By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dawgs hand Panthers first loss
Placeholder Image
The atmosphere was electric. The stands were packed. The game was broadcast on ESPN Radio 970. And a cameraman recorded footage for the KCRA Blitz 3 weekly high-school football show.

The Bulldogs didn't disappoint. They erased a 7-point, halftime deficit with two scores in the second half, and held on for a 21-14 victory over the previously undefeated Panthers in the league opener for both teams.

"We were the better team tonight," said Ceres defensive coordinator Brett Johnson.

Ray Robles ran for 110 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, Derrick Goblirsch completed 21 of 39 passes for 192 yards and two scores, and Brian Borges and Daniel Smith each had an interception for Ceres, which improved to 1-0 in the Modesto Metro Conference, 3-3 overall.

The win snapped Modesto's five-game winning streak. The Panthers fell to 0-1 in the league standings, 5-1 overall.

"I don't consider it an upset at all," Robles said. "We were 100 percent confident we could win."

In the first half, Modesto racked up 179 yards of total offense, including 162 rushing.

Ceres' defense was suffocating in the second half as it held the Panthers' offense to just 37 total yards.

"We stepped it up big time," Robles said.

The Bulldogs scored 14 points off two turnovers in the third quarter.

Borges picked off Joey Estrada's errant pass at the Ceres 40 and returned it to the Modesto 29. Ceres scored on Goblirsch's 2-yard touchdown strike to Rafael Valencia.

Modesto turned the ball over on the ensuing series. Smith intercepted Estrada at midfield.

Then the Bulldogs went 49 yards in seven plays, with Goblirsch connecting with Cruz Flores for an 11-yard touchdown.

Modesto managed to gain just 36 yards on its final two possessions. The Panthers punted and were stopped on fourth-and-12.

Each team scored once in the first quarter.

Marcus McGill scored from 12 yards out to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs evened the score on Robles' 4-yard touchdown run, capping a six-play, 55-yard drive.

Modesto took a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter on James Williams' 1-yard run.

Ceres' offense gained 17 first downs and 306 total yards in the game. Adam Kent, Lonny Gerhart, A.J. Ball, Julio Quintana, Matt Merenda and Jason Winchester provided the blocking.

Flores hauled in nine passes for 79 yards.

Valencia caught eight passes for 77 yards.

Borges caught three passes for 29 yards.

Ceres had a host of contributors on defense.

Nick Eudy, Borges, Ryan Leazer, Taleni Uti, Smith, Luis Malagon, Daniel Munoz, Jake Loveland and James Gmachow ski helped limit the Panthers to 216 yards of offense.

Eudy had 10 tackles.

Borges and Leazer each had nine tackles.

Uti had eight tackles.

Malagon had seven tackles and one sack.

Smith had six tackles.

Munoz had four tackles and one sack.

Loveland and Gmachowski both had four tackles and half a sack.

"Defensively, we just shut them down," Johnson said.

Ceres will play against the Beyer Patriots at Johansen High School on Friday at 7:30 p.m. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier