Ceres High School's campus was a buzz following its varsity football team's 24-7 upset of crosstown-rival Central Valley on Nov. 6.
The whole school was excited," Bulldogs head coach Bret Durossette stated. "There were some good things being said about our program."
Ceres High ended a seven-year losing streak against Central Valley.
The victory eliminated the Hawks from playoff consideration during the final day of the regular season.
Ceres High also spoiled Central Valley's Senior Night.
"We played a really good game," Bulldogs' senior quarterback Brad Bussard said. "We executed perfectly."
"It's been a long time since we've beat Central Valley," Durossette added. "It's going to level the playing field. We're going to have to work harder for next season."
Ceres High limited Central Valley to 172 yards of total offense and forced seven turnovers.
"We played spectacular defense," Durossette said.
The Bulldogs racked up 354 yards on offense.
Bussard completed 12 of 22 passes for 186 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while making his final start at quarterback for Ceres High.
Senior Juan Anderson had a 57-yard touchdown reception. He also booted a 20-yard field goal and converted all three of his point-after kicks.
Sophomore Marcellus Boykins hauled in four passes for 35 yards and one TD.
Junior Austin Stiles totaled 89 yards on six catches.
Junior Johnni Smith-Willis rumbled for 129 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries.
Bussard passed for 4,394 yards with 37 touchdowns and 27 interceptions during his two-year varsity career.
"Brad played one of his best games of the season," Durossette said. "For him to end the year like that is fantastic."
Ceres High posted a 3-7 overall record and tied for fourth place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with Central Valley (5-5, 2-4) this year.
The Bulldogs had one of the toughest schedules in the Stanislaus District.
Approximately six of Ceres High's 10 opponents qualified for the playoffs, including Modesto High, Gregori, Hughson, Los Banos, Patterson and Pacheco.
The Bulldogs challenged Gregori, Hughson and Los Banos.
Ceres High squandered a 14-point lead while losing 26-21 to 5-5 Livingston.
"I'm proud of our kids," Durossette said. "Our schedule was much tougher than all of the teams in the area. We competed with everyone except Pacheco and Modesto High. We probably could have had five or six wins."
Smith-Willis, Boykins and Stiles will fill key roles on next year's team.
Johnni rushed for a team-leading 825 yards and nine touchdowns this past season. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
Marcellus was Ceres High's top receiver. The sophomore caught 29 passes for 464 yards and three TDs.
Austin had 347 yards and two touchdowns on 27 receptions.
Christopher Lubinsky will contribute at quarterback next year. The sophomore lined up under center at the junior-varsity level the past two seasons.
"Chris is talented," Durossette said. "He's tall. He can throw the ball. He knows the offense. He'll compete for the position. There are no starters right now."
Ceres High hasn't compiled a winning record or qualified for the playoffs since 2004.
The Bulldogs amassed a 17-73 overall record from 2005-14.
Ceres High won one league title, qualified for the playoffs twice and posted a 26-36 record under Durossette's guidance from 2000-05.
The Bulldogs have dropped 20 of 30 games during Bret's second stint as head coach.
"I thought I could create change really quick," said Durossette, who returned to the sidelines in 2011. "We'll get there. We're not stopping. For us to be successful, the kids are going to have to buy in. The commitment is going to have to be greater. It's a 10-week season. But it's really 40 weeks because you're starting in January."
Ceres High won its final two games of the 2014 season.