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Hawk duo teaming up for final time
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Ja'Quan Gardner and Kendel Johnson will wrap up their prep football careers this week in Merced.

The 2014 Central Valley High School graduates will compete in the 29th Annual North/South Rotary All-Star Game on Friday at Golden Valley High School.

Gardner and Johnson will suit up for the North team, which will be coached by Merced's Rob Scheidt. Kickoff slated for 7:45 p.m.

Kendel and Ja'Quan helped lead the South to a 21-21 tie versus the North in the 41st Annual Lions Club All-Star Football Game on June 14 at Tracy High School.

Johnson, the game's Most Valuable Player, passed for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He led all rushers with 80 yards.

Gardner gained 65 yards on 14 carries.

"It's an honor representing Central Valley again," Johnson said. "With this being our last game, we want to contribute as much as possible. We want to do our best. We already know the plays. We have the same coach."

Gardner, a three-year starter at the varsity level, broke the Stanislaus District's career and single-season rushing yard records.

He rushed for 2,467 yards and 27 touchdowns his senior year. Ja'Quan totaled 6,014 yards and 67 TDs in 31 career games.

Kendel, a dual-threat QB, rushed for 1,091 yards and 11 touchdowns this past year. He passed for 783 yards with 10 TDs and eight interceptions. Johnson also had a 23-yard TD catch.

Gardner piled up 378 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries during 15th-seeded Central Valley's 69-55 loss to No. 2 Manteca in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs. He also tossed a 4-yard TD pass.

Johnson totaled 221 yards and three scores on the ground.

The Buffaloes (13-2) captured section and Valley Oak League titles.

Gardner and Johnson racked up 4,469 all-purpose yards and 51 touchdowns while leading Central Valley to its first-ever postseason appearance and winning record (6-5) during the 2013-14 school year.

"It sucks this going to be our last time playing together," Johnson said. "It was fun while it lasted. I wish we had one more year."