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Cowboys challenge Bulldogs
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The Ceres Cowboys novice youth football team faced a familiar opponent in the first round of the DYFL playoffs.

Third-seeded Ceres lost 40-20 to No. 2 Tracy on Sunday, Nov. 13 at Tracy High School.

The Bulldogs won the first meeting, 31-13, on Sept. 10.

"Give them credit," Cowboys head coach Orlando Leon said. "They have a good program. We could have beat them. We needed to play a close-to-perfect game."

Tracy improved to 9-2.

Ceres dropped to 6-4.

The Cowboys will battle for the Ceres City Championship when they face the Seahawks on Saturday at Ceres High. The Seahawks (11-1) won the Cen-Cal AFC regular season crown and fell one win shy of advancing to the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys struggled at the DYFL round-robin scrimmage at the beginning of the season. Ceres lost 40-0 to the North Stockton Bengals during Week 1. The Cowboys posted two comeback wins this year, rallying from 20-plus-point deficits.

"We overachieved this year," Leon said. "We improved a ton."

Orlando Leon Jr. tossed two touchdown passes to Angelo Marino last week.

Marino also scored on a reverse run.

The Cowboys trailed 30-14 at intermission.

Marino hauled in a 45-yard TD pass from Leon and raced 50 yards for a score.

Ceres appeared to cut the deficit to 30-20 early in the third quarter when Marino scored on a 70-yard run. The touchdown was negated as the Cowboys were flagged for a questionable clipping penalty. "I watched the video," coach Leon said. "The officials made the wrong call. He made a clean block."

Leon and Marino combined for a 60-yard scoring play in the second half.

"We were definitely in it," coach Leon said. "We did as much as we could."