Ben Anitelea's halftime speech was passionate and filled with expletives.
Jesus Medina challenged his teammates to elevate their level of play.
Facing a must-win scenario to keep its playoff hopes alive, Central Valley High School's varsity football team scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second half and upset visiting Los Banos 35-7 Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
"This is the biggest win in our program's history," Hawks second-year head coach Jason McCloskey said. "We still have to beat Ceres High to be eligible for playoffs."
Central Valley improved to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
The Tigers dropped to 5-4 and 2-3.
Ja'Quan broke the Stanislaus District's career rushing record last week.
Gardner (5,315 yards in 29 games) totaled 205 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries last week.
Ja'Quan surpassed former Central Catholic star Louis Bland's all-time mark. Bland (2004-07) racked up 5,140 yards in 47 games.
Central Valley Athletic Director Greg Magni presented Gardner a personalized street sign celebrating his accomplishment following the game. Ja'Quan posed for pictures with teammates, coaches, family members and fans.
"I wasn't really thinking about the record," he said. "We just needed this win real bad."
"He's a special kid," McCloskey said. "I gave him a game ball and he tossed it to his linemen. We'll put it in the trophy case at school. We're very proud of him. He comes from a great family. They're humble."
Hawk quarterback Kendel Johnson ran for 103 yards and one touchdown on eight attempts.
Central Valley all-purpose player Angelo Bermudez rushed for 57 yards and one score on three carries.
Anitelea collected a team-high 14 tackles.
Hawk sophomore Moses Ghiorso, promoted to varsity three weeks earlier, had three pass deflections and one interception.
The two teams battled to a 7-7 tie in the opening half.
Central Valley dominated in the second half as it reeled off 28-unanswered points.
The Hawks will close out the WAC regular season against Ceres High (2-7, 1-4) Friday at Bulldog Stadium.
The contest will get underway at 7 p.m.