Central Valley High School’s football team came agonizingly close to earning its first league win this past week.
The Hawks suffered their sixth straight defeat, falling 23-20 to visiting Atwater on Senior Night at CUSD Stadium.
Central Valley’s potential, game-winning drive ended with a turnover in Atwater territory. The Falcons intercepted Hawk junior quarterback Darrius Jackson’s pass attempt to receiver Anthony Ramirez with less than one minute to play.
“There’s definitely some sadness there,” Central Valley receiver Jayson Casias said. “Obviously, no one wants to lose their last game at home. But it happened. We were driving down the field. They made a good play.”
The Hawks dropped to 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the Central California Conference standings.
The Falcons improved to 3-6 and 2-3.
“We definitely expected to do better,” Casias said. “This is not what we wanted. Everyone wants to win. Obviously, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Injuries have plagued us all year. But that’s part of the sport.”
Central Valley generated a season-high 401 yards of total offense in defeat.
Jackson, a dual-threat QB, led the way as he set career-high marks in passing yards (241), touchdowns (3), attempts (29) and completions (18).
He also enjoyed a career-day rushing the ball with 140 yards on 22 carries.
Jackson had four turnovers, including three interceptions and one fumble.
Casias caught three passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Ramirez totaled 64 yards and one TD on five receptions.
Amari O’Bryant had 29 yards on three catches.
Ricardo Perez and David Lewis both recovered one fumble on defense.
Central Valley trailed 23-14 at intermission.
Casias and Ramirez had receiving touchdowns of 77 and 29 yards, respectively, in the opening half.
Jackson’s 30-yard TD pass to Casias cut the deficit to three points with 8:22 to play in the third quarter.
“We had great effort all game,” Casias said. “I definitely think we could have won. Our defense kept us in the game for as long as they could. We were moving the ball almost every drive on offense. We just had a lot of missed opportunities.”
Central Valley’s final two games will be played on the road.
The Hawks will face Merced this Friday and El Capitan on Oct. 27.
Central Valley’s losing streak has spanned 42 days.
“It’s a very difficult conference,” Casias said. “Nobody is giving up. Everyone is here to play football because they love the sport. Our goal is to win our next two games.”