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Hawks show grit in losing 28-13 to Titans in D-II playoffs
CV football compiles program-best 9-2 record
Jonathan Barragan (21) and Central Valleys varsity football team enjoyed a success-filled 2016 campaign. - photo by Courier file photo

Central Valley's varsity football team felt slighted when the Sac-Joaquin Section released its Division-II playoff pairings on Nov. 5.

Winners of nine of 10 games and all five of their Western Athletic Conference contests, the Hawks drew undefeated Antelope.

Fourteenth-seeded Central Valley showed tremendous heart in rallying from a 14-0 deficit before losing 28-13 to the No. 3 Titans on the road Thursday night.

"We weren't focused on what seed they were and what their record was," Central Valley senior tight end/defensive end Gabriel Quezada said. "We were focused on executing our game plan. We gave them a real fight. We could have done better. It's disappointing. It's not the result we wanted."

Antelope improved to 11-0 overall.

The Titans (7-0) placed first in the Capital Valley Conference.

The Hawks compiled a program-best 9-2 record this year.

Central Valley won the Western Athletic Conference with a perfect 5-0 mark.

The Hawks also beat Patterson for the first time.

"Our goal this year was to do what Central Valley has never done before," Hawks senior quarterback Willie Soriano said. "We've wanted to win the WAC championship since freshman year. We stayed hungry and we got it. We're proud of what we accomplished."

"We did a lot of great things this year," Quezada said. "The only thing we didn't check off our list was getting our first playoff win."

The Titans limited the Hawks to 256 yards of total offense, including 180 on the ground.

Central Valley averaged 266.3 rushing yards per game during the regular season.

"That's the best team we've faced all year," Soriano said. "They just executed a little better than us."

Soriano completed 5 of 12 passes for 76 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Willie gained 36 yards and scored one TD on 11 attempts.

Jonathan Barragan totaled 87 yards on 16 carries.

Estevan Barragan ran for 43 yards on seven carries.

Quezada caught two passes for 17 yards and one touchdown.

Nasson Sanchez collected a team-high 14 tackles.

Oso Fregoso and Julian Gutierrez registered nine and seven tackles, respectively.

Antelope racked up 462 yards of offense, including 317 rushing on 42 carries.

Elijah Dotson accounted for all four of the Titans' touchdowns.

Dotson gained 104 yards and scored three TDs on 19 carries.

He also tossed a 14-yard TD pass to Brandon Sanders.

"He's the best player we've seen all year as far as a running back," Quezada said. "He gave us a hard time. He had speed and was shifty."

Antelope's Garrett Chapman carried the ball 10 times for 131 yards.

Nick Spagnola completed 10 of 19 passes for 145 yards.

Dotson had touchdowns runs of 10 and 8 yards as Antelope grabbed a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Soriano's 1-yard keeper and Angel Lopez's point-after kick cut the deficit to seven points with 1:22 remaining in the second quarter.

Soriano delivered an 8-yard TD strike to Quezada to make the score 14-13 at the 6:17 mark of the third quarter.

"There wasn't any panic," Soriano said. "We just had to get rolling on offense. And we did."

Down 21-13, Central Valley appeared to pull within two points when Soriano connected with Quezada on an 80-yard scoring play with six minutes left in regulation. A holding penalty negated the play.

Antelope proceeded to put the game out of reach by scoring its fourth TD.

"It was a difficult scenario for us to overcome against the best team we've seen all season," Hawks head coach Scott Edwards said.

The Titans snapped the Hawks' school-record eight-game winning streak.

"I'm extremely proud of our guys and the effort they gave," Edwards said. "We were in it until the end."
"We were confident going into the game," Soriano added. "We wish the journey could continue."