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Bulldogs finally win
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Ceres High varsity football coach Bret Durossette grinned while backpedaling. He unsuccessfully avoided a postgame ambush from several players.

Durossette was doused with water after the Bulldogs ended their 2005 campaign with a 21-6 victory over Downey Wednesday night at Chuck Hughes Stadium.

“I'm happy to finish on a win,” Durossette said. “These kids have been trying hard all year long.”

Added Ceres senior tailback/defensive back Dingko Luangchai: “Finally!”

The Bulldogs (2-8) had reason to celebrate. Ceres secured a fifth-place finish in the Modesto Metro Conference standings at 1-4. The Knights failed to win a league game.

“We told them this week, ‘You'll remember this last game, win or lose,'” Durossette said.

Added Ceres senior linebacker Luis Malagon: “Everybody was hyped up for this game. We had to win. We didn't want to finish last.”

Said Luangchai: “The last game is the one to remember.”

Ceres fell behind 6-0 midway through the first quarter. Downey defensive lineman Eliut Cortez recovered a fumble at the Knights' 35-yard line. Corey Turner capped the eight-play drive with a 1-yard run. Blake Smith missed the point-after kick.

The Bulldogs responded on their subsequent possession, marching 66 yards in 13 plays. Ceres' offensive line paved the way for Byron Clark, Dingko Luangchai, Ross Tate and Jake Keidel to rush for a combined 59 yards on 12 carries. Tight end Jake Loveland caught a 7-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Tate 50 seconds into the second quarter. Daniel Munoz made the point-after kick.

Ceres opened the third quarter with an impressive nine-play, 56-yard scoring drive. The Bulldogs scored on a trick play. Tate caught the Knights offguard when he lined up at receiver as the play clock ran down. Tate beat two defenders en route to catching a 24-yard TD pass from Keidel. Keidel accounted for 30 of the 41 rushing yards on the drive. Luangchai and Clark had eight and three yards, respectively.

Downey's subsequent drive ended with a turnover. Luangchai intercepted Tim Miller's pass with 4:12 remaining in the third quarter.

Miller's second interception, which was thrown to Armando Valencia near midfield on third down, led to the Bulldogs' second score.

Ceres extended its lead to 14 on Luangchai's 2-yard run with 11:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs marched 50 yards in eight plays. The drive featured six runs and two passes. Luangchai, Keidel and Clark ran for 16, six and three yards, respectively. Tate completed passes of 12 and seven yards to Valencia and Keidel, respectively.

Downey's final two possessions ended with a stop and turnover.

The Knights turned the ball over on downs at the Ceres 35 with 5:50 remaining. Malagon tackled Mark Newman near the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-3.

The Bulldogs recovered a fumble at the Ceres 23 with less than two minutes left.

“Offensively, we didn't make a lot of mistakes,” Durossette said. “We had one turnover. Defensively, they'd go 1-2-3 and out.”

Said Luangchai: “Our offensive line stepped up.”

Ceres generated 244 yards of offense.

Tate completed 7-of-13 passes for 32 yards and one touchdown.

The Bulldogs totaled 188 yards rushing on 46 carries. Keidel, Clark, Luangchai and Tate had 51, 49, 46 and 42 yards, respectively.

Ceres' defense limited Downey's offense to 191 yards, including 20 passing on one completion and 171 rushing on 32 carries. The Knights punted four times. The Bulldogs also forced three turnovers.

Durossette addressed his job status before departing for Ceres High School with his coaching staff and team.

“I plan on coming back next year,” Durossette said. “But in life, things can change. I'm working on my administrative credential.”

He wants to become a vice principal in the future. A career change will enable Durossette to spend more time with his family, including his wife, two sons and daughter. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier