Rey Vega, the city of Modesto's most prolific runner the last two seasons, is ready for his debut at Central Catholic High.
Vega a 5-foot-9, 185-pounder who ran for 3,500 yards and 42 TDs in two years at Davis sat out the first six weeks of the season after his transfer.
Central was 4-2 while Vega watched from the sideline that included a 35-14 win over then-No. 1 small school Los Banos and the Raiders host upstart Pacheco (4-2) on Friday.
Vega is expected to get carries at halfback, but he'll handle many other roles, as well.
"It's about competition, and Rey will have to compete to get his plays," Central assistant coach Myron Larson said. "He will get carries, but he'll also spend some time at fullback."
That's because Blake Escobar, the Raiders' hulking 6-1, 215-pounder who started the fall at fullback, is now on the offensive line due to injuries.
"We lost probably our best lineman in David Henriques a few weeks ago, and then we lost another," Larson said.
Vega could make his initial impact on defense. He'll likely be on the line at noseguard and end, and Larson also sees Vega back in the secondary.
"He'll contribute in a number of ways, and he'll make us a better run team," said Larson, whose club leans on Ray Lomas (921 yards, 8.5 yards a carry, 13 TDs). "Ray (Lomas) is an ankle-breaker. Right at you, then he goes sideways to get away. He'll also run over people if they're in his way."
Injuries have taken the roster to two dozen players with four games left in the regular season, so Vega's arrival is going to create valuable depth.
Central's next four foes are .500 or better and another victory clinches a playoff berth. The Raiders are Division 4 in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and a title would qualify them to play in the inaugural Northern California D4 final.
Central closes with Livingston (3-3), Central Valley (4-2) and Patterson (4-2) and CV will be the only home game.
CalHiSports ranks Central No. 1 in the NorCal D4 poll and considers it a prohibitive favorite to reach the regional game if its wins a section title. Only champions can advance to the regional games.
Vega's had a regular role in the pre-game coin toss, walking to midfield with the Raiders' captains.
"He's been great, doing everything we do," Central head coach Roger Canepa said. "We're excited to get him out here. He's excited to get playing, too."