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Cowboys, Falcons renew rivalry
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It's official. History will be made at Ceres High School on Dec. 11.

Members of the Ceres Cowboys and Falcons varsity, junior-varsity, novice and junior-novice football teams will battle for bragging rights in the Bulldog Bowl. The two youth football programs will renew a once fiery rivalry that has been dormant for five years.

“I've talked to (Ceres High athletic director) Phil de la Porte and have already secured the field,” Cowboys president Reg Evans said. “The high schools are going to split it (proceeds).”

Added Falcons junior-novice coach Dave Loveland: “The kids seem a lot more excited than everybody else. A lot of them cross paths at school.”

The Dawg Bowl used to be an annual event. The Cowboys and Falcons played every year from 1996-1999.

“I'm happy,” Falcons president Russ Alcorn said. “Our whole organization is excited. It's something that they liked doing. The old league didn't allow it. We wanted to continue the tradition.”

The Falcons ended their 10-year marriage with the Trans Valley Youth Football League in November 2004. They joined the National Youth Football League, which permits non-conference scrimmages and contests, and competitive cheerleading. The NYFL also fields teams at four levels instead of three like the TVYFL.


The varsity Cowboys didn't win a single game in 2004. This year's squad went 7-4, tied for third in the Delta Youth Football League standings at 4-3 and secured a berth in the playoffs. Joshua Bowers, Joseph Davis, Chris Green, Hadon Lopez, Anthony Datu, Tyler Amador, Frankie Morfin, Alex Rodriguez, Alex Sanchez and Michael Patterson led the way.

Cowboys coach Jim Patterson said he's looking forward to Sunday's game.

“I'm glad it's happening,” he said. “I never understood why they stopped. It's good for the school. It's good for the community. It's a friendly rivalry. There's no animosity between the kids.”

The varsity Falcons compiled a 4-5 overall record, placed fifth in league at 4-4 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Alex Casas, Jonovan Solorio, Eric Eisenbeis, Michael Huff, Marcus Vasquez, Jake Hart and Nick Mead led the way.

“If our team plays like it did in the last playoff game, we should do good,” Falcons coach Jeff Kimura said. “It's going to be fun. This is something everyone has been looking forward to. It should draw a pretty big crowd.”

Junior Varsity

The JV Falcons won the NYFL Super Bowl title and finished the season with a perfect 10-0 record. Vince Lopez, Eric Velasquez, Jesse Hatfield, Matthew Avila, Jeremy Cagle, Marquese Gillespie and Nicholas Serratos led the way.

Lopez, the league's most valuable player, racked up 2,086 all-purpose yards and 24 touchdowns. Eric Velasquez, the defensive player of the year, had 30 tackles, eight sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

“It's going to be a hard-hitting game,” Falcons coach Randy Flanagan said. “Hopefully, we come out on top.”

Five of Flanagan's players used to play for the Cowboys, including Lopez, Cagle, Sterling Shaw, George Borden and Joseph Perez.

“We're not going to have to motivate these kids to play this game,” Falcons assistant coach Joe Borba said.

The JV Cowboys had just as much talent if not more than every team in the DYFL but underachieved this year. They placed fifth in league with a 3-4 record. The top four teams advanced to the playoffs. The Cowboys won their final three games. Brent Ward, Estevan Flores, Adrian Garcia, Alonzo Lacy, Dominick Walker, Michael Luzinski, Patrick Padilla, Bobby Haworth, Michael Welch, Joey Montebaiz and Dayjohn Sallie led the way.

“We should matchup pretty well,” said Evans, assistant coach for the Cowboys. “We got some athletes. They got some athletes. I think it's going to be very competitive.”

Added Borba: “I'm really convinced it's going to be an awesome game. I can't wait. It will be fun. If we can get up on them early, I think we'll control the game.”

The Falcons never trailed in any of their games.

The Cowboys never mounted any comebacks.

“I don't know how our kids would react if they were down by eight or 12 points,” Borba said. “I'm concerned.”


The novice Falcons compiled a 6-5 overall record, finished fourth in league at 5-4 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Nick Welsh, Anthony Robbins, Damien Underwood, Devon Ruger and Jake Hiller led the way. Welsh earned the team's MVP award. He plays quarterback and safety.

“I'm not a predictor,” Falcons coach Allen Ruger said. “Lets look at the scorebook after the game. I think we're pretty evenly matched. It should be a lot of fun.”

The novice Cowboys went 5-5 overall and finished in sixth place in the DYFL standings at 2-5. Zachary Naylor-Trousdale, Devon Gradford, Nate Bowers, Johnny Perry, A.J. Evans, George Arroyo, Gabriel Balderas and Nathan Loya led the way.

“We should win but anything can happen,” Cowboys coach Erik Payne said. “It all depends on the kids and how they want to play. I don't think they (Falcons) have nearly the speed I have. Everyone on my offense and defense is quick. It's going to be a real fast game.”

Junior Novice

The junior-novice Cowboys went 7-2-1 and tied for second in the DYFL standings. Kendel Johnson, Quentin Hernandez, Andrew Loya, Richie Herrera, Travis Cook, Anthony Harrison, Tyler May, Terrell Sadler and Christian Snyder were major contributors. Johnson had 18 rushing touchdowns.

“This will be the first time they play a competitive game, where we're keeping official score and the whole bit,” Cowboys coach Tim May said. “It should be fun.”

The junior-novice Falcons went 1-9, finished seventh in league (1-8) and participated in the playoffs. All 40 of coach Loveland's players contributed with Daniel Velasquez, Ramon Corral, Alex Centeno, Triston Partida and George Robbins leading the way.

“We survived and they got better,” he said.

Loveland has faith in his team.

“I think we'll do fine to be honest with you,” he said. “We'll give them a run. It will be fun.”

The junior-novice, novice, junior-varsity and varsity games will be held at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Ceres High coaches will officiate.

“Hopefully, we can get a couple thousand people out there,” Reg Evans said. “Ultimately, it's a community thing because it's raising money for both of these high schools. It's kind of cool that it's going to actually happen. Everyone's excited.”

Victors will be rewarded by Turlock's Legends Sports Photography.

“The winners get to hold onto trophies until the next Dawg Bowl,” Evans said. “It's kind of like the Stanley Cup.”- By DALE BUTLER /Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier