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A new season for youth football
• Ceres Jr. Bulldogs will compete in different league this year
Dominic Delatorre
Dominic Delatorre, 10, and the Ceres Jr. Bulldogs Youth Football & Cheer Organization will open the 2019 season against the visiting Hollister Cowboys on Aug. 31. - photo by Dale Butler

The Ceres Jr. Bulldogs found a new home.

The seventh-year youth football and cheer program joined American Youth Football, an international organization that was founded in 1996.

The AYF promotes player safety to a high degree by providing HitCheck to all of its teams.

The smartphone app allows you to screen for signs of a concussion in minutes.

The test assesses an individual’s performance in the following nine key areas commonly affected by brain injuries: balance, reaction time, coordination, short-term memory, long-term memory, color recognition, impulse control, pattern recognition and problem solving.

“I’m excited we can have technology to keep our kids safe,” said Joe Estrada, president of the Jr. Bulldogs. “It’s no cost to the parents. The leagues provides it. They did it last year for the first time. It’s going to be in high schools sooner or later. They’re already using it in colleges.”

A total of 146 football players and 42 cheerleaders, aged 5-14, signed up for the Jr. Bulldogs’ 2019 campaign.

“Our enrollment has increased every year with more parent participation due to our low registration costs and no hidden fees,” he said. 

“We’re a family-based organization. It’s not just about football. That’s what separates us from all the other programs.”
Joe Estrada

“We’re a family-based organization,” Estrada added. “It’s not just about football. That’s what separates us from all the other programs.”

Ceres’ head coaches for football are Shaun Johnson (varsity), Richard Alderete (junior varsity), Alfred Garcia (rookies), Damian Flores (starts) and Augustin Cerpa (futures).

The Jr. Bulldogs’ leaders for cheer are La’Nisha Gaverrete (varsity/junior varsity), Rosalee Martinez (rookies), Ashley Beaman (starts) and Kristyn Hilterbrand (futures).

“All of our levels are fully competitive and officiated,” Estrada said.

Ceres will compete in the league’s NorCal Mountain Northwest Region.  

The Jr. Bulldogs’ regular-season schedule includes eight games.

Ceres will battle the Hollister Cowboys (Aug. 31), Sacramento Raiders (Sept. 7), North Highlands Seahawks (Sept. 14), South Sacramento Vikings (Sept. 21), Sac Panthers (Sept. 28), Central Valley Lions (Oct. 5), Merced Panthers (Oct. 12) and Mountain House Mustangs (Oct. 19).

“I’m happy where we’re at,” Estrada said while talking about the move from the Gridiron Youth Football & Cheer League to the AFL. “We voted on it as a board. The competition is going to be great. None of our teams are traveling to the Bay Area. The league made an exception.”