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Bulldogs end six years of futility by winning first game
CHS opens its season with 48-42 victory over WR
Head coach Bret Durossette and Ceres Highs varsity football team will battle host East Union this Friday. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's varsity football team accomplished its first goal set for the 2017 season.

The Bulldogs won their opening game, outlasting host Weston Ranch 48-42 Friday night in Stockton.

Ceres High dropped its previous six season openers.

"It's a big win for us," Bulldogs second-year running back Andrew Gibson said. "It's a huge confidence booster."

With Brock Moore, Jaime Topete, Fernando Salgado, Shane Bell and Elias Saldana leading the way, Ceres High generated 522 yards and scored six touchdowns on offense.

"Our offensive line stepped up," Gibson said. "They made it possible for us to get a lot of yards and touchdowns."

Ceres High's rushing attack piled up 277 yards and four TDs on 37 attempts.

Gibson rumbled for 208 yards and three scores, both career highs, on 15 carries. He totaled 34 yards and one TD on two receptions.

Junior Felipe Martinez ran for 70 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. He also had an 11-yard reception.

Sophomore quarterback Dalton Durossette completed 13 of 19 passes for 245 yards with two TDs and no interceptions during his debut with the Bulldogs.

"I wasn't really surprised," Gibson while talking about Durossette's veteran-like performance. "We know what he's capable of. The team has confidence in him."

Waterford transfer David Nichols caught seven passes for 140 yards and one touchdown. Nichols scored after hauling in a pass from Durossette with one hand.

Junior Brock DeWitt grabbed three passes for 60 yards.

"We're doing what our personnel allows us to do," Ceres High second-year offensive coordinator Brandon Moring said. "We want to be more balanced in our attack. That takes pressure off Dalton."

Nichols led the way on defense, blocking and returning a punt for a touchdown.

He also registered two tackles and one sack.

"He's always been a playmaker," said Gibson, who teamed up with Nichols at the lower-levels at Ceres High as sophomores and freshmen.

Added Moring: "We're excited to have him (Nichols) back. He does a lot of things well. He's a versatile kid. He has a good football IQ."

Defensive back Isaac Santana added 10 tackles, one interception and one pass deflection.

Junior linebacker Andrew Alcala tallied 13 tackles and one pass deflection.

Bell, Martinez and Cody Carpenter collected 12, eight and five tackles, respectively, at linebacker.

Defensive back Zach Baker had six tackles.

Junior defensive lineman Argel Arroyo had four tackles and one sack.

DeWitt had one tackle and two pass deflections at defensive back.

Ceres High dominated all facets of the game en route to building a 27-12 lead in the opening half.

The Cougars outscored the Bulldogs 30-21 during the second half.

The two teams combined to score 90 points during the course of the game.

"A lot of big plays were being made," Gibson said.

Durossette's 7-yard gain for a first down late in the game secured the victory.

Dalton completed a 16-yard pass to Nichols on 3rd-and-15 during the same drive.

Ceres High was able to run the final two-plus minutes off the clock.

"We executed how we were supposed to," Gibson said. "We only got stopped on two drives. Everybody did their job well."

Ceres High ended six years of futility by winning its opening game last week.

The Bulldogs relied heavily on their running game.

Ceres High received solid play from its new quarterback.
Underestimated because of their past failures, the Bulldogs proved a lot of doubters wrong.

"We're a team that's good enough to compete with everybody this year," Gibson said. "We did lose a lot of talent (to graduation). But we gained a lot of talent. The chemistry this year is great. We're all friends."

Ceres High will battle host East Union this Friday in Manteca.

Kickoff for the non-league game slated for 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs lost 40-7 to the Lancers in 2016.

"The offense they run is similar to what we do," said Moring, who coached football and taught P.E. at East Union for two years (2006-08). "I know all of their coaches. It's going to be a chess match."