The 17th leg of the Ceres Classic football match, which pits Ceres High against Crosstown rivals Central Valley, will be held this Friday at CUSD Stadium.
Kick-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“Unless you were in it, you don’t understand,” longtime Ceres High coach Brett Johnson said while talking about the importance of the rivalry contest. “For kids, they want bragging rights for the rest of their lives. It should be a fun and fierce battle.
“This is a huge game for the schools and the community,” Hawks third-year head coach Derrick Goblirsch said. “The energy and the number of people is at least double what we normally get. It’s bigger than when we come home.
The Bulldogs (2-0) will be led by Landyn Hudson (QB), Tarrell Lee-Gill (RB), Ricky Stanley (WR/DB), Lebron Stallworth (TE/DE), Kahmi Smith (FB/LB), Josh Prestridge (LB/RB), Faiva Tuakalau (LB/OL) and Donovan Osuna (DB).
Hudson completed 18 of 33 passes for 440 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in Ceres High’s first two games.
Lee-Gill rushed for 205 yards and five touchdowns on 22 carries and had four passes for 98 yards and two scores.
Stanley caught six passes for 186 yards and a touchdown.
Smith had 11 tackles and one pass deflection.
Osuna had nine tackles, two interceptions and two pass deflections.
The Hawks (1-1) will be led by Mario Gonzalez (QB), Felix Arellano (RB/LB), Elijah Jackson (TE/DL), Diego Delahoya (WR), Garret Garcia (OL), Jayson Casias (WR), Anthony Ramirez (S/WR) and Josh Hale (LB).
Gonzalez completed 18 of 29 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Central Valley’s first two games. He ran for 104 yards on 14 carries.
Arellano gained 49 yards on 11 carries.
Jackson had 15 yards and two touchdowns on three carries.
Casias caught 12 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown.
Ramirez had 13 tackles, four interceptions and one pass deflection.
Hale had 19 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass deflection.
“They are talented,” Goblirsch said. “We know they’re going to bring it. We always want to play our best.
“I grew up with a good majority of their elders,” Arellano said. “I used to play baseball with Landyn. I went to elementary school with Tarrell, Ricky and Lebron. I have known Kahmi since middle school. I talk to them again in a blue moon.
“I’m friends with the entire football team at Ceres High,” said Jackson, who chose to go to Central Valley because three of his siblings graduated there. “I’ve known them since seventh grade. I went to Mae Hensley Jr. High. The fact that we can play against each other, and have a lot of people watching, is very exciting. »
“I wish them the best for the season, but not when we play them,” Hudson said.
The Bulldogs will be looking to break a seven-game losing streak against the Hawks.
“We’re not going to go into the game with too much confidence,” Hudson said. “We know what we have to do. We have to prove that we are the best team. We can’t lose to them anymore. We will do whatever it takes to win. We will give everything we have until the final whistle.
“It’s going to be a very competitive game,” Jackson said. “We are all going to play ball. Whoever plays the best will win. We are not going to go down without a fight.
“They’re just as motivated as we are,” Arellano said. “At the end of the day, whoever wins will show who wanted more. How you play has a lot to do with how you train. We all need to be locked in.
“Everyone thinks the resume is better at everything,” Lee-Gill said. “It will do a lot of good for our school as a whole, not just our football team, if we win. We played them 7v7 during the summer. It gave us a possibility of what could happen in the real game.”
Ceres High came awfully close to ending years of frustration against Central Valley last fall.
The Hawks scored twice in the fourth quarter and rallied for a 20-18 victory.
Prestridge’s 34-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to two with 4:35 left.
The Central Valley offense exploited the remaining time to secure the hard-fought victory.
Ceres High had just 218 total rushing yards in the loss.
Hudson completed 8 of 16 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Lee-Gill rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown on five attempts.
Prestridge gained 37 yards and scored a TD on three carries.
Arellano had two tackles and a pass deflection.
“We didn’t handle our emotions and hype well last year,” Johnson said. “It ultimately cost us the game.”
Central Valley and Ceres High have played 16 times since 2006.
The Hawks are 14-2 head to head against the Bulldogs.
Central Valley beat Ceres High in 2021 (20-18), 2020 (36-14), 2019 (55-13), 2018 (35-0), 2017 (35-33), 2016 (51-10), 2015 (48-14), 2013 (48-15), 2012 (40-13), 2011 (55-21), 2010 (55-24), 2009 (28-26), 2008 (40-7) and 2007 ( 25 -20).
Ceres High won the inaugural showdown in 2006 (20-7) and knocked Central Valley out of the playoffs in 2014 (24-7).
“Everyone is talking about this game,” Arellano said. “It’s a matter of pride. It’s for bragging. You play in front of the whole town. People bet on the game. It increases the intensity.
“Energetically, it’s crazy,” Hudson said. “The stands are full. Everybody is here. People who don’t even like football go to the game.
“The crowd is so big,” Lee-Gill said. “You see everyone enjoying the game. It’s impossible not to be excited.
“The pregame is the most exciting part,” Delahoya said. “You are nervous. Once the match starts, you hear nothing. You are locked up. It’s just you on the football pitch.
The winner of the Ceres High-Central Valley game will receive the Ceres Classic perpetual trophy.
The trophy has been on the Central Valley campus for more than 5,000 days in total since the crosstown competition’s inception in 2006.
“I see it every day when I walk into the cafeteria,” Arellano said. “We have to keep the trophy.”
“It’s time for the trophy to come back here,” Hudson said.
“The trophy is cool,” Johnson said. ” This is the icing on the cake. It means you have won. I just hope we achieve what we want this year.
Central Valley’s move from the Western Athletic Conference to the Central California Conference in 2018 as part of the Sac-Joaquin Division’s realignment plan nearly halted the annual contest between the Hawks and Bulldogs.
Central Valley and Ceres High will continue to face off during the preseason.
The number of gates and attendance for the Ceres Classic football game is still high.
“This will be my 12th year being part of it,” Goblirsch said. “There were a lot of tight games. I hope we keep playing this game forever. As long as I’m the head coach of Central Valley, we will.
“I’m the only person involved in every game,” Johnson added. “I would like it to continue. I wouldn’t want to see it end.