By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dawgs put up a fight against Sonora
Placeholder Image
The Sonora Wildcats defeated a scrappy Ceres High varsity football team 32-6 in Valley Oak League play Friday night at Dunlavy Field.

"It's pretty easy to look past us because of our record," Bulldogs coach Brett Johnson said.

Winless Ceres (0-5) managed to keep the game close in the opening 24 minutes. The second-place Wildcats (4-1) held a slim 7-0 lead.

"Defensively, we played a great first half," Johnson said. "They had the ball twice inside our 20 and we held them. They made some adjustments in the second half. I thought we'd be ready."

Ceres' offense continued to struggle. The Wildcats took advantage of an exhausted Bulldog defense, which surrendered four rushing touchdowns.

"We just could not get our offense clicking," Johnson said. "It put a lot of pressure on our defense."

Sonora outscored Ceres 25-6 after intermission.

The Wildcats' swarming 3-3 stack defense limited the Bulldogs to 75 total yards.

"They're very quick and aggressive," Johnson said.

Bulldog quarterback Zack Atchison completed 4 of 10 passes for 39 yards and a TD strike to Brandon Avila.

Ceres' rushing attack mustered 36 yards on 31 carries.

Mayiank Kumar gained 19 yards on seven carries.

Matt Smith tallied 13 yards on nine attempts. He had a 75-yard TD run called back in the fourth quarter due to a holding penalty.

"I watched the film and didn't see it," Johnson said.

Marcus Hilgen carried the ball six times for 11 yards.

Hilgen led the way on defense with nine tackles. Justin Hidahl registered two sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Three Bulldogs suffered injuries during the game, including Johnny Clark (knee), Thomas Vanderlaan (shoulder) and Michael Staggs (shoulder).

Staggs, a senior tight end and linebacker, sustained a season-ending separated shoulder just before halftime.

Ceres High will host East Union (1-4) on Friday at 7 p.m.

JV Bulldogs show heart

Hit hard by academic ineligibility, the Ceres High junior-varsity football team suited up just 19 players for its Valley Oak League game against host Sonora on Friday.

"I didn't know how they'd react," Bulldogs offensive coordinator Rafael Valencia said.

Last-place Ceres showed a lot of mettle in losing 21-12 to the second-place Wildcats at Dunlavy Field.

The loss of six players, including two starters, didn't put a damper on the spirit of the Bulldogs.

"I'm very pleased even though we lost," Ceres head coach Scott Smith said. "The kids played their hearts out."

The Bulldogs dropped to 0-5 in the VOL. The Wildcats improved to 3-2 in conference play.

Josh Edwards, Nick Sandoval and Justin Canatsy led Ceres' offense. Sandoval caught two touchdown passes from Edwards. Canatsy added six receptions for 90 yards.

Edwards' 15-yard TD strike to Sandoval put the Bulldogs ahead 6-0 in the second quarter. The Wildcats sacked Josh on the two-point conversion.

Sonora stunned Ceres when Ricky McColloch returned a kickoff 80 yards for touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

"It killed our momentum," said Smith, whose team trailed 7-6 at the break.

Daniel Link's 8-yard rushing score increased the Wildcats' lead to 14-6 in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs closed the gap to two, 14-12, on another Edwards-to-Sandoval connection (10 yards). Brandon Jolley dropped a potential game-tying, two-point conversion pass from Josh as the ball hit his hands and bounced off his helmet.

Link sealed the win with a 15-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

"We had one breakdown on special teams and one missed assignment on defense," Smith said. "That was it."

Ceres had ample opportunities to take control of the game.

"We moved the ball all day on them," Valencia said. "We had the ball in the red zone four or five times and only scored twice."

Freshmen lose in contest

The Ceres High freshman football team squandered a chance to pull within a touchdown just before halftime against visiting Sonora.

Quarterback Dave Brazil completed a 43-yard pass to receiver Vince Tomao, who was tackled at the Wildcats' 1, with 12 seconds remaining. The Bulldogs failed to score thanks to a 15-yard penalty on their way to losing 35-0 to Sonora on Thursday in Ceres.

"That would have been a huge momentum boost for us," said Ceres coach Anthony Dean, whose team trailed 14-0 at the break.

Brazil accumulated 220 yards of offense in the Valley Oak League contest, including 150 passing and 70 rushing.

Tomao grabbed five passes for 120 yards.

Jeremy Ford added 40 rushing yards in place of Brent Ward, who was promoted to the JV squad.

"Our kids played hard," Dean said. "I'm proud of them."

The Bulldogs faced a tough option offense with hulking linemen and bruising running backs. Linebacker George Borden led Ceres with two sacks.

"They were just bigger than us," Dean said. "They were huge."

Winless Ceres (0-5) will play host to East Union (2-3) on Thursday at 6 p.m.

"I'm trying to keep the kids' spirits up so they will play next season," Dean said. "They're trying. That's all I can ask for."