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Competitive contest
The members of the Ceres Raptors varsity youth football team showed no excitement before the start of Saturday's season opener with the Modesto Jets.

They were just following orders.

"We only have 12 players," Ceres coach Spencer Sumter said. "I wanted them to save their energy."

The Raptors kept the game close before surrendering three touchdowns after intermission en route to a 19-0 loss to the Jets at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High School.

"I'm perfectly happy with everything they did," Sumter said. "They fought hard for all four quarters. We just needed to be more aggressive on defense."

Ceres' two best scoring chances came in the opening half.

The Raptors had a time-consuming drive end with a turnover in Modesto territory in the first quarter.

Ceres running back Danny Arias nearly scored on a long touchdown run late in the second quarter. He took a handoff near midfield from Javier Riojas and was tackled inside the Jets' 15-yard line as time expired.

"We had opportunities to capitalize," Sumter said.

Ceres competed with just one substitute.

Riojas, Arias, Ever DelaTorre and Sean Ward shouldered the load on offense.

"We held our own," Sumter said. "That's amazing."

The Raptors will play host to the Modesto Raiders on Saturday at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High. The contest will begin at 4 p.m.

Ceres posted an 8-5 record and knocked off previously-unbeaten Modesto on its way to advancing to the National Youth Football League South Division title game last season. The Raptors were eliminated following their gut-wrenching 13-12 loss to the Modesto Jr. Eagles.

"We have the potential to win this year," Sumter said. "The talent's there."