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Ceres forfeits season
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Injuries and equipment issues left the Ceres Saints varsity youth football team with just 10 players five minutes into the second quarter of its season opener on Saturday at Central Valley High School.

Unable to compete due to a lack of numbers, officials awarded the visiting Lathrop Steelers a forfeit victory.

The game was called after three Ceres players were sent off the field for not wearing hip and butt pads.

Two other players had already been knocked out of the contest with shoulder and rib injuries.

"We wanted to finish the game but we couldn't," head coach Anthony Villegas. "We're looking out for the kids' health."

The Saints faced a 22-0 deficit before being forced to throw in the towel.

Lathrop tallied a touchdown on its first possession as Kenneth Matela plowed his way into the end zone from the 1-yard line. The Steelers marched 80 yards on seven plays.

Ceres' first possession ended with an interception. Two plays later, Ashton Granado raced 31 yards to make it a 12-0 game.

The Saints also turned the ball over on their second possession. Lathrop's second play from scrimmage resulted in a 35-yard TD run (Matta).

Ceres' lone defensive highlight occured when Nicholas Santibanez intercepted a pass at the Saints' 1, preventing the Steelers from scoring another touchdown.

Moments later, Lathrop tackled a Ceres player in the end zone a safety.

The Steelers scored 14 points off turnovers and registered five sacks against the Saints.

Ceres had minus-24 yards of total offense.

"We're a young team," Villegas said. "We're going to have our ups and downs. I don't want nobody quitting on me."