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The Quest for Redemption
Hampered by inexperience and injury, Central Valley High School struggled to a 1-9 record in its first varsity season of football.

The 2007 Hawks are anticipating a breakthrough year.

"This is what we've been waiting for," said Central Valley quarterback Trevor Mew (Jr. 6-3, 185). "It's even now. We got seniors. We're so much more confident and comfortable. Everybody knows their job."

Added Hawks head coach Tim Garcia: "They've grown physically and mentally."

Central Valley returns six all-league standouts in OL/DL Tyler Dodd (Jr. 6-1, 215), OL/DL Sean McLeod (Sr. 6-2, 265), RB/LB Joaquin Casas (Sr. 5-10, 195), WR/FS Gerald Garcia (Sr. 5-6, 145), WR/CB Rick Rogers (Jr. 6-2, 170) and OL/LB Andrew Segmiller (Sr. 5-10, 200).

Mew will orchestrate the Hawks' multiple-formation offense.

"He's got all the intangibles you look for in a quarterback," coach Garcia said.

Trevor will have plenty of weapons at his disposal in receivers Garcia, Rogers, DeAngelo Williams (So. 6-2, 180) and Anthony Pires (Sr. 5-8, 155), and running backs Casas and Vince Lopez (So. 5-5, 145).

"We're pretty deep at skill positions," coach Garcia said.

If the Hawks are to improve this year, they will have to shore up a defense that allowed 390 points in 10 games.

Central Valley shifted to a 3-4 alignment, which means more linebackers, blitzes, stunts and havoc. The scheme puts a premium on its ends to rush the quarterback and contain the perimeter.

"It fits our personnel better," coach Garcia said. "We'll be more competitive."

The Hawks will be led by linemen McLeod, Dodd and Anthony Martinez (Sr. 5-10, 190), and linebackers Casas, Segmiller, Levi Middleton (Sr. 6-0, 190) and Tim Henley (Jr. 5-9, 185).

Central Valley's secondary features Rogers, Lopez (cornerback), Garcia and Williams (strong safety). Garcia moved from cornerback to safety.

Staying healthy will also be key.

Mew and McLeod suffered collarbone and knee injuries, respectively, during the Hawks' conference opener against Sierra last year. They were sidelined for five of seven league games.

"I've never completed a whole high school season in my life," said Mew, who missed a start after taking a hit to the head while playing quarterback on Central Valley's independent league championship JV team as a freshman.

The top three teams from the Valley Oak League qualify for the playoffs.

The Oakdale Mustangs were picked to finish first in a preseason media poll. Central Valley garnered several third-place votes. Reporters from the Ceres Courier, Oakdale Leader, Manteca Bulletin, Manteca Sun Post, Sonora Union Democrat, Stockton Record, San Joaquin Tri-Valley Herald and Modesto Bee participated.

"We have the talent and coaching to do it," Mew said. "It's just a matter of staying healthy and being consistent."

Said McLeod: "We're ready."

"The kids are hungry," coach Garcia added.

Central Valley's quest for redemption begins on Friday at Ceres High School. The Hawks will play host to the Los Banos Tigers. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

"It will be a really good challenge," coach Garcia said.