Ceres High’s varsity boys soccer team compiled a 10-7-4 overall record, qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs and finished in third place in the Western Athletic Conference standings under new leader Gilbert Zamora’s guidance this season.
“I enjoyed the experience,” he said. “When you spend three-and-a-half months together, it becomes family. They made me a better coach.”
Fifteenth-seeded Ceres High closed out the 2019-20 campaign with a 3-0 loss to second-seeded Patterson in the opening round of the playoffs on Feb. 18 at Patterson Community Stadium.
“We had a good season. Unfortunately, we played one of the best teams in the first round. I think they’re going to win it all.”Gilbert Zamora
“We had a good season,” Zamora said. “Unfortunately, we played one of the best teams in the first round. I think they’re going to win it all.”
The Tigers took control after the two teams battled to a scoreless tie in the opening half. “I thought we were going to win,” Zamora said. “We were passing the ball around and being aggressive. It just got too physical. They got us out of our game.”
Ceres High freshman goalkeeper Oscar Mercado totaled eight saves against Patterson.
“He’s got a bright future,” Zamora said.
Ceres High participated in the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The Bulldogs won the Division-III championship in 2018-19.
Ceres High will lose 13 players to graduation, including starters Victor Hurtado, Hugo Mercado, Daniel Carranza, Jose Garcia, Luis Medina and Fernando Sosa.
Major contributors Antonio Medina, Luis Yepez, Oscar Mercado, Emilio Padilla and Matt Sanchez could return to the team next season.
“We will work hard,” Zamora said. “We will play to win. We will make playoffs. There’s good things coming.”