By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Courier sports reporter revisits the past
• 2004 Ceres High-Downey football showdown tops list of best games
2014 CHS football
Ceres High School’s football program eliminated crosstown-rival Central Valley from playoff consideration with a 24-7 upset victory during the final day of the 2014 season.

I started working for the Ceres Courier as a sports reporter in 2001. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to see some phenomenal prep football games over the past 19 years.

These are the best three games I’ve covered in person.

Nov. 18, 2004

Cruz Flores pointed to his T-shirt while celebrating with his teammates and coaches near the 50-yard line on a cold and rainy night at Ceres High School. 

Members of the Ceres High varsity football team wore white shirts under their pads with the slogan ‘1 Game-1 Play at a Time-Believe.’ 

The Bulldogs battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit and defeated Downey 26-24 to claim a share of the Modesto Metro Conference title and berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs for the second year in a row. 

Only three Ceres teams have won a league championship since 1968.

 Senior Ray Robles rushed for 93 yards and scored three touchdowns for Ceres, which outscored Downey 19-7 in the second half. 

Seniors Brian Borges and Taleni Uti sealed the win with a stellar play on defense. 

Borges forced a fumble and Uti recovered the ball at the 50-yard line with 1:26 remaining.

The previous year, Downey posted a 39-21 victory over the Bulldogs to earn a share of the Central California Conference crown. Ceres finished in second place.

Nov. 15, 2013

Competing in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in program history, Central Valley High School’s 15th-seeded varsity football team put a major scare into No. 2 Manteca.

Down by seven points late in the fourth quarter, the Hawks’ potential game-tying drive ended with a turnover in Buffalo territory.

Manteca linebacker Chase McKee’s 69-yard fumble return touchdown lifted Manteca to a 69-55 win over Central Valley in the opening round of the Division-III playoffs at Guss Schmiedt Field.

Central Valley lost to Manteca despite piling up 669 yards of total offense, including 619 on the ground.

Senior running back Ja’Quan Gardner gained 378 yards and scored four touchdowns on 35 carries. He also tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Christian Romo.

Senior quarterback Kendel Johnson rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. He completed 4 of 8 passes for 38 yards.

Hawk senior linebacker Ben Anitelea collected a team-high 11 tackles and forced one fumble.

Senior defensive back Raul Godinez tallied nine tackles.

Sophomore all-purpose player Moses Ghiorso had one interception.

Manteca (13-2) captured section and Valley Oak League titles.

The Buffaloes won the regular-season matchup by a score of 47-20 in Ceres.

Nov. 7, 2014

Not a lot of people gave Ceres High School much of a chance against crosstown-rival Central Valley.

The Bulldogs played the role of spoiler with a 24-7 victory over the Hawks Friday night.

Ceres High prevented Central Valley from securing its second straight playoff berth.

The Bulldogs also snapped a seven-year losing streak against the Hawks.

Central Valley (5-5) and Ceres High (3-7) tied for fourth place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with identical 2-4 marks.

The Bulldogs racked up 354 yards of total offense.

Central Valley mustered just 172 yards of offense and committed a season-high seven turnovers. The Hawks lost four fumbles.