High School Football

Notebook: Big Valley Christian battles weather in loss; CV’s Gardner drafted by XFL

Big Valley Christian may have had to travel over three hours to play at South Lake Tahoe last Friday, but Lions (4-4) coach Brian Berkefeld said fans packed the visitors stands.

He said his players handled the 30-degree temperatures and the effects of altitude, the latter of which coaches didn’t mention to the team.

Despite a 40-34 loss, Berkefeld said at Monday’s Quarterback Club he was happy with the way his team battled back from a 20-3 halftime deficit.

The Lions host Brookside Christian at 7 p.m. on Friday and the Lions can clinch a share of Central California Athletic Alliance league title with a win.

Central Catholic alum named Player of the Week: In a 56-27 victory over UNLV last Friday, Fresno State junior linebacker Justin Rice had 10 tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Rice, a Central Catholic alum, was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. It’s the first collegiate career honor for Rice.

Rice leads the conference with two fumble recoveries and is second with 60 tackles.

Former Central Valley star taken in XFL draft: Former Central Valley running back Ja’Quan Gardner was drafted by the Seattle Dragons in the XFL Draft last Wednesday.

The XFL had a single season in 2001 before folding and is planning to start sometime in 2020.

Gardner played with the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football (AAF) earlier this year and had 311 rushing yards and three touchdowns before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

The AAF abruptly ended its season in early April.

Beyer honors athletes: Beyer brought five athletes to the meeting on Monday and coach Greg Bockman said all represent the heart and soul of the program.

The five athletes were: Senior offensive lineman Raul Garcia, senior offensive lineman Justin George, senior lineman Jalen Munoz, senior running back and linebacker Sean Perkins, and senior lineman Alejandro Ramirez.

Bockman said 74% of the team had a GPA of 3.0 or higher after the first academic quarter ended.

Downey will bring its athletes next week.

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.
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