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Falcons training for 2005
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Darrell Long takes roll while his players stand in line.

Members of the Ceres Falcons varsity, JV, rookie and starter football teams started training for the 2005 season last week at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High School.

"The kids are hungry," said Long, head coach of the varsity squad. "They want to play."

"Everyone's excited," said Willie Solorio, first-year president of the Falcons.

Approximately 155 youth, aged 6-14, signed up for the Falcons.

"The last three years, we totaled 75 kids," Solorio said.

"We're going to continue to grow."

The Falcons have a new board. They're competing in a different league. They also added another team.

Ceres spent around $20,000 on equipment for the new starter team. The squad features 40 children, aged 6-8.

Randy Flanagan, Allen Ruger and Dave Loveland coach JV, rookies and starters, respectively.

Each team will practice for three weeks and participate in a round-robin scrimmage before the start of the regular season.

Five non-contact practices were staged, July 25-29. Players completed 10 hours of conditioning. They ran around the track and took part in a series of drills.

"You run, run and run some more," Long said. "We're also doing a lot of footwork.

"They seem to be in fairly good shape."

The Falcons will put on pads and start hitting this week.

Practices run Monday through Friday, from 6-8 p.m.

"I want to get as much as I can in my two hours," Long said.

Ceres has a nine-game schedule.

National Youth Football League opponents include the Brentwood Patriots, Weston Ranch Eagles, Calvary Panthers, Los Banos 49ers, Weston Ranch Ravens, Tracy Buccaneers and Manteca Cowboys.

The Falcons and the Ceres Cowboys, a non-league rival, will play in the Bulldog Bowl on Oct. 16.

The NYFL championship tournament gets underway on Oct. 29.

"I think it's great all the teams make the playoffs," Solorio said. "It's going to be a lot of fun." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier