By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hulstine coaches CHS players in Merced County Girls Flag Football All-Star Game
mily Esparza, Madeline Schultz, Marissa Renteria, Mariah Renteria and Nehemiah Valenzuela
Ceres High School girls flag football head coach Curtis Hulstine reunited with Bulldog players (left to right) Emily Esparza, Madeline Schultz, Marissa Renteria, Mariah Renteria and Nehemiah Valenzuela at the First Annual Merced County All-Star Game on June 14. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Teammates during the Sac-Joaquin Section’s inaugural season of girls flag football, Marissa Renteria, Madeline Schultz, Emily Esparza, Nehemiah Valenzuela and Mariah Renteria represented Ceres High School for the final time as a group at the First Annual Merced County All-Star Game earlier this month.

Curtis Hulstine, head coach of the Bulldogs, called offensive plays.

Hulstine, Schultz, Esparza, Valenzuela, Mariah Renteria, Marissa Renteria and the Blue Team edged the Gold Team 20-12 on June 14 at Veterans Stadium.

“We hadn’t seen each other since our successful season,” Hulstine said. “It was fun to get back together. They got to play and I got to coach them. They continue to put Ceres on the map for flag football.”

Marissa Renteria, a standout quarterback and safety, earned Player of the Game honors during her final game at the high-school level.

“It means everything to me,” Marissa Renteria said. “It’s the first flag football all-star game in this (area) ever. Our mindset was we wanted to win. I knew the other team was going to be good.”

“It was bitter-sweet,” Hulstine said. “I was super excited to be her (Marissa’s) coach again and I was sad that was the last time. She’s an awesome kid and stellar athlete. She’s one-of-kind. We’ll definitely miss her next year.”

Marissa Renteria accounted for three touchdowns, including two passing and one rushing.

“I was very appreciative to play in that level of a game,” Marissa Renteria said. “I was a little rusty. I could have played better. I felt a lot of pressure to spread the ball around and not just make it about me.”

Marissa Renteria also intercepted a pass on defense.

“She put the team on her back,” Hulstine said.

Esparza, a cornerback, had one interception.

Schultz (center/receiver), Valenzuela (receiver/middle linebacker) and Mariah Renteria (receiver/cornerback) also contributed.

Mariah Renteria, Marissa’s younger sister, filled in for Bulldog receiver/Western Athletic Conference First-Team honoree Maria Bravo who couldn’t play due to a conflicting schedule.

“It made the game even more meaningful to me,” Marissa said.

The Blue Team eked out a hard-fought victory versus the Gold Team.

“To get the win was very special,” Hulstine said. “It was a very competitive game. I felt like we were the underdogs. Their team had players from Merced, Atwater and El Capitan.”

Players from both squads attended three practices and a banquet leading up to the Merced County All-Star Game.

“It was a lot of fun,” Hulstine said. “We had three days of good practices. The girls bonded so quickly. It seemed like they’ve been teammates all year. The whole experience was awesome.”

“We all got along well,” Marissa Renteria stated. “Our team chemistry was the best you can get in four days.”

Central Valley High School senior running back/inside linebacker Kalli Hoffman was supposed to suit up for the Blue Team at the All-Star Game. But missed the contest due to injury.

She dislocated her left elbow during the wrestling season. She’ll have surgery in the near future.

“I was planning on playing with the injury,” Hoffman said. “But I thought it would be safer if I didn’t.”

Hoffman, Schultz, Esparza, Valenzuela, Bravo, Mariah Renteria and Marissa Renteria earned invitations to the Merced County All-Star Game for their standout play during the regular season.

Hoffman was named to the Central California Conference First Team.

“She was a natural leader on our team,” Central Valley head coach Tony Cordova said. “She was always positive. Her endurance was amazing. She played both sides. She never really left the field.”

Hoffman rushed for 1,135 yards and six touchdowns and hauled in 45 passes for 485 yards and one TD.

She ranked second in the CCC in both rushing yards and touchdowns.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody run that fast,” Cordova said. “It was amazing. Other teams changed their defenses because of her.”

Hoffman ranked second on the team in pass deflections (13), third in interceptions (5) and fourth in tackles (41).

“She was our main blitzer,” Cordova said. “She was always causing havoc in the backfield.”

Marissa Renteria was voted the WAC’s Most Valuable Player.

A dual-threat quarterback, Marissa Renteria totaled 2,161 yards and 34 touchdowns. She passed for 1,323 yards and 27 TDs.

She rushed for 838 yards and seven scores.

Marissa Renteria also starred on defense.

She totaled 16 interceptions, including five versus Mariposa.

She returned two of her three picks for touchdowns against Lathrop.

“Marissa’s everything you want in an athlete,” Hulstine said. “She’s coachable. She takes criticism very well. She knows the game. Athletically, she’s fast, quick and agile. I felt comfortable putting her anywhere on the field. I took her feedback and applied it to the game plan. She was like a second coach.”

Schultz, Valenzuela, Esparza and Bravo were selected to the WAC First Team.

Schultz caught six touchdown passes.

“She was a big part of our success,” Hulstine said. She was the vocal leader.”

Valenzuela led the Bulldogs in sacks.

“She was our rusher,” Hulstine said. “She made our defensive backs’ jobs easier by putting pressure on the quarterbacks.”

Valenzuela also had four touchdown catches.

Esparza led Ceres High in tackles. 

“She locked down every receiver that she covered,” Hulstine said. “She laid out multiple times a game to pull flags.”

Bravo hauled in three touchdown passes. 

She had 85 receiving yards, 25 rushing yards and two TDs versus Mountain House.

“We put her on varsity because we knew she’d be one of our top receivers,” Hulstine said. “She was a key part of our offense.”

Led by Marissa Renteria, Ceres High’s inaugural girls flag football team amassed an 18-3 overall record, claimed the WAC title with a perfect 7-0 mark and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I playoffs this past winter.

Schultz, Valenzuela, Esparza, Bravo and Mariah Renteria were major contributors.

The Bulldogs fell one win shy of advancing to the section championship game.

Sixth-seeded Ceres High had its 14-game unbeaten streak snapped by the second-seeded/eventual champion Del Oro Golden Eagles in the semifinals. The Bulldogs suffered a 20-14 loss.

“We had a great season,” Hulstine said. “The girls blew all of my expectations out of the water. I can’t believe the success this team had. It’s truly amazing. embedded themselves into CHS history.”

“We all built a very good bond together,” Marissa Renteria added. “They want me to come back and help coach.”