A standout running back on Central Valley’s varsity football team for the past two years, Isaiah Hidalgo will contribute at a different position this season.
The senior is being groomed to be the Hawks’ starting quarterback.
“When the season ended last year, the first thing coach (Derrick Goblirsch) and I talked about was me playing QB,” Hidalgo said. “It’s a lot of responsibility, which I’m looking forward to.”
Hidalgo will replace two-year starter Andrew Hernandez, who passed for 2,940 yards with 26 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 20 career games. He also had five rushing TDs.
Hernandez earned Central California Conference, honorable-mention recognition as a junior.
“I’m going to have to be vocal now,” Hidalgo said. “That’s one thing I like about changing positions. It’s helping me become a better leader. I have to really motivate my teammates. It’s time to step up.”
Hidalgo racked up 1,844 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns during his second season with the Hawks last fall.
The CCC honorable-mention selection gained 983 yards and tallied 12 TDs, both career-highs, on 205 carries.
He caught 26 passes for 163 yards and one score.
Hidalgo totaled 537 yards and two touchdowns 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.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge (of playing a different position),” Hidalgo said. “It’s been a smooth transition. Playing football my whole life, learning plays is really easy. I just got to get taught the content. I’ve been working on getting my form and footwork right. It helps tremendously knowing I have Goblirsch to help me. He played the position. He’ll tell me what I do wrong because he’s done it. That gives me confidence.”
Hidalgo is a fan of dual-threat QBs Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens), Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals) and Spencer Rattler (University of Oklahoma).
“Those are the three quarterbacks I look up to the most, watch and study,” he said.
Hidalgo will fill a new role while being the vocal point of Central Valley’s offense for the second straight season.
“They want the ball in my hand every play,” he said. “It will open up options for everybody else.”
Hidalgo and the Hawks dedicated time to weight training, conditioning and team offense, from 3:30-5 p.m., on Monday and Tuesday.
Student-athletes from Ceres Unified School District’s two public high schools resumed conditioning workouts on campus on Sept. 21.
Extracurricular activities, including sports, had been suspended until further notice on July 13 because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in Stanislaus County.
Football and cross country will have their first official practices on Dec. 7.
“December is go time,” Hidalgo said. “It’s full speed ahead. That’s when we get our helmets, pads and all of our other equipment.”
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.
“I heard there’s a possibility we could return to campus in January,” Hidalgo said. “We don’t know the date. It would be messed up if we don’t even touch the field. I think we should be able to play football and other sports. Every other state is allowing their kids to play.”