By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
A Model of Consistency
The Ceres Cowboys youth football and cheer organization staged its first practice for the 2012 season on July 14 at Mae Hensley Jr. High School.

"Parents send their kids here because we have a dedicated group," said Madeline Patterson, seventh-year president. "We care about what we're doing. The coaches. The board. We want to influence in a positive way. The aspiration is to have the kids successful across the board. It's not just about football. They learn about teamwork."

The Cowboys signed up 135 football players and 59 cheerleaders, aged 6-14, for the 2012 season.

Ceres offered free registration for families in need. "We never turn anyone away because they can't pay," Patterson said. "We fundraise more and get people to donate money more. We care about these kids."

The Cowboys' head coaches for football are Shane Trousdale (varsity), John Thompson (junior varsity), Mark Taylor (novice) and Travis Taylor (junior novice).

Practices run Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m.

Ceres will open the Delta Youth Football League season on the road against the Chavez Jr. Titans this Sunday. Varsity, JV, novice and junior novice will compete at 3 p.m., 1 p.m., 11 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively, in Stockton.

The Cowboys will also challenge the Modesto-Empire Eagles, Manteca Chargers, Delta Rebels, South-Stockton Vikings, North-West Trojans, Tracy Jr. Bulldogs, Tracy Cougars, Dublin Fighting Irish and Hayward Monarchs this year.

Previously named Chargers, Ceres' first youth football and cheer organization changed its mascot when it joined the DYFL in 1976.

Patterson started volunteering for the Cowboys in the 1990s. Her two sons James and Michael are former football players. Her daughter Stephanie was a cheerleader. Her husband Jim was a longtime coach with the organization. Madeline was named president in 2006.

"I've always been involved one way or another," she said. "I want the best for these kids. The key is to keep them involved. My ultimate goal is for these kids to be a part of the high-school program."