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Hawks to face Buffs
The Hawks posted a 7-3 overall record and qualified for the playoffs under second-year head coach Scott Edwards guidance this year. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

The members of Central Valley High School's varsity football team feasted on pizza while watching the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoff Selection Show inside a history classroom on campus this past Saturday.

"We want to make this a tradition," Hawks second-year head coach Scott Edwards said.

Eleventh-seeded Central Valley will face sixth-seeded Manteca in the opening-round of the Division-III playoffs on the road this Friday at 7 p.m.

"Once we saw the seeding, the whole team was excited," Hawks senior all-purpose standout Moses Ghiorso said. "There were a lot of smiles. We saw them in a scrimmage at the beginning of the year. We were keeping up with them. Honestly, I like the matchup. We'll have a chance against them. We just have to stay focused."

Central Valley compiled a program-best 7-3 overall record and finished in second place in the Western Athletic Conference (5-1) this fall.

The tradition-rich Buffaloes posted an 8-2 record and placed third in the Valley Oak League (5-2).

Manteca's two losses were to top-seeded Central Catholic (10-0, 7-0) and second-seeded Oakdale (9-1, 6-1).

"They're one of the programs you aspire to make yours like," Edwards said. "It's an honor to go against a quality opponent like that. They do things the right way. It should be a good game. We're going to have to earn it."

Ghiorso and fullback Jamarea Lumpkin will be counted upon heavily during Friday's playoff game.

Moses has rushed for 1,419 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

Lumpkin's totals are 952 yards and 13 TDs.

"Our run offense is our strength," Edwards said. "There's no hiding that."

"With that rushing attack, they can give anybody problems," Ceres High junior quarterback Chris Lubinsky said.

Central Valley made its first-ever postseason in 2013.

The 15th-seeded Hawks lost 69-55 to the No. 2 Buffaloes.

Ja'Quan Gardner, Lumpkin's older brother and a star running back at Humboldt State, gained 378 yards and scored four touchdowns in defeat. He also had a 4-yard TD pass.

Ghiorso, a sophomore defensive back at the time, intercepted one pass.

"We're getting a second chance at those guys," Moses said.

The Hawks have won their last four games. Central Valley outscored its opponents, 161-72.

Manteca outscored its regular-season opponents, 377-115. "We went to summer camp with those guys," Edwards said. "We've seen them and competed with them. We got a great test in front of us. We're excited about the matchup and challenge."