On paper, the crosstown clash between Central Valley's and Ceres High's junior-varsity football teams was supposed to be a mismatch.
The Hawks and Bulldogs combined to score 10 touchdowns during last week's Western Athletic Conference season finale.
Central Valley prevailed in the end, winning by the score of 39-26 Friday night at Ceres High.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game," said Gabriel Quezada, the Hawks' 6-foot-1 230-pound bruising fullback. "Rivalry games are always competitive. They're a good squad. They have playmakers. We just brought our A-game tonight."
Central Valley posted a 5-4-1 overall record and finished 2-1-3 in the WAC standings.
Ceres High was 2-8 and 1-5.
"I give a lot of credit to Central Valley," Bulldogs quarterback Christopher Lubinsky said. "They're a very physical team. They grounded and pounded us down. We competed with them until the very end."
Quezada scored three touchdowns, including two rushing and one receiving.
Wilbert Soriano tossed one TD pass and returned an interception for a score.
Chase Winchester ran back a punt for a touchdown.
Christian Oliver had a rushing TD.
David Lezama, Erik Gomez, Erik Mejia, Raquesh Hernandez and Christopher Marchena provided the blocking.
"The offensive line played really well," Quezada said. "I have to thank them."
Lubinsky had three touchdown passes, including two to Gabriel Jimenez and one to Austin Crain.
Christian Vasquez scored once on the ground.
"He (Jimenez) has so much heart, energy and speed," Lubinsky said. "He put us in position to tie the game at the end."
Central Valley led 20-12 at halftime.
Quezada bowled his way into the end zone from the 1-yard line midway through the first quarter.
Ceres High evened the score at 6-6 three minutes later when Lubinsky tossed an 11-yard TD pass to Austin Crain.
Quezada caught a 34-yard TD pass from Soriano with 8:33 to play in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs responded as Vasquez scored on a 1-yard run to make it a 13-12 game.
Soriano's 65-yard interception return touchdown and Ryan Hendrix's point-after kick gave the Hawks a 20-12 lead going into the break.
Central Valley increased its lead to 26-12 on Winchester's 52-yard punt-return TD.
Lubinsky's 17-yard TD pass to Jimenez and Aiden Moore's 2-point conversion catch cut the deficit to 26-20 with 4:26 remaining in the third quarter.
The Hawks went ahead by two scores when Oliver raced 11 yards for a touchdown.
Jimenez hauled in Lubinsky's 55-yard fourth-down pass in the right corner of the end zone at the 1:44 mark of the third quarter. The desperation play brought the Bulldogs within seven points, 33-26.
Lubinsky just missed connecting with a wide-open Crain for a game-tying 63-yard TD early in the fourth quarter. The ball bounced off Austin's arms and fell to the ground.
"That could have changed the momentum," Lubinsky said.
Central Valley put the game out of reach with a 12-play, 63-yard scoring drive.
Quezada scored from 2 yards out with 1:26 to play.
"They had a good rushing attack," Lubinsky said. "We weren't able to stop them. It's so much fun to play in these types of games. You can't beat this environment."