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Ceres High ends 15-game football losing streak
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The members of Ceres High's varsity football team returned home from Stockton late Friday night. The mood in the locker room was upbeat. Head coach Brett Johnson hugged several of his players, including an emotional Johnny Clark.

A little over an hour earlier, the Bulldogs ended a 15-game losing streak with a 21-6 win over Weston Ranch.

"I'm just really happy for the guys because they've worked so hard," Johnson said.

Ceres High finished 0-10 in 2007 and dropped their first five contests this year.

The Bulldogs' last victory came during the 2006-07 school year when they beat Central Valley 20-7 in first annual Ceres Classic game.

"I've never had a feeling like this before as a varsity player," said Rajdeep Singh, a second-year member. "It couldn't have come at a better time. Hopefully, we start a new streak. That's winning."

Junior quarterback Josh Edwards threw for 247 yards and one touchdown for third-place Ceres High, which improved to 1-2 in the Valley Oak League.

Junior receiver Justin Canatsy caught six passes for 146 yards and one TD.

Singh rushed for 58 yards and a score on 16 carries.

Martino Bertolotti totaled 44 yards and a touchdown.

Daniel Watts, Justin Grider, Justin Hidahl, Albert Melendez, Danny Martinez and Jesse Gutierrez provided the blocking.

"Everybody stepped up," Johnson said. "I couldn't be more proud."

Added Singh: "I'm not surprised. I knew we were going to dominate the line of scrimmage."

Hidahl and Martin Castro both had an interception.

"Our defense played amazing," Johnson said. "Brandon Jolley did a great job playing middle linebacker."

Jolley filled in for standout Hadon Lopez. The sophomore suffered a shoulder injury against Oakdale the previous week. Marcus Hilgen (shoulder) and Brendon Verdugo (knee) also missed the game.

The Bulldogs took an 8-0 lead in the second quarter on Singh's 1-yard run and Bertolotti's 2-point conversion.

The Cougars cut the deficit to 8-6 in the third quarter when Angel Mayfield hauled in a 35-yard pass from Michael Piccirilli.

Ceres High responded with 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to spoil Weston Ranch's homecoming.

Canatsy had a 71-yard TD reception and Bertolotti added a 1-yard rushing score.

"We finally played a complete game," Singh said. "That's why we won."

An unsuspecting Johnson was drenched with water by several players with 8 seconds remaining in the game.

"To turn around and see the joy on all of their faces was awesome," a choked-up Johnson said. "They deserve the taste of victory. They've shown they can play with anybody."

Singh and Co. were greeted by family and friends after collecting the much-needed victory.

"We had a pretty big crowd for an away game," Singh said. "Everyone was on the field celebrating with us. It was pretty awesome."

Ceres High will play host to the second-place Manteca Buffaloes (5-1, 2-1 VOL) on Friday at Bulldog Stadium. The contest will begin at 7 p.m.

Another win for freshmen

Ceres High freshman assistant football coach Donnie Donaldson was doused with a bucket of ice water after the Bulldogs defeated previously unbeaten Oakdale on the road during the second week of the Valley Oak League season on Oct. 9.

Head coach Bill Curlis received the same treatment following Ceres' 55-0 shutout of last-place Weston Ranch Thursday night at Bulldog Stadium.

"They didn't do it in Oakdale because I was talking on the phone," he said.

The win kept Ceres atop the VOL standings at 3-0. The Bulldogs improved to 4-2 overall.

"Everybody works hard," all-purpose player Bryson Waring said. "Everyone gets along. We're having fun."

Waring led the Bulldogs with five touchdowns, including two passing, two rushing and one on special teams. He also had a pick on defense.

"This is probably the best game I've ever had," Waring said. "But it was a team effort. Not just me."

Ceres High built a commanding 34-0 lead in the opening half.

Nick Welsh returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown, Ivan Raya caught a 4-yard TD pass from Waring and Jr. Moniz ran back a pick 60 yards in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Bryson tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jr. and raced 20 yards for a score.

"We scored twice right off the back and it snowballed them," Curlis said.

Waring returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and scored on a 15-yard run, and Zach Naylor added a 12-yard rushing TD in the third quarter.

Facing an insurmountable deficit, Weston Ranch's coach asked the officials to use a running clock in the fourth quarter.

"My goal for today was the shutout," Curlis said. "We've been close before. We should have had one against Sonora and Oakdale."

The Bulldogs' final four games are against Manteca, Sierra, East Union and Central Valley.

"Ceres High is back," Waring said. "This is a new era. We want to be VOL champs. That's what we're working for."

Added Curlis: "The kids should be excited."

The Bulldogs will play against the second-place Buffaloes (2-1) this Thursday at Gus Schmiedt Field.

Hawks notch first VOL win

Central Valley High School's freshman football team got back on the winning track last week.

The Hawks ended a two-game losing streak with a 19-0 win against previously unbeaten Sierra on Thursday in Manteca.

"This is probably the best game we've had all year on both sides of the ball," Central Valley head coach Tim Garcia Sr. "The kids were focused and disciplined. They didn't make too many mistakes."

Central Valley improved to 3-2 on the season, including 1-2 in the VOL. The Timberwolves dropped to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

Hawk quarterback Mark Santos completed five of seven passes for 75 yards.

Central Valley running backs Josh Claudio, Sterling Shaw and Greg Tripp totaled 165 yards and three touchdowns.

"We opened our offense and the kids made plays," Garcia said.

The Hawks led 6-0 at intermission as Claudio scored on a 30-yard run.

"We came out fired up," Garcia said. "Guys were tackling hard. Everybody was doing their job."

Central Valley outscored Sierra 13-0 in the second half.

Shaw raced 25 yards for a score and Ben Magana converted the extra-point kick in the third quarter.

Tripp added a 15-yard rushing TD in the fourth quarter.

The upset win served as a huge confidence booster for Garcia's team. The Hawks have four games left on their VOL schedule.

"It's going to motivate these kids to run the table," he said.