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Dynamic Duo 2: Estrada, Martinez
Ceres High's boys soccer program made history in 2003, appearing in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in nine years.

The dynamic duo of Flavio Tamayo and Victor Torres led the way.

Tamayo, a senior forward, tallied 14 goals and nine assists on his way to earning the Central California Conference Most Valuable Player Award.

Torres made the CCC first team. The senior forward/midfielder had 12 goals and 10 assists.

The 2008 Bulldogs have a powerful pair in junior forwards David Estrada and Luis Martinez.

"I heard they (Flavio and Victor) were pretty good," Estrada said. "It's an honor to be compared with them."

"It's like having an anchor," first-year head coach Koeurn Phe said. "It gives us stability wherever we put them. They're definitely going to lead the pack."

David and Luis combined for 19 goals and 17 assists as Ceres High finished in third place in the Valley Oak League standings with a 7-5-2 record

in 2007. The Bulldogs just missed securing a playoff berth.

"I can't wait to start," Martinez said. "I believe we're going to have a strong team. Hopefully, we make Ceres proud."

Estrada, a two-time all-league first-team selection, totaled 11 goals and seven assists as a sophomore. David finished with 12 goals and six assists during his first year at the varsity level.

"David's a great player," Martinez said. "I'm happy I get to play with him."

Prior to suffering a season-ending left-ankle injury in the second half of Ceres High's 1-1 draw with East Union last October at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park, Martinez tallied eight goals in 10 games.

"It was really tough watching my team play and not being able to help," Luis said.

Added David: "I'm pretty sure we would have gone to playoffs if that didn't happen."

Martinez had surgery at Kaiser Permanente-Modesto Medical Center. Doctors inserted two screws into his ankle during the 30-minute procedure.

"I was in a cast for four months," Luis said. "At the end of January, I started playing again."

Martinez and Estrada are both members of the Ceres Earthquakes under-17 boys competitive soccer club.

"I've been playing with him (Luis) since junior high," David said. "We understand each other. It makes everything easier."

"We get along pretty good," Martinez said. "We're good friends."

"I'm really glad they're on our team," Bulldog teammate Aron Mejia said. "They really help us out a lot."

"When you have two strong players, it gives you flexibility," Phe said. "You can split them up."

Ceres High's playoff hopes won't ride squarely on the shoulders of Estrada and Martinez.

Other returners expected to contribute are seniors Jose Meza, Aron Mejia, Eleazer Padilla, Justin Breckenridge and Fernando Garduno, and junior Kyle Cerny.

Meza, a skillful midfielder, earned VOL first-team honors last year. He had four goals and two assists.

Mejia starred at sweeper. The second-team honoree will fill one of Ceres High's two inside midfielder positions this season.

Cerny and Padilla garnered honorable-mention accolades.

Kyle tallied 98 saves at goalkeeper.

Eleazer and Justin both shined at fullback.

Garduno will split time at inside fullback, outside halfback and striker.

Key newcomers include junior Marcos Rocha (fullback), sophomore Manuel Villa (fullback) and freshman Jesus Cervantes (midfielder).

Coach Phe has a team rule in place that requires players with 2.5 grade-point averages or less to get tutoring.

"It's important to focus on academics," Koeurn said. "If you fail one class, you jeopardize yourself and your team."

The Bulldogs head into the season full of optimism. A healthy Ceres team could produce another memorable campaign.

"On paper, we look good," Phe said. "We have a lot of talent. We have a lot of depth. But it doesn't matter until we actually play. I don't want our team to be overconfident. We got to approach each game as if the team that we are playing has the ability to beat us."

"It would be awesome to take the Bulldogs to the playoffs," Martinez said. "We're going to try our hardest."

"That's our goal," Estrada added.