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Cereans lead Raiders to section crown
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The Central Catholic football team won its fourth straight section title--seventh in eight years--by beating Le Grand 50-6 in Modesto Friday night.

When the game ended, fans flooded the field to congratulate the Division V champs. Following a postgame speech and prayer, players raised their index fingers and smiled as they posed for pictures under the scoreboard at their home stadium on Carpenter Road.

A host of Cereans celebrated.

Thirteen of Central's 50 players are from Ceres, including Austin Sanford, Blaker Trinkler, Jared Lomeli, James Patterson, Jacob Orth, Wade Hurst, Mikial Martinez, Michael Varni, Anthony Karlegan, Joe Guitron, Robert Sylvester, Adrian Garcia and J.J. Flores.

Sanford (quarterback), Trinkler (tight end, linebacker), Lomeli (offensive line, linebacker), Patterson (offensive line, defensive line) and Orth (defensive line) were major contributors.

"It was a lot more fun this year because I was on the field more," said Lomeli, a two-way starter. "I did more to help win the championship."

Lomeli said he felt relieved after the final seconds ticked off the clock. Le Grand would have ended Central's 48-game unbeaten streak and prevented the Raiders from claiming their 12th section title in school history with a victory.

"That would have sucked," Lomeli said.

With the win, finished the year with a 13-0 record.

Sanford passed for 145 yards and three touchdowns against Le Grand. The senior also had one rushing score.

Trinkler had two catches for 29 yards and one touchdown. The junior scored from 12 yards out on a shovel pass. On defense, he had seven tackles and one fumble recovery.

Lomeli had five tackles and one fumble recovery

Patterson and Orth each had four tackles.

Central's rushing attack gained 327 yards on 34 carries and scored three touchdowns behind Lomeli, Patterson and Orth's stellar blocking.

The Raiders rolled through the postseason, outscoring their opponents, 206-18.

Sanford completed 26 of 37 passes for 443 yards and nine touchdowns. He threw just three interceptions. Sanford also had two rushing touchdowns.

Trinkler caught eight passes for 179 yards and scored five touchdowns. He also had 13 tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery.

Trinkler had 41 catches for 808 yards and scored 12 touchdowns this season. He had 55 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions.

In 2003, Trinkler played sparingly on offense as the majority of passes were thrown to upperclassmen Clint Haglund and Ryan Kuhn. He had five catches for 72 yards and a score.

Trinkler registered 53 tackles as a starter on defense.

Lomeli had nine tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery in the playoffs. This season, he had 57 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

In 2003, Lomeli totaled 17 tackles, one sack and one interception.

Patterson made 10 tackles in the playoffs to push his season total to 45. He also had four sacks.

Orth made nine tackles in the playoffs to push his season total to 47. He had two sacks.

This spring, Lomeli, Trinkler and Sanford will try to lead Central's baseball program to its sixth consecutive section championship.

If the Raiders accomplish that feat, Lomeli will conclude his high-school career as a seven-time section champion. He'll have won three titles in football and four in baseball.

Lomeli plays second base and pitches. Trinkler plays shortstop. Sanford is an outfielder and pitcher. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier