The Ceres Classic—the annual crosstown showdown between Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s varsity football programs—is more than a game.
It’s an experience.
Louder chanting, cheering and jeering.
Players from both sides ratchet up the intensity as they vie for school pride, bragging rights and the highly-coveted perpetual trophy.
"It’s the fight that everyone wants to see. It’s like King Kong versus Godzilla.”Bulldogs’ junior lineman Elias Saldana.
“It’s fun because everyone I know comes to the game regardless if they are fans of football,” Bulldogs’ junior lineman Elias Saldana said. “It’s the fight that everyone wants to see. It’s like King Kong versus Godzilla.”
No longer in the same league due to the Sac-Joaquin Section’s realignment plan—Central Valley moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the Central California Conference—the 13th meeting between the Hawks and Bulldogs will be staged during the opening week this season.
Central Valley and Ceres High will battle this Friday at Bulldog Stadium.
The game will get underway at 7 p.m.
“I think for the town of Ceres, it’s a great way to kick off the season,” Hawk’s fifth-year head coach Scott Edwards said. “It means a lot to the kids, alumni of both schools and the community. The win can make your year. But it truly is just another game, another opponent you have to prepare for. You have about 24 hours to celebrate or sulk over it (the result) and move on.”
“I expect it to be very competitive because it’s a rivalry game,” Ceres High first-year head coach Matt Chachere said.
“It’s more exciting than other games because the crowd is into it,” Central Valley senior lineman Vince Bocanegra said. “You have all eyes on you. It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s a fun experience.”
Established in 2006, Central Valley owns a head-to-head record of 10-2 versus Ceres High.
The Hawks beat the Bulldogs for the third year in a row last fall. Central Valley earned a hard-fought 35-33 victory. The game featured six lead changes. The two teams combined to score six touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks also topped the Bulldogs in 2016 (51-10), 2015 (48-14), 2013 (48-15), 2012 (40-13), 2011 (55-11), 2010 (55-24), 2009 (28-26), 2008 (40-7) and 2007 (25-20)
Ceres High won the inaugural showdown in 2006 (20-7) and eliminated Central Valley from playoff consideration in 2014 (24-7).
“Last year’s game was so close,” Saldana said. “So many times, I thought we had it. It’s going to be very competitive again.”
The Ceres Classic perpetual trophy has been in Central Valley’s possession for the past three years.
Will the Bulldogs end the Hawks’ run of success this season?
“Beating CV is the priority, especially for the seniors,” Ceres High running back/linebacker Felipe Martinez said. “That’s been our motivation all summer. We got to stay focused. I honestly think it’s going to be a great game.”
“It’s a competition,” Bocanegra added. “They’re not our friends when we’re on the field. But at the end of the day it’s all for fun.”