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Cowboys win nail-biter
All-purpose player Angelo Bermudez willed the Ceres Cowboys varsity youth football team past the Ceres Seahawks, 22-14, in the First Annual Ceres City Championship Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.

"It's one of the best games I've been a part of," he said. "I had the time of my life."

Bermudez accounted for 142 of the Cowboys' 244 rushing yards and two of his team's three touchdowns.

Eddie Love ran for 76 yards and one score on six carries.

Travis Love carried the ball seven times for 29 yards.

Fidel Gaitan, Eric Perez, Terrel Sadler, Moses Mondragon and Andre Torres provided the blocking.

"We couldn't do nothing without our line," Bermudez said.

Ja'Quan Gardner, the Seahawks' multi-talented player, rushed for 140 yards and one touchdown and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score. He had a 26-yard rushing TD negated in the fourth quarter by a questionable blocking penalty.

Teammates Pedro Arreola, Julian Garcia and Gabriel Solis added 34, 28 and 20 yards, respectively, on the ground.

"It's frustrating," Gardner said. "I thought we were going to win. The penalties and a few calls killed us."

"I knew it was going to be a close game," Seahawks head coach Joe Borba said. "They were more physical. They earned the victory. They were the better team today."

The Cowboys stormed to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter as Bermudez scored on runs of 34 and 52 yards. Gaitan converted the point-after kicks.

The Seahawks cut the deficit to 16-8 on Gardner's 9-yard rushing TD and Solis' PAT with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter. The Cowboys allowed the score after losing a fumble deep in their own territory.

"He (Angelo) set the whole tone in the first half," Trousdale said. "He's our best back and secondary leader."

Eddie Love's 29-yard TD scamper increased the Cowboys' lead to 14 at the 2:21 mark of the fourth quarter.

With his team trailing 22-8, Gardner fielded the ensuing kickoff and raced 85 yards for a score to make it an eight-point contest.

"He's definitely the quickest back I've seen all year," Trousdale said.

The Seahawks' potential, game-winning possession ended with a turnover on downs at the 50-yard line with 5 seconds to play. The Cowboys made the critical stop after being forced to punt.

"I was very nervous," Bermudez said. "I knew it was going to be a close game. It could have gone to overtime."

"We were expecting to come out on top," Trousdale said. "The kids wanted it. It was a nail-biter."

Bermudez and his teammates were all smiles during the Ceres City Youth Football Championship trophy presentation.

"The kids are happy," Trousdale said. "That emotional high will carry them the rest of the school year."

"If both organizations stay on the same page, this will be a game we'll be playing for years," Borba said. "I just hope it continues and doesn't fade away like the Bulldog Bowl."

The Cowboys and Seahawks compiled 6-6 and 5-6 records, respectively, this season.