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CHS wraps up preseason with win over Atwater
Bulldogs earn second consecutive victory
Ceres High players, including Angelo Marino (82) and David Caravalho (54), race onto the field prior to kickoff versus visiting Atwater. The Bulldogs delighted their homecoming fans with a 41-35 victory. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's offense has improved drastically since assistant coach Brandon Moring took over play-calling duties.

The Bulldogs racked up 439 yards and six touchdowns during Friday night's 41-35 homecoming win over the visiting Atwater Falcons in varsity football.

"Brandon's doing a great job," Ceres High head coach Bret Durossette said. "He's young and motivated. He's helped me a lot. I'm not as stressed out anymore."

Ahead by just six points with two minutes to play, Chris Lubinsky connected with Conner Johnson for a 16-yard pass on fourth-and-3 deep in Atwater territory to seal the victory.

"Ninety-nine percent of the people thought we were going to run the ball," Durossette said. "The coaching staff made the decision to pass. It was unanimous. Conner was wide open. He's experienced and he catches a good ball. He's one of the top tight ends in the area."

The Bulldogs improved to 2-3 overall.

The Falcons dropped to 0-4 on the year.

"Obviously, you don't want to lose on homecoming," Durossette said. "It's a good win for the kids. We haven't won a lot of games since the other high school opened."

"It feels really good to get the school another win," Ceres High senior receiver/safety Zyier Harrison said. "Hopefully, we can get a lot more. We still need to get better at a lot of things. We have to stay focused and work harder."

Lubinsky completed 22 of 33 passes for 313 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

"This is the best game he's played all year," Durossette said.

Johnson totaled 148 yards and one TD on nine receptions. He also made seven tackles on defense.

Wyatt Ogden hauled in five passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns. He registered 11 tackles.

Harrison carried the ball five times for 85 yards and two TDs. He collected 12 tackles.

"We knew we could get to the outside using his speed," Durossette said.

Andrew Gibson rushed for 35 yards and one touchdown on 11 attempts. He also had an 18-yard reception.

"He's got to be one of the best running backs we've had and he's only a junior," Durossette said. "He's a great athlete."

Marcellus Boykins and Austin Crain chipped in with 63 and 44 receiving yards, respectively.

Adrian Knights tallied 10 tackles.

Aiden Moore had four tackles and one fumble recovery.

Ceres High led 27-19 at intermission.

The Bulldogs scored twice during the second half.

Ceres High earned its second straight victory.

"It's a great way to end the preseason," Lubinsky said. "It's a good momentum boost for us. I'm happy with a lot of things we've done so far. One of the biggest things that has made me better is we have so many guys on the offensive line that work very hard. They've done a great job. Not just for me but for Andrew and Zyier. Our entire coaching staff has been putting us in positions to succeed."

The Bulldogs have averaged 33.7 points per game since Moring was promoted to offensive coordinator.

Ceres High totaled just 20 points during its first two games.

"We've finally turned the corner as an offense," Lubinsky said. "Hopefully, we can keep playing this way."

Ceres High will open the Western Athletic Conference season at Los Banos (3-1) on Oct. 7. "I'm excited for the challenge," Lubinsky said. "We know that's a good team. We can't afford to make mistakes. We have to be crisp in everything we do."