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CHS boys look to repeat as section champs
• Assistant Gilbert Zamora earns head coach promotion
Victor Hurtado and Hugo Mercado
Ceres High’s varsity boys soccer program returns a host of talent from last year’s section championshp team, including Victor Hurtado and Hugo Mercado. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High School’s varsity boys soccer program enjoyed its best season to date this past winter.

The Bulldogs compiled a program-best 20-2-4 overall record and claimed the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship. 

Expectations remain high for Ceres High’s 2019-20 team, which will be coached by Gilbert Zamora.

He replaces Danny Barragan, who will guide the girls team at CHS.

In June, Zamora led the Ceres Earthquakes FC under-15 boys travel team to the NorCal State Premier Cup title.

“Everyone wants to beat us because of what happened last year. We’re the defending section champs. We’re going to have to train and play harder.”
Coach Gilbert Zamora

“Everyone wants to beat us because of what happened last year,” said Zamora, an assistant on Barragan’s coaching staff a season ago. “We’re the defending section champs. We’re going to have to train and play harder.”

Ceres High’s top returners are Andres Madriz (Sr.), Victor Hurtado (Sr.), Luis Medina (Sr.), Daniel Carranza (Sr.), Hugo Mercado (Sr.), Julio Nunez (Sr.)., Porfirio Rodriguez (Sr.) and Hassiel Ruiz (Sr.).

The Bulldogs’ top newcomers are Fernando Sosa (Sr.), Emilio Padilla (Jr.), Luis Yepez (Jr.), Matthew Sanchez (So.) and Oscar Mercado (Fr.).

Sosa Yepez and Sanchez competed at the JV level a year ago.

Madriz and Hurtado earned first-team all-league honors as juniors.

Madriz collected 14 goals and six assists.

He was the second-leading scorer on the team and tied for second in assists.

Hurtado had three goals and one assist.

Medina was named to the WAC Second Team.

He had six goals and six assists.

The Bulldogs return seven starters from last season’s team.

“We have talented players,” Zamora said. “We have experience. We have to take advantage.”

Ceres High’s crowning achievement last winter was claiming the Division-III section crown. The Bulldogs edged the East Union Lancers 2-1 in the finals.

Ceres High had its team-record 16-game unbeaten streak snapped by NorCal champion Madera South.

The Bulldogs collected 11 wins, no losses and three ties while finishing in second place in the WAC standings.

Ceres High outscored its opponents 85-18, including 55-7 in league play.

The Bulldogs won just a total of eight games the previous two seasons.

“Our goal is to try to repeat what we did last year,” Zamora said. “I have a lot of confidence in this team. We have everyone returning except for three starters. I also have a lot of respect for the other teams.”