STOCKTON — Central Valley High has been playing varsity soccer for only four years, but for Ceres High, that's exactly four years too long.
Despite being the new school in town, Central Valley has dominated Ceres in soccer, going 6-0-2 in their eight meetings.
Since many of those games have been close, Central Valley has heard the Bulldogs' bark. On Saturday, for the first time, they felt the bite.
Ramon Corona converted two first-half scoring opportunities and the Ceres defense made the early tallies stand up as the Bulldogs defeated the Hawks 2-0 for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 championship at Lincoln High.
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"The kids wanted this so bad and they deserve it," said Ceres coach Koeurn Phe, whose team reached the section title game for the second straight year. "We've been trying so hard to redeem ourselves against our crosstown rival, who we haven't been able to beat."
The Bulldogs (17-3-3) controlled the flow of the game by winning in the midfield, where both teams were playing short. Ceres was down one midfielder and Central Valley was down two starters and a reserve — all players who chose to compete with their club teams this weekend rather than with their high school squad.
"They knew they were skipping on their high school team for an important tournament in Los Angeles, where a lot of scouts could see them," said Hawks' coach Omar Leon, whose team finished 17-4-5. "I respect that decision, but they let me know at the last minute and that cost us the game because I had to make some adjustments and we weren't able to control the middle."
Corona's first goal came in the 30th minute after Ceres had spent an extended time in the scoring zone. After the Hawks failed to clear, midfielder Alejandro Castro flipped a crossing pass toward the goal, where Castro was able to head it over goalkeeper Jose Pacheco.
The second goal came on a free kick in the final seconds of the half.
"My friend Marcos (Rochas) wanted to take the free kick, but I told him I wanted it," Corona said. "It had a good curve and I don't know if he saw it."
Indeed, Pacheco was looking directly into the sun at the moment of the free kick, and his late reaction indicated he might not have had a good look at it. Ceres keeper Kyle Cerny battled the sun in the second half, but the Hawks' good scoring chances were rare.
"We played really well," Phe said. "We had a strong lineup coming into this game and I knew we had the personnel to get the job done."
JESUIT 3, GOLDEN VALLEY 0, at Stockton — Andrew Mills and A.J. Agha scored off corner kicks and Jesuit claimed yet another blue banner, beating upstart Golden Valley in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 final. Golden Valley (19-3-2), the Central California Conference runnerup, was under duress from the opening whistle. Jesuit (27-1) scored goals within 14 minutes of each.