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CHS battles Hughson on gridiron
Dawgs put up fight in first half versus Huskies
Austin Crain (84), Johnni Smith-Willis and their Ceres High varsity football teammates race onto the field prior to kickoff versus Hughson Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High defensive back Alex Torres handed the ball to the official and raced off the field in the first quarter.
With the Bulldogs' varsity football team leading 7-0, Torres made a key play when he recovered a fumble at the Hughson 12-yard line.

The unbeaten Huskies prevented upset-minded Ceres High from seizing the momentum and relied heavily on their ground attack while rolling to a 50-27 victory Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

"We were confident going into the game," Bulldogs head coach Bret Durossette said. "We had an opportunity to be up several scores in the first quarter. We just didn't execute."

Ceres High dropped to 0-3 on the year.

Hughson (3-0) kept its perfect record intact.

The Huskies shut out their first two opponents by a combined score of 78-0.

"We've lost to three teams that are all playoff bound," Durossette said. "Our schedule is pretty tough."

Ceres High challenged Hughson in the early going/opening half thanks in large part to its solid defensive effort.

The Huskies produced zero points on their first three possessions as they were forced to punt twice and committed one turnover.

"We're trying to put a full game together," Durossette said. "Until we get better on both sides of the ball, we're going to struggle."

Ceres High junior quarterback Chris Lubinsky completed 22 of 41 passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also had one rushing TD.

"He made some great throws," Durossette said. "But he could have played better."

Bulldog all-purpose player Seth Gibson hauled in four passes for 81 yards and one touchdown.

Nick Jones' lone reception resulted in an 18-yard score.

Austin Stiles caught five passes for 64 yards.

Conner Johnson totaled 62 yards on five catches.

Johnni Smith-Willis rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown on six carries. Smith-Willis missed the previous contest with a head injury. He sustained a concussion in Ceres High's 42-21 loss to Modesto High on Aug. 28.

"If we can start clicking offensively, Johnni will have a lot of success because he's a great running back," Durossette said.

Hughson carved up Ceres High's defense for 585 rushing yards.

"All they did was hand the ball off," Durossette said. "We couldn't stop them. They're big, fast and strong."

The Bulldogs faced a 17-7 deficit at the break.

Ceres High accounted for the game's first touchdown. Lubinsky's rushing TD and Crain's point-after kick gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Hughson's Cesar Cuevas scored on runs of 48 and 2 yards.

Sean Bledsoe booted a 35-yard field goal and converted both of his PATs.

Gibson thrilled Bulldog teammates, coaches and fans when he turned a short catch into a 51-yard TD with 10:57 to play in the third quarter. Crain's PAT made it a 17-14 game

Down 17-14, Ceres High allowed 26 straight points as Cuevas found the end zone four times.

Cuevas' 47-yard scamper and Bledsoe's PAT put Hughson ahead 43-14 with 10:17 left in regulation.

Smith-Willis had an 80-yard rushing TD and Lubinsky tossed an 18-yard TD pass to Jones in the fourth quarter.

"We could have executed better in the first half," Durossette said. "We had five illegal procedure calls. We had some dropped passes. Defensively, they made some great changes. They're a well-coached team."

Ceres High will play host to Johansen (0-3) this Friday at 7:30 p.m.

"Friday's game is behind us," Durossette said. "We got Johansen now. They're very comparable to us. We're two programs that haven't had success in a while. We just want to get a win. It doesn't matter if it's homecoming or the last game of the season."