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Dawgs lose heartbreaker
Ceres High School's varsity football team nearly pulled off a major upset but a failed two-point conversion in the waning seconds allowed Sonora to escape with a thrilling 35-34 win during homecoming Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

Winless Ceres High dropped to 0-4 on the season, including 0-1 in the Valley Oak League. The Wildcats improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play.

"The whole VOL thought we'd get pummeled, not just Sonora," Bulldogs junior quarterback Josh Edwards said. "We made a statement tonight. We proved we can play with anybody."

Josh threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score.

"I never thought I could do that," Edwards said when asked about his career night against Sonora. "It was the linemen. All I did was get the ball to the receivers and they did the rest."

Added Ceres High head coach Brett Johnson: "Josh played a phenomenal game tonight. He showed incredible poise."

Bulldog receivers Justin Canatsy, Devaun McGregor and Martino Bertolotti combined for 18 catches, 308 yards and four TDs.

Canatsy caught seven passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns (23 and 40 yards).

McGregor had three receptions for 107 yards and one score (70 yards).

Bertolotti finished with eight receptions for 93 yards and a TD.

Ceres High kicker Diego Salgado converted four-of-four PATs.

Sophomore middle linebacker Hadon Lopez led the way on defense with 12 tackles and one sack.

Richard Gudino had 10 tackles.

Johnny Clark and Tony Spinella tallied eight tackles apiece.

McGregor made four tackles and recovered a fumble.

The Bulldogs got within one point on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Edwards to Canatsy with 3 seconds left in regulation.

The quick score came 32 seconds after Sonora quarterback Matt Relei's 1-yard TD run and Nick Belitz's PAT made it a 35-28 game.

After a timeout, Wildcats defensive lineman Anthony Woodward sacked Edwards before he could get the potential game-winning two-point conversion pass off.

"It was the right call," Josh said with watery eyes. "I saw Martino and he slipped on his cut. I second-guessed myself. I couldn't produce. It feels like I just lost a championship game."

The Bulldogs never hesitated to go for the win.

"It was an easy decision," Johnson said. "We had the momentum. I'd do it again."

Ceres High had plenty of motivation heading into the conference opener. The Bulldogs were picked to finish last in the 2008 VOL preseason medial poll.

Edwards and his teammates were irked.

"Our kids learned tonight it doesn't matter what your record is," Johnson said. "One of the nice things to see is them play with confidence. It was an awesome performance."

"It was a great game by both sides," Edwards said. "We gained a lot of fans."

Ceres High will play against Oakdale (2-2, 1-0) this Friday at Bulldog Stadium. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

Slow start costs JV Bulldogs

Ceres and Sonora high school's junior-varsity football teams faced off in a Valley Oak League opener Thursday night at Bulldog Stadium.

The Wildcats took command early on and held on for a 27-21 victory. Ceres High faced a 21-7 deficit at the break.

"We dug ourselves a hole in the first half," Bulldogs head coach Brandon Moring said. "It's been that way all year long. It's tough to play from behind like that."

Ceres High (1-3 overall, 0-1 VOL) racked up 373 yards of total offense in defeat.

The Bulldogs amassed 270 yards on the ground.

Brent Ward gained 170 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Vince Tomao and Will Porter added 52 and 48 yards, respectively.

Quarterback George Borden completed 3 of 7 passes for 103 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

Dustin Baisdon accounted for the TD reception.

The Bulldogs had a host of contributors on defense, including Brent Ward (13 tackles), Jeremy Cagle (10 tackles), Vince Tomao (eight tackles), David Brazil (eight tackles), Chris Husong (seven tackles), Wes Ward (six tackles) and Sean Lo (six tackles).

Ceres High outscored Sonora 14-6 after intermission.

Brent Ward scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter and Dustin Baisdon caught a 50-yard TD pass from Borden in the fourth to bring the Bulldogs within seven points with 4:44 left on the clock.

"For some reason, we seem to be a second-half ball club," Moring said. "If we can play four quarters of football, we'll get on the right track. We got to develop a tradition of a winning attitude. These guys didn't win a game last year (at the frosh level)."

Ceres High will play host to Oakdale on Friday at 5 p.m.

"We should have a good chance against them," Moring said. "But we're going to have to have a good week of practice."

Dawgs 45, Wildcats 7

Ceres High's freshman football team opened the Valley Oak League season on Thursday with an impressive 45-7 victory over Sonora at Dunlavy Field.

"As good as that win was, we could play better than that," Bulldogs head coach Bill Curlis said. "We had over 200 yards in penalties.

Bryson Waring, Zach Naylor and Nick Welsh had standout games for Ceres High, which moved to 2-2 on the year, 1-0 in the conference standings.

Waring led the Bulldogs with three touchdowns.

Naylor and Welsh both scored twice.

Ceres High's defense allowed just four first downs.

"They played really well," Curlis said.

The Bulldogs outscored the Wildcats 28-0 in the first half.

Ceres High will play at Oakdale (1-0) this Thursday. The VOL contest will begin at 6 p.m.

Freshmen fall

Central Valley High School's freshman football squad suffered its first loss of the season last week.

The Hawks dropped their Valley Opener, 21-6, to the Oakdale Mustangs on Thursday at Bulldog Stadium.

Josh Claudio ran for 82 yards and one touchdown on nine carries for Central Valley, which dropped to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the conference standings.

Sterling Shaw rushed for 72 yards on six carries.

Greg Tripp added 31 yards on seven attempts.

Kyle Martinez tallied 10 tackles and two sacks.

Shaw, Cody Melton and Claudio had eight, six and three tackles apiece.