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Navarro perseveres
Central Valley High School's varsity football team has settled its quarterback competition.

Abraham Navarro will start for the Hawks.

Coach Jason McCloskey made the announcement following this past weekend's scrimmage at Manteca.

"He locked up the position," McCloskey said. "He'll start Week 1. He's just a natural leader and always under control. He's a competitor."

Navarro beat out fellow senior Kenny Lopez, his replacement for most of last season.

Abraham missed six of 10 games in 2011 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"My teammates are really excited for me," he said. "It sucked last year knowing I couldn't play on Fridays. I felt like I let people down. I didn't want to lose my starting spot to injury. My experience and knowledge helped me get it back."

Navarro, a varsity starter since his freshman year, sat out the fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th games of the 2011 season with an ACL injury.

"It took me four months to get cleared by the doctor," said Abraham, who gained 30 pounds following surgery. "But I didn't feel confident until six months."

Navarro attended physical therapy twice a week.

He worked out on his own.

He also changed his diet with help from his mother.

He no longer weighs 225 pounds.

"I eat oatmeal, eggs and sandwiches every day," Abraham said. "I take multi vitamins. I can't have fastfood, chips, tortillas or soda. My favorite place to eat was In-N-Out Burger."

Navarro completed passes to Marcus Clark, Kenneth Padilla and Milton Uti during Saturday's scrimmage against the Buffaloes, West Wolfpack, Ripon Indians and Bret Harte Bullfrogs. He threw just one interception.

"Overall, we did pretty well," Navarro said. "We held our own. I thought we were going to do worse because we're putting in new offenses and defenses. The formations are the same. The terminology is way different."

Central Valley rotated players in and out at just about every position.

"I'm really proud of the guys," McCloskey said. "We were able to do stuff against all four teams. We moved the ball. We played good defense. We used it as an evaluation. We wanted to see what everyone could do. We focused on improving. I really didn't care about how many times we scored."

Ja'Quan Gardner, Angelo Bermudez and Juan Plasencia contributed at running back.

"Ja'Quan looked really good," McCloskey said. "He's a lot more explosive this year. Angelo impressed me with his abilities within the tackles. Juan did a great job."

Central Valley will open the 2012 season on the road against Gregori this Friday at Downey High School.

The Hawks and Jaguars compiled records of 4-6 and 0-10 in 2011.

"They're a physical and well-coached team," McCloskey said. "They're going to be way better than last year. They're going to be tough."

"We can't take them lightly," Navarro added. "We just need to execute our plays."