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Bulldogs, Gauchos to face off at CHS
CHS, El Capitan are winless in league play
Senior quarterback Brad Bussard and Ceres Highs football team will look to end a four-game losing streak this week. The Bulldogs will host El Capitan this Friday at 7 p.m. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's and El Capitan's football programs are winless in Western Athletic Conference play.

The Bulldogs and Gauchos will face off this Friday in Ceres at 7 p.m.

Will El Capitan's inaugural varsity team make program history?

"We can't overlook El Capitan," Bulldogs senior quarterback Brad Bussard said. "They're trying to get their first win. They're looking at our record and thinking they can beat us. They're working just as hard at practice. We just got to execute."

El Capitan dropped to 0-8 on the year and 0-4 in the WAC following last Friday's 61-20 loss to Central Valley.

Ceres High, 1-7 overall and winless in conference play, is coming off a bye week.

"I have a pretty good feeling we'll be able to do whatever we want against them offensively," Bussard said. "We have a bigger line. We have more athletes. We just got to make sure we don't play down to their level. We're rested up and healthy."

Bussard completed 99 of 206 passes for 1,323 yards with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions through the Bulldogs' first eight games.

Marcellus Boykins (23-414-2), Juan Anderson (20-246-2), Brent Bussard (14-181-2) and Conner Johnson (12-158-1) will contribute at receiver. Deep threat Austin Stiles (21-258-2) could return to Ceres High's lineup. He's missed the last three games with an ankle injury.

Johnni Smith-Willis, Ceres High's featured tailback, has rushed for 514 yards and five TDs this year.

Caleb McDade (DL), Ramon Coral (DL), Ricky Valenzuela (DB) and Brent Bussard (DB) have filled key roles on defense.

McDade's registered a team-leading 81 tackles.

Coral's collected 45 tackles and three sacks.

Valenzuela's tallied 43 tackles, one interception and four pass deflections.

Brent Bussard's chipped in with 37 tackles, 11/2 sacks and three pass deflections.

El Capitan backup quarterback Marcos Dinkins completed 18 of 32 passes for 246 yards with three touchdowns and one interception against Central Valley last week. Starter Chase Whitaker (853 yards, six touchdowns and 15 interceptions) exited the contest with an injury.

Joshua Stewart will lead the Gauchos' rushing attack and defense.

The junior has gained 749 yards and scored five touchdowns on 121 carries.

Stewart's racked up 64 tackles.

El Capitan's top receivers are Isaiah Knott (24-325-4) and Elijah Reid (30-384-3).

"If we stop 23 (Knott) and 27 (Steward), we'll win," Brad Bussard said.

Ceres High's lone victory this season came against winless Johansen (35-24).

The Bulldogs lost to Modesto High (40-13), Gregori (44-20), Hughson (26-14), Los Banos (35-10), Livingston (26-21), Patterson (42-20) and Pacheco (68-7).

El Capitan has lost to Buhach Colony (51-0), Merced (63-8), Gregori (54-20), Downey (75-28), Livingston (44-0), Pacheco (70-24), Los Banos (59-13) and Central Valley.

The Gauchos average 142.8 passing and 127.1 rushing yards per game.

El Capitan's totaled 16 touchdowns.

The Bulldogs average 165.4 passing and 129.5 rushing yards per game.

Ceres High's scored 20 TDs.

"They're missing some key players," Brad Bussard said. "They're young and inexperienced. They're giving up a ton of points. We should be able to move the ball relentlessly. We just got to execute. It's big motivation-not wanting to lose to a team that's never won before. We're not going to have a letdown."