Central Valley’s upset-minded varsity football team showed some serious grit in the early going of last week’s Central California Conference opener versus Merced.
The Hawks’ defense forced the heavily-favored Bears to attempt a 37-yard field goal with 8:04 to play in the first quarter. Merced converted the kick for a 3-0 lead.
Central Valley struggled the rest of the half thanks to four turnovers and a host of blown defensive assignments.
The Bears scored 45 points in opening 24 minutes on their way to cruising to a 52-6 victory over the Hawks Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
“Everybody was hyped. We knew we had a big challenge and didn’t perform the way we wanted to.”Isaiah Hidalgo
“Going into the game, there was no fear,” Central Valley sophomore running back Isaiah Hidalgo said. “Everybody was hyped. We knew we had a big challenge and didn’t perform the way we wanted to.”
The Hawks dropped to 1-4 on the year and 0-1 in the CCC standings.
The Bears improved to 5-0 and 1-0.
“We’ve had a tough schedule,” Hidalgo said.
Central Valley suffered its fourth consecutive loss.
“That’s by far the best team we’ve played this season,” Hidalgo said. “They had so much talent. I truly believe they could win sections.”
The Hawks totaled just six first downs and 117 yards on offense in losing to Merced.
Hidalgo accounted for 47 of Central Valley’s 79 rushing yards.
He also scored the Hawks’ lone touchdown.
Hidalgo totaled 80 yards on four kickoff returns.
Ryan Palecek and Mark Ramirez each carried the ball once for 8 yards.
Junior quarterback Andrew Hernandez completed 3 of 10 passes for 38 yards with two interceptions. He rushed for 16 yards on four carries.
Erick Martinez (19 yards), Raymond Lopez (13 yards) and Dylan Kong (6 yards) all caught one pass.
Chris Simental led the way on defense with one interception.
“There was a lot of miscommunication on offense and it caused bad things to happen,” Hidalgo said. “That played a role in how the game played out.”
Central Valley committed four turnovers—three of which led to 20 points—on its way to falling behind 45-0 in the opening half.
The Bears intercepted two passes and recovered two bad snaps. “We knew it was going to be a hard game,” Hidalgo said. “Our defense did really good in the beginning. To force them to a field goal gave us momentum. Once bad things started to happen, everybody started dropping their heads.”
Hidalgo scored on a 1-yard run with 3:30 to play in the third quarter.
“It’s a positive,” he said. “We didn’t want to get shut out.”
Central Valley will face host Atwater (4-1, 1-0) this Friday at 7 p.m.
The Falcons erased a 20-point deficit in beating El Capitan 38-34 last week.
“It’s a bigger challenge competing in the CCC,” Hidalgo said. “Atwater has a good team. If we stop their main player (junior running back Charles Jackson), we’ll be okay. We’ll see what happens.”