strike to James Murphy and subsequent 2-point conversion pass to Nasson Sanchez put Central Valley ahead by two points, 8-6, with 5:16 to play in the first quarter.
"We had to battle back," Barragan said.
"The only other time we met them was during the scrimmage," Long said. "They hammered us. We went into this game with a purpose of trying to make a statement. We could have done better."
"I have friends on that team," Gibson said. "It was a fun game. There was a lot of hard hitting out there. It was very physical. We would have enjoyed a win. But we're satisfied with a tie. We had a great season."