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Central Valley High School's varsity boys soccer team made history on Tuesday, Nov. 4 when it edged out cross-town rival Ceres High 1-0 for the Valley Oak League championship.

The 80-minute contest was watched by more than 375 fans on a chilly night at Bulldog Stadium.

When the final whistle blew, a wild celebration followed. Central Valley players ambushed coach Omar Leon from behind with a bucket of ice water, then hoisted him in the air.

"A lot of people underestimated us and said we couldn't do it," junior forward Antonio Cabrera stated. "We proved them wrong."

The soccer program won the school's first-ever league title.

The Hawks managed to place first in the VOL at 11-2-1 (34 points) and secure a top seed for playoffs despite competing with a revamped roster. Central Valley graduated 13 players from last year's postseason-participant squad.

Runner-up Ceres High finished 10-1-3 in conference play (33 points) and secured the No. 2 seed.

"It's a really good feeling knowing all the hard work paid off," Hawks third-year varsity starter Ricardo Reynoso said. "This is unbelievable. Hopefully, we get more respect at school."

Cabrera and Gerardo Cazares combined for the biggest play of the game.

Antonio's team-leading 13th goal of the season came in the fifth minute and proved to be all Central Valley would need.

Cazares notched his team-best eighth assist on the year when he lined a right cornerkick into the box and Cabrera scored from a few feet away.

"That goal means a lot to me," said Antonio, who just missed scoring the game-winner late in the first half of the Hawks' 0-0 tie with Bulldogs earlier this season. Ceres goalkeeper Kyle Cerny made a finger-tip save.

Central Valley goalie Victor Mercado totaled six saves on his way to posting his third shutout during the second meeting. He received plenty of help from Reynoso, and twin brothers Billy and Bobby Chantavong. They shut down Ceres High's dynamic duo of David Estrada and Luis Martinez.

Ricardo missed the previous six games with an injury. He stood on the turf with a half-eaten green apple in one hand and black brace on his right knee while talking about the historical victory in the near-empty stadium afterwards.

"I wasn't going to let this stop me from playing," he said.

Ceres High had its 13-game unbeaten streak snapped.

The loss was hard to stomach for the Bulldogs because their league title dreams were dashed by city rivals.

They also had to listen to Hawk players revel in the victory.

Martinez, a junior, sat on the ground with his back to the action because he couldn't bare to watch.

Senior Aron Mejia also tried to tune out the postgame festivity.

"We were expecting to win, but it didn't happen," Luis said. "It's a letdown"

"It doesn't feel good but we still got to keep our heads up," Mejia said. "It was a close game. I wish we could have done better."

The Hawks have never lost to the Bulldogs in their three-year history.