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Frosh Hawks near perfect
CV compiles 4-0-1 record during preseason
Central Valley's freshman football team has enjoyed a 4-0-1 start to the 2016 season thanks to a host of players, including quarterback Elias Jimenez (pictured right) and running back Josiah Ramos. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School’s freshman football team closed out the preseason with a commanding 34-6 win over visiting West on Sept. 22 at Bulldog Stadium.

“The kids are motivated,” Hawks head coach Abraham Navarro said. “They want to succeed.”

Central Valley improved to 4-0-1 on the year.

“I’m not surprised,” Navarro said. “The kids have put in a lot of work and effort since the summertime. It’s paid off. You can see the dividends.”

Hawk signal caller Elias Jimenez completed 8 of 12 passes for 72 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

“I expect a lot from my quarterback because I played the position,” Navarro said. “I want him to be better and smarter than me.”

Andrew Hernandez totaled 95 yards and one TD while completing both of his pass attempts.

He also carried the ball six times for 34 yards.

Raymond Lopez caught two passes for 60 yards and one touchdown.

Juan Ayon hauled in two passes for 14 yards and one TD.

Leo Balderas finished with 12 yards and one score on two receptions.

Xavier Alvarez had a 5-yard TD catch.

Josiah Ramos ran for 103 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.

Chris Simental gained 54 yards on eight carries.

Carlos Barajas chipped in with 13 yards on four attempts.

Central Valley tallied four of its five touchdowns in the opening 16 minutes.

Jimenez tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Alvarez in the first quarter.

Jimenez connected with Balderas on a 6-yard scoring play, Ramos rushed for a 6-yard TD, and Hernandez delivered a 37-yard strike to Lopez in the second quarter.

Ayon accounted for Central Valley’s final touchdown when he snagged a 10-yard pass from Jimenez in the fourth quarter.

“We dominated the first half,” Navarro said. “The second half, we didn’t do much.”

The Hawks continue to rely heavily on their talent and depth.

“It helps that we have just two kids playing both offense and defense,” Navarro said. “It keeps them fresh. They’re not mentally and physically spent.”

Led by Simental, Lopez, Hernandez, Thomas Carrillo and Kyle Hendrix, the Hawks have allowed just a total of 33 points and notched two shutouts on defense this year.

“We’re weak in some areas but they don’t get exposed at the freshman level,” Navarro said.

Central Valley racked up 140 points against its non-conference opponents.

Jimenez and Ramos both filled key roles, along with Hernandez (running back), Simental (fullback) and Carrillo (lineman).

“Obviously, our offense is pretty good,” Navarro said. “If we learn how to run our plays correctly and execute, we’ll be scary.”

The Hawks have been on a roll since battling to a 14-14 tie with Sierra during Week 2.

“The kids were disgusted, crying and pissed off after that game,” Navarro said. “Ever since then, it made them want to work harder. The level of intensity went up.”

Central Valley’s five remaining league games are against Livingston, Los Banos, Pacheco, Patterson and Ceres High.

“The competition will be tougher,” Navarro said. “I don’t know how they’ll handle adversity. We haven’t seen it as a team yet. I feel confident my team will be able to win every game. They’re a very, close-knit group. They don’t allow each other to slack off. We got some very smart kids on our team. We have good leaders.”