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Kickoff approaches
Challenging schedules await CV, Ceres High varsity football teams
Senior defensive back Daniel Raya intercepts a pass during football practice at Ceres High School last week. Raya had 22 tackles and one pass deflection in nine games for the 2-8 Bullldogs in 2013. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity football team overhauled its preseason schedule.

The Hawks will face Sierra (Sept. 5), Franklin (Sept. 12), Waterford (Sept. 19) and Castlemont (Oct. 11) this year instead of Manteca, Brookside Christian, Johansen and Madera South.

Central Valley (6-5, 3-3 Western Athletic Conference) made history last season by qualifying for the playoffs and posting a winning record.

"There are some interesting matchups," said Scott Edwards, new head coach of the Hawks. "It's going to be a challenge. It would be nice to open the season with a splash."

The Hawks will face Pacheco (Sept. 26), Patterson (Oct. 3), Livingston (Oct. 17), El Capitan (Oct. 24), Los Banos (Oct. 31) and Ceres High (Nov. 7) during WAC play.

El Capitan will be fielding its first-ever varsity team.

Central Valley collected wins against Brookside Christian (56-26), Johansen (41-20), Madera South (46-14), Livingston (41-8), Los Banos (35-7) and Ceres High (48-15) last year.

The Hawks lost twice to Manteca (69-55, 47-20), and once to Pacheco (29-7), Patterson (28-25), Central Catholic (43-34).

"If we don't make playoffs, it would be a huge disappointment," Central Valley junior all-purpose player Moses Ghiorso said.

Ceres High's non-conference schedule includes games against Modesto High (Aug. 29), Gregori (Sept. 5), Hughson (Sept. 12) and Johansen (Sept. 19).

Ceres High, 2-8 and 1-5 last season, opted to face Hughson instead of Downey this year.

The Bulldogs posted an 0-7 record versus the Knights from 2007-13.

Ceres High beat Johansen (51-48) and Livingston (42-20) in 2013. The Bulldogs lost to Modesto High (74-41), Gregori (45-30), Downey (64-21), Los Banos (52-0), Patterson (38-8), Pacheco (58-12), Central Catholic (56-12) and Central Valley.

The Bulldogs will compete against Los Banos (Sept. 26), Livingston (Oct. 3), Patterson (Oct. 10), Pacheco (Oct. 17), El Capitan (Oct. 31) and Central Valley during the WAC portion of their schedule.

Central Valley, Ceres High and other WAC teams no longer have to face Central Catholic. The Raiders moved to the Valley Oak League as part of Sac-Joaquin Section approved conference realignment.

"They're back-to-back state champs," Ceres High head coach Bret Durossette said. "I'm glad they left. They were bigger, stronger and faster. They had a dynamic team."

Central Catholic, Central Valley, Pacheco, Patterson, Sierra, Waterford, Modesto High and Hughson all advanced to the postseason this past fall.

The Bulldogs haven't qualified for the playoffs or compiled a winning record since 2004. "I'm excited for the season to start," Durossette said. "We have a lot of work to do. Our numbers aren't great. We're in the same boat as last year. I hope we make playoffs."