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Historical Showdown
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Central Valley has never lost to Ceres High in varsity boys soccer, compiling a 6-0-2 record since 2006.

The Hawks and Bulldogs will square off for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship on Saturday at Lincoln High School in Stockton. The all-Ceres finale will get underway at 2 p.m.

"It doesn't matter what happened in the past," Hawks head coach Omar Leon said. "This is the most important game. It's going to be very intense, physical and fast-paced. It can go either way."

The host Bulldogs beat Valley Oak League rival Sierra 2-0 in the semifinals and Whitney of the Pioneer Valley League 4-1 in the first round earlier this week. Ceres High lost 5-4 on penalty kicks to River City in the 2008 section finals.

"We have a second opportunity and have to take advantage," Bulldogs senior forward Luis Martinez said. "We're pretty excited. We have a better team this year. Nothing else has been our minds but winning."

Ceres High knocked off Sierra for the third time this year thanks to first-half goals by Martinez and Alejandro Castro, and a strong defensive performance.

"I was pretty impressed with the way that we shut them down," Luis said. "They have a talented team. But we know their strengths and weaknesses."

Central Valley opened the 2009 post-season tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 10 by edging out River City 4-2 as Antonio Cabrera scored twice in double overtime. The Hawks lost 3-1 to the Raiders in the semifinals last year.

Central Valley earned the right to play for the section crown with a 2-0 win at El Dorado Thursday night. Speedy sophomore forward Daniel Ochoa scored one minute and 10 seconds into the game and junior offensive midfielder/co-captain Jose Ramirez added a goal in 36th minute.

"We beat teams that eliminated us from the playoffs the last two years," Leon said. "We possessed the ball very well and finished in the first half (against El Dorado). We did what we had to do."

Ceres High will be seeking payback tomorrow. The Bulldogs hope to end their winless streak against the Hawks and make amends for last year's title-game loss.

Central Valley has won back-to-back Valley Oak League titles the past two seasons at Ceres High's expense. The 2009 Hawks are striving for section dominance.

Will Ceres High or Central Valley claim the grand prize?

"I don't think this (having two teams from Ceres in the section finals) might happen again," Leon said. "I'm pretty sure nobody wants to lose."

"It would be like bringing a World Cup home," Martinez said. "We want this bad, especially the seniors. We'll be ready."