MERCED -- Don't expect the chip to come off the collective shoulders of the Atwater football team anytime soon.
The Falcons don't feel like they're getting the respect they deserve. When people talk about the favorites in the Central California Conference they feel they're getting overlooked.
If Atwater continues to collect wins its going to be hard to overlook.
The Falcons opened CCC play with a decisive 28-6 win over Golden Valley on Friday night at Veterans Stadium.
"We're fighting for respect," said Atwater linebacker Cory Maxwell. "Even if we start getting respect, we're not going to stop until we get everybody's respect."
The Falcons (1-0 CCC, 5-1 overall) racked up 437 yards of total offense. Seven different players ran the ball for a total of 276 yards. The Falcons added 161 yards through the air with, three different players throwing for touchdowns.
"Passing is something we're going to have to be able to do," Atwater head coach Bob Valladao said. "We love to run the ball, but we've got to be able to run some play-action and run our quick passing game."
The Falcons jumped on the Cougars (0-1, 3-3) early with two quick touchdowns in the first quarter.
Atwater quarterback Nathan Duran found Andre Rudolph for a 22-yard scoring strike. The Falcons used a trick play on their next possession with running back Shane Lambert tossing a 23-yard TD pass to Dallas Hoofard.
The Cougars had opportunities early, driving inside the Atwater 10 twice in the first quarter only to fumble at the 3 and turn the ball over on downs at the 6.
The Cougars' chances weren't helped when they lost running back Rashawn Vance for the night to an ankle injury on their first possession.
"Obviously, that's a lot of our yards, but we had opportunities," Golden Valley coach Dennis Stubbs said.
The Cougars moved the ball through the air, as Ridge Bertuccio completed 19 of 36 passes for 225 yards. Andre Bodiker caught 12 passes for 121 yards and a TD.
Atwater can earn some respect next week when Pitman comes to town.