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Central Valley High School senior lineman Sean McLeod stands 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 265 pounds. He bench presses 345 pounds, squats 550 and can dunk a basketball. And he runs a sub-5.0, 40-yard dash.

"He passes the eyeball test, no doubt about it," Hawks head coach Tim Garcia said.

McLeod will play an integral role during Central Valley's second varsity season.

Sean managed to earn second-team, all-Valley Oak League honors despite missing five of seven games with a right knee injury for the 2006 Hawks, who posted a 1-9 overall record and finished in last place in the conference standings (0-7).

He tallied 16 tackles, including five for a loss, one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in league play.

McLeod put off knee surgery to participate in the first-ever showdown between Central Valley and Ceres High. Early in the first quarter, Sean recovered a fumble at the 50-yard line and returned it to the Bulldogs' 17-yard line. The Hawks scored four plays later at the 6:51 mark. Tied at 7-7 at intermission, Ceres reeled off 14 straight points for a 20-7 victory.

"He didn't have to play. But he wanted to," Garcia said. "That's the type of kid he is. He didn't want to let his teammates down. He cares about them."

Added McLeod: "I really wanted to play no matter what. It was worth it. After the game my knee was sore. During the game, all the adrenaline took over and I didn't feel anything."

Sean said he's still haunted by the 13-point loss to the Bulldogs. McLeod and his teammates were overcome with emotion afterwards. Ceres High players, coaches and fans participated in a wild celebration.

"That was the worse feeling in my life," McLeod said. "I still think about it in the weight room and at night. I'm going to make sure that never happens again."

The rematch will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8 at Ceres High School.

"This one should be more fun because I know most of their guys," McLeod said. "I hang out with them. It should be a good game."

McLeod started receiving recruiting letters from four-year colleges at the end of last school year.

"The two that are most interested are Nevada and Utah State," he said.

Sean attended camps at both schools this summer.

McLeod visited University of Nevada, Reno in June. He toured the campus, including the Roger B. Primm Strength and Conditioning Center. He also met the Wolf Pack's coaching staff.

"I can see myself going there," McLeod said. "I felt like I was a part of the team already. Their defensive line coach wants some film on me and wants me to go down there on another recruiting trip."

Added Garcia: "He's already earned a qualifying SAT score."

Barring injury, Sean should have a dominant senior campaign as a two-way starter.

"He's gotten a lot stronger, faster and maturer," Garcia said. "He's very dedicated. He loves the game. He's going to have a huge year."

Added McLeod: "The coaches are the ones that push me. Every day, it's something different."

The top three teams in the VOL advance to the postseason.

"Last year, we had a lot of injuries and it was our first time playing varsity," Sean said. "It caught up to us. Realistically, I think we can sneak into the playoffs this year if everything happens the way it should. The main part is staying healthy."