Ceres High School's freshman football earned a hard-fought 22-14 victory over Central Valley on Nov. 6 at Bulldog Stadium.
"It's such a sense of accomplishment," Bulldogs head coach Darrell Long said. "I'm overjoyed. It's always a little more special when you beat a crosstown rival."
Ceres High compiled a 5-5 overall record and finished in second place in the Western Athletic Conference standings (4-2).
Central Valley finished 2-8 and 1-5.
"Central Valley played better than what its record was," Long said. "Maybe, it's because we're crosstown rivals. These guys see each other all the time."
Ceres High receiver/defensive back Dale Sizemore had two touchdown receptions and a pair of interceptions.
Ahead by eight points, Sizemore secured the victory when he picked off Central Valley's final pass attempt at the Bulldogs' 1-yard line as time expired.
Dale outjumped four other players, including two Bulldog teammates.
"He didn't leave the field," Long said. "He stepped up. He played just about every snap."
Ceres High led 8-6 at halftime.
Sizemore hauled in a 16-yard TD pass from Elliott Lewis in the first quarter.
Joshua Gonzales accounted for the 2-point conversion run.
The Hawks cut the deficit to 8-6 with 4:55 to play in the second quarter as Martin Orozco recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a TD.
Bulldog Mateo Scalise had a 7-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.
Anthony Ocanas' 80-yard kickoff return TD and Central Valley teammate Darin Andrews' 2-point conversion run evened the score at 14-all.
Clayton Taylor, Ceres High's backup quarterback, and Sizemore combined for a 25-yard scoring play with 58 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.
Lewis, who exited the game after getting hit hard by a Central Valley defensive player, successfully converted the 2-point conversion run.
Central Valley had a drive end with a turnover in the first quarter when Sizemore intercepted a pass at the Ceres High 2-yard line.
Gonzales recovered a Hawk fumble in the final period.
"It was a tight game," Long said. "Our defense stood up and did their job. Everyone stepped up."
Ceres High amassed a respectable .500 overall record this season.
The Bulldogs also earned bragging rights against the Hawks.
"I'm not surprised," Long said while talking about his team's success. "They developed a unity over the weeks. We prepared the guys for the next level."
Ceres High's and Central Valley's frosh football squads battled to a 14-14 tie last fall.
The Bulldogs have posted a 1-0-1 record versus the Hawks under Long's guidance.
"I like coaching in this town," said Long, second-year leader of the Bulldogs. "It's a lot of fun."