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Ceres High no match for Oakdale on gridiron
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Faced with the daunting task of playing against Oakdale, the Ceres High varsity football team contributed to its own demise.

The Mustangs scored twice off turnovers in building a 36-point first-half lead and coasted to a 49-12 victory over the Bulldogs Friday night at the Corral.

Oakdale, the No. 3 team in the Division III football poll, didn't disappoint its homecoming crowd.

"Everything that could go wrong did," Ceres coach Brett Johnson said. "It all just snowballed. At halftime, we regrouped and put together a decent second half. With a young team that we have, we just want to get better."

Ceres fell to 0-5 on the year, including 0-2 in the Valley Oak League.

Oakdale improved to 4-1 overall, 2-0 in conference play.

"I told the kids you always want to play against quality teams," Johnson said. "It's a great learning experience."

The Mustangs limited the Bulldogs to nine first downs and 92 yards on offense.

"It was 21-0 before we could do anything," Johnson said.

Ceres' Zack Atchison carried the ball 12 times for a team-high 37 yards.

Devin Eudy gained 15 yards on three carries.

Backup quarterback Johnny Clark completed 2 of 14 passes for 16 yards.

Martino Bertolotti and Aaron Salazar had receptions of 10 and six yards, respectively.

Atchison started at quarterback. He was replaced after fumbling three snaps.

"We wanted to try something different and get the best combination out there," Johnson said.

Clark set up Ceres' first touchdown when he recovered a fumble at the Oakdale 2-yard line in the second quarter. Matt Smith scored on a 1-yard run.

Clark added a 1-yard rushing TD in the fourth quarter.

Ceres had a host of contributors on defense.

Marcus Hilgen led the Bulldogs with 12 tackles.

Michael Stagss had six tackles and one sack.

Clark tallied three tackles and recovered a fumble.

Justin Hidahl added eight tackles.

Johnson said he was pleased with his team's effort despite the lopsided result.

"They played as hard as they could until the end of the game," he said. "I'm proud of that."

Hadon Lopez, Ceres High's star middle linebacker, didn't log a single minute against Oakdale.

The 5-foot-8, 165-pound freshman suffered a season-ending injury in Week 4 against Manteca. He's scheduled to have surgery on his right pinkie.

"It's a huge bummer," Johnson said. "He was averaging 121/2 tackles game."

The Bulldogs will play host to the Weston Ranch Cougars (2-3, 0-2) tomorrow at 7 p.m.