Casey Cotta was off to the side doing sit-ups as the rest of his teammates ran toward the end of Tuesday's practice.
The Los Banos senior is still recovering after last week's 43-carry, 278-yard performance in a 14-13 loss to Golden Valley.
"I'm still feeling it," Cotta said.
There weren't many zigs or zags during Cotta's performance.
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It was just full steam, straight-ahead running.
If there was a Golden Valley defender in front of him, Cotta lowered his head and went straight through him.
With the success he had in the mud and rain, there was no reason to stop giving him the ball.
"I knew I was going to get the ball, but not that many times," Cotta said. "That was unexpected.
"I think the most carries I've had before was like 30 -- never 43.
I was dying."
The heavy workload took its toll on the 5-foot-9, 220-pound bruiser.
Cotta needed attention from a trainer after the game as he suffered from cramping in his leg.
"After the game you'll get cramps, but these were bad," Cotta said."I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I almost started crying."
Cotta spent most of Saturday in bed sleeping.
"The soreness really hit me late Saturday," Cotta said. "My whole body was sore."
The performance was bittersweet for Cotta.
It was a fourth-quarter fumble by the Los Banos star that helped Golden Valley stage its late rally.
"I still don't even like to talk about it," Cotta said. "It's going to stick with me for a while."
If his team needs another 43 carries from him this week against Atwater, Cotta is ready.
"I'll do it again," he said. "I love it."
* * *
FOOTBALL teams are always looking ahead.
Merced is in the process of filling its schedule for next season.
With four two-year contracts completed this year, Merced had four open dates to fill next year.
Merced won't be renewing a contract with Los Angeles Crenshaw.
The Sac-Joaquin Section won't allow zero week games next season.
Sonora also has declined the chance to renew another contract.
Merced has filled two of the dates.
The Governor's Hat will again be up for grabs in week one against Madera.
Merced also has agreed to play Fresno Edison in week three.
Edison -- which is coached by former San Francisco 49ers safety Tim McDonald -- is ranked No. 18 in the state by CalHiSports after a 6-0-1 start this season.
Merced will travel to Fresno next year with Edison coming to Stadium '76 in 2009.
Merced still has open dates for weeks two and four.
"We've talked to Oakdale," Merced athletic director Scott Winton said.
"We've received a lot of 'No.' "
Many schools already have their schedules filled.
"We've been in contact with almost every ranked team in Northern California," Winton said.
* * *
DEREK PRICE and Seth Medefind have been best friends since fourth grade.
While in high school, Price broke Medefind's nose during a water polo game.
The two roomed together while playing water polo at Merced College.
Now they're both in their first year of coaching varsity teams at their alma maters -- Price at Golden Valley and Medefind at Atwater.
Their teams will play each other for a second time this year tonight at Merced College.
"We've always been on the same track," Price said. "That's the way it's been our whole life.
"We went to the same college. We both came back to Merced. Seth teaches history at Atwater and I teach history at Golden Valley.
"We knew this would happen for years."
Medefind was Price's best man in his wedding three months ago.
"This game is kind of like the last one. I just want to get it over with," Price said.
"I want the best for him. It's hard to look over at him if we're rejoicing."
GV currently sits second in the CCC at 6-3 and Atwater is 5-4.
The game is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.
* * *
WHO SAYS you can't have fun while you play?
The pressure of the Central California Conference golf tournament didn't get to Buhach Colony's Kibby Stahl or Atwater's Jennifer Rodacy.
The two unveiled their Borat impersonations during the back nine at the Pheasant Run Colf Course on Monday.
It was dueling Borats -- a character made famous by actor Sacha Baron Cohen.
"Maybe that was the competition really at hand," Buhach coach Steve Abrams said. "I don't know if the other girls liked it.
"Maybe that was Buhach and Atwater teaming up to beat you with their Borat."
Imagine Tiger Woods adopting the same strategy.
It's safe to say we won't hear a "Wa-wa-wee-wa!" from Tiger anytime soon.
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.