The members of Ceres High School’s football program have good reason to be excited.
The Bulldogs improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 40-6 victory against the Johansen Vikings Friday evening at CUSD Stadium.
Ceres High had a combined record of 4-26 from 2017-19. The Buldogs went 0-10 in 2019, 1-9 in 2018 and 3-7 in 2017.
Ceres High showed a tremendous amount of improvement by winning two of four games during the 2020 COVID-shortened season.
“It feels good to be 4-2,” Bulldogs’ junior quarterback Landyn Hudson said. “But we’re nowhere near satisfied. We have so much more room to improve. We got playoffs in our sights. We’re hungry. We want it bad.”
Hudson completed 12 of 14 passes for 246 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a triumphant return to the Bulldogs’ lineup. He missed Ceres High’s Homecoming game against Beyer on Sept. 24 with injured ribs.
Hudson also scored a rushing TD.
“It was a great feeling to be back out there,” Hudson said. “Last week, I had to watch from the sidelines. But I knew I had to miss the game. It was better for my health in the long run. I took a small hit and they held up fine. I’m back to being healthy. I was reading the field so good. I was dialed in.”
Bulldog receiver Verlis Smith caught six passes for 191 yards and four touchdowns.
He also gained 21 yards on four carries.
Smith totaled four TDs—three rushing—while filling in for Hudson the previous week.
Junior Tarrell Lee-Gill finished with 122 rushing yards and one TD on 13 carries.
He totaled 14 yards on one reception.
Junior Josh Prestridge rushed for 52 yards and one touchdown on seven attempts.
Ceres High topped Johansen for the second time this season.
The Bulldogs beat the Vikings 42-16 on Sept. 10. The non-league game was added to Ceres High’s schedule after its contest versus Amador was canceled due to poor air quality as a result of smoke from wildfires in California.
“We just beat them three weeks ago,” Hudson said. “We weren’t too worried. We knew what we had to do and executed really well. Our defense was lights out. They used their whole playbook in the first half and nothing worked for them. We were hungry. We were focused. We weren’t out there to play around.”
Johansen had just 191 yards of total offense, 95 of which came on its scoring drive at the end of the game. The Bulldogs limited the Vikings to 126 passing yards and 65 on the ground.
Ceres High is allowing just 12.2 point per game this year.
The Bulldogs have totaled 211 points on offense.
Ceres High has four games left on its regular-season schedule and is vying for its first winning record since 2004. That’s also the last time the Bulldogs qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The Bulldogs will travel to Los Banos this Friday to play Pacheco (2-4, 1-2).
Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.
“Our school is way more involved in our football program,” Hudson said. “We got a lot more people coming out to games. They like that we’re winning. It’s a surprise to everybody except us. We know what we’re capable of. We work hard every day. Everyone on our team is hungry. We want more.”