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CHS football improves to 8-2, finishes second in WAC
Manny Mendoza
Manny Mendoza and Ceres High’s football team will face host Merced in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs this Friday. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

Ceres High School’s football team closed out the regular season on Friday with a 36-0 win over the Grace Davis Spartans on Senior Night at CUSD Stadium, marking just the third time in the past 37 years the Bulldogs have won eight or more games.

Ceres High posted 9-4 and 8-4 records in 1985 and 1988, respectively.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to accomplish something like that,” Bulldogs’ quarterback Landyn Hudson said. “It wasn’t easy. It was a lot of work. We were dedicated to the sport.”

Ceres High improved to 8-2 overall and tied for second place in the Western Athletic Conference standings (5-2) with Lathrop.

The 2021 WAC-champion Spartans went 4-6 and finished fifth in league play (3-4).

Ceres High lost to first-place Los Banos and runner-up Lathrop by a combined four points this season.

“It’s not a surprise we were able to be this successful,” said Hudson. “We know what we’re capable of doing. We hold ourselves to a high standard. We expect the best out of each other. We were more than capable of going 10-0.”

Ceres High outplayed Grace Davis in all areas.

The Bulldogs piled up 366 yards of total offense, including 243 rushing.

“That’s what we expected to do,” Hudson said. “We moved the ball north and south all night. We did whatever we wanted. We got such a great line. Tarrell is a great running back. He has that second-level speed.”

Lee-Gill ran for 190 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries.

Ernesto Miranda rushed for 42 yards on six carries.

Hudson completed 9 of 17 passes for 123 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Ricky Stanley caught three passes for 56 yards and one touchdown.

Manny Mendoza finished with 42 yards and one TD on three receptions.

Nicholas Vieyra booted a 23-yard field goal.

Nikalhi Garcia, Reis Smith, Faiva Taukalau, Jeremiah Diaz, David Diaz Deleon and Lebron Stallworth helped Ceres High notch its second shutout victory.

Garcia had eight tackles and two sacks.

 Smith had seven tackles, two pass deflections and one interception.

Taukalau had six tackles and one sack.

Diaz had five tackles.

Diaz Deleon had four tackles.

Stallworth had three tackles and two quarterback hurries.

“Our defense played phenomenal,” Hudson said. “They couldn’t do anything.”

Hudson and some of his fellow Bulldog senior teammates exited the contest with four minutes to play.

“I got a little emotional because that’s the last time we play at Ceres High School,” Hudson said. 

Ceres High earned its second straight playoff berth.

The Bulldogs made their first postseason appearance since 2004 last season, ending a 16-year drought.

Twelfth-seeded Ceres High will face No. 5 Merced (6-4, 5-1) in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III bracket this Friday on the road.

Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

“Our team doesn’t fear anybody,” said Hudson.