By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Tough Loss: Hawks open season with 14-7 nail-biting loss to Downey
Abraham Navarro's fourth-down pass sailed into the left corner of the end zone in the closing seconds of the Central Valley High School varsity football's team season opener with Downey.

Hawk fans erupted after receiver Greg Tripp appeared to make a tough catch in traffic.

The excitement proved to be premature as the official ruled Tripp failed to gain possession before being shoved out of bounds. It turns out had Greg scored, the touchdown would have been negated because Navarro was penalized for an illegal-forward pass.

"I was scrambling," Abraham said. "I had to get rid of it. I thought he caught it and we were going to tie it up. I didn't know I stepped over the line of scrimmage."

The visiting Knights prevailed, 14-7, Thursday night at Bulldog Stadium.

Central Valley (0-1) started its final drive at its own 20-yard with 4:31 remaining in the game. The Hawks picked up four first downs. Navarro and Cody Melton had runs of 21 and 18 yards, respectively. Tyree Jones broke free for a 12-yard gain on the ground and hauled in a 14-yard pass from Navarro. Abraham was sacked for a 7-yard loss at the Downey 21 on third down.

"We showed a lot of character on our last possession," Navarro said.

Downey junior running back Austin Eckert accounted for the winning score. His 34-yard scamper came two plays after Central Valley lost a fumble on offense.

Linebacker Chris Moscozo had just given the Hawks momentum when he blocked Downey's 24-yard field-goal attempt.

Central Valley found itself in a scoreless tie at the break despite piling up twice as many first downs as the 1-1 Knights. The Hawks held a 10-4 advantage. Defensive back Brandon Viado had an interception.

Navarro engineered an 11-play, 51-yard scoring drive on Central Valley's first possession in the second half. The Hawks benefitted from two pass-interference penalties. Abraham's 1-yard keeper and soccer standout Daniel Ochoa's point-after kick put Central Valley ahead 7-0 at the 5:20 mark of the third quarter.

Downey responded 16 second later as John Kreifeis returned the kickoff for a touchdown (82 yards).

"Our defense played good," Abraham said. "We just got to get better on offense. Me and my receivers weren't connecting. I'll take part of the blame."

Greg Mathews, Navarro's favorite target, exited the game with a hamstring injury in the opening half. He caught two passes for 61 yards in the first quarter.

"If we had him, we would have done better," Navarro said. "He's a big asset."

Multiple Central Valley players were slowed by leg cramps after intermission.

"Everyone was gassed in the second half," Navarro said. "We need to do a lot more conditioning."

"We will get better," Central Valley head coach Tim Garcia stated during his team's postgame meeting. "Keep your heads up."

Navarro passed for 157 yards and was intercepted once.

Jones totaled 101 yards of offense, including 52 rushing and 49 receiving.

Melton gained 80 yards on nine carries.

The Hawks will travel to Modesto tomorrow to compete against the Johansen Vikings (0-2). The non-league game will get underway at 7:30 p.m.