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Ceres Cowboys, Seahawks & Jr. Bulldogs youth football gearing up
Eight-year-old Sami Sharma hauls in a pass from Zocario Munoz (8) at the Ceres Jr. Bulldogs Youth Football & Cheer Organization Camp July 19 at Smyrna Park. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

The members of Ceres' three youth football and cheer organizations started preparing for the 2013 season.

The Cowboys, Seahawks and Jr. Bulldogs staged their first practices on July 20, July 29 and July 22, respectively.

"I wish the Jr. Bulldogs and Seahawks all the best," Cowboys President John Boston said. "I hope they have good seasons, too."

The Ceres Cowboys attracted 175 football players and 75 cheerleaders, aged 6-14, for their 33rd season of competition.

"This being my first year as president, I'm 100 percent new to this," said Boston, who replaced seven-year leader Madeline Patterson. "It's an eye-opener. It's a lot of work. I was nominated to do it. The reason I accepted it was for the kids. We impact kids' lives."

Jim Patterson (varsity), John Thompson (junior varsity), Shane Trousdale (novice) and Mario Orozco (junior novice) will fill head football coach positions.

Practices run Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m., at Mae Hensley Jr. High.

The Cowboys open the season against the Stockton Yellowjackets on Sept. 1 at Central Valley High School.
Ceres will also compete against the Manteca Chargers, Dublin Fighting Irish, Hayward Monarchs, Delta Rebels, Tracy Cougars, Modesto Vikings, Tracy Bulldogs, Patterson Grizzlies and North-Delta Patriots.

"We're really pushing to be a family-orientated organization," Boston said. "We want parents to get involved and care about what their kids are doing. We're headed in the right direction."

More than 200 boys and girls ranging in age from 7-14 signed up for the seventh-year Ceres Seahawks, including 140 football players and 70 cheerleaders.

The Seahawks have a new president.

Willie Solorio, leader of the disbanded Ceres Falcons in 2005, replaced Javier Fregoso.

Solorio was voted in during a January meeting.

"Javier decided to take some time off," Willie said. "I'm going to build on what he started. I'm here to make sure everything goes fine for them. We don't need any major changes."

Practices are held Monday through Friday, from 6-8 p.m., at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High.

Ceres' football coaches are Joe Borba (varsity), Randy Flanagan (junior varsity), Eric Beffa (pee wee) and Junior Schaefer (rookie).

"We'd like to win a Super Bowl," Solorio said. "I think we have a good chance at two levels (junior varsity and pee wee)."

The Seahawks are members of the Cen-Cal Junior Football League.

Ceres will play host to the Turlock 49ers during Week 1 on Aug. 24 at Central Valley High School.

The Seahawks will hold football clinics July 20 and 27 at Blaker-Kinser.

Cost is $25.

"We're family-orientated," Solorio said. "We allow people to get involved. I looked forward to working with the parents. When you treat your general membership right, the sky is the limit."

The Jr. Bulldogs registered 100 football players and 30 cheerleaders, aged 6-14, for their inaugural season.

"Our goal is to keep the local kids here in Ceres," said Joe Estrada, athletic director/varsity football head coach. "We don't want them to leave to other places. We're also teaching the kids the proper way of playing football. We're trying to get them ready for high school. We're here to stay. We're not going to fold anytime soon."

Jesus Montes (junior varsity), Travis Taylor (starters) and Ricky Valenzuela (rookies) will be head coaches of Ceres' lower-level football teams.

Teams train five days a week, from 6-8 p.m., at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.

All of Ceres' home games will be played at Chavez.

"A lot of parents don't like football because of the contact and aggressiveness," Estrada said. "Safety is the No. 1 thing for me. We'll be strict with tackling. There won't be spearing. The coaches will not degrade and scream at the kids. We definitely want to be role models."

The Jr. Bulldogs joined the Bay Valley Gridiron United Youth Football and Cheer Conference.