The coronavirus has changed how we live, work, learn and play.
Local prep football standouts Isaiah Hidalgo (Central Valley) and Amare Padilla (Ceres High) are eager to get back on the field so they can add to their recruiting profiles.
A standout senior running back, Hidalgo was promoted to varsity as a sophomore.
“Even though I’ve played two varsity seasons, I’d still like to have an extra year of film,” he said. “You need film to get scouted. It’s also important because it’s my last year. I’m looking forward to doing better this season.”
Hidalgo, the Courier’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 2019 fall sports season, racked up 1,844 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns during his second year with the Hawks.
He earned Central California Conference honorable-mention recognition.
Hidalgo rushed for 983 yards and 12 touchdowns, both career-highs, on 205 carries.
He caught 26 passes for 163 yards and one score.
Hidalgo totaled 537 yards and two TDs on 20 kickoff returns.
He had 161 yards and one TD on seven punt returns.
Two of Hidalgo’s most-productive games came against Sac-Joaquin Section champs Ripon and Sierra during the preseason.
He carried the ball 19 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns against Ripon.
He ran for 129 yards and one TD versus Sierra.
Hidalgo also helped Central Valley improve its all-time record versus crosstown-rival Ceres High to 12-2 with a 55-13 victory.
He rumbled for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Hidalgo returned a punt 66 yards for a TD.
“He’s been our featured back for two years now,” Central Valley head coach Derrick Goblirsch said. “He’s had a lot of success. He has quality film to send out. Having that senior year puts a stamp on things.”
Padilla, a standout senior all-purpose player, suited up for just six games during his first season of varsity football at Ceres High last fall.
Formerly of Central Valley, Padilla had to sit out the first four contests to satisfy a CIF transfer rule.
He ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns, caught eight passes for 88 yards and one TD, and had 66 yards passing a year ago.
“A lot of people haven’t heard about me and don’t know what I can do,” Padilla said. “I’m using this year to show off my talent. This season is important. I need more film of me playing to get recruited.”
Hidalgo and Padilla are both currently being recruited by Pacific University (Oregon).
Padilla has also drawn interest from Pacific Lutheran (Washington).
“I had some Division-III schools send me questionnaires and contact me through Twitter,” Padilla said. “I’m grateful for it. But I’m trying to get to at least the Division-II level.”
“I think Isaiah’s capable of going to a four-year college out of high school,” Goblirsch stated. “Junior college wouldn’t be a terrible decision for him if he chooses that route. Modesto Junior College has had a lot of success over the last couple years. They’ve been sending guys to good schools.”
“If my options aren’t good, I’m fine taking the JUCO (junior college) route,” Hidalgo added.
The start of the 2019 high school football campaign was moved from Aug. 21 to Jan. 8 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 benchmarks must be met prior to the season getting underway.
“College and the NFL are playing,” Padilla said. “We might be able to play soon. I’m hoping we have a season. I feel like I’m going to have a big year. I’m still nervous about the whole situation. I try to stay positive and not think about it. I can’t control what’s going on with COVID.”
“My goal is to be one of the top players in the CCC,” Hidalgo stated.