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Dawgs end seven-game losing streak dating back to last season
Smith-Willis, CHS race past Vikings
Newcomer Austin Stiles led Ceres Highs receiving corps with 52 yards and one touchdown on five catches. Stiles main sport is basketball. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity football team snapped a seven-game losing streak dating back to last season with a 35-24 win over Johansen Friday night in Modesto.

"I didn't know that," Bulldogs senior quarterback Brad Bussard said while talking about Ceres High's winless skid. "It's just nice to get the ‘W.' No one was overexcited. We expected to win. We did what we were supposed to do. Hopefully, it gives us some momentum going into league."

Ceres High compiled a 1-3 record during the preseason.

The Bulldogs were beaten by Modesto High (4-0), Gregori (3-1) and Hughson (4-0).

Johansen dropped to 0-4 on the year. The Vikings' combined record for the previous two seasons was 0-20.

"I liked the schedule we played," Ceres High head coach Bret Durossette said. "It was one of the toughest out there."

Ceres High racked up a season-high 510 yards of total offense, including 336 on the ground.

"The game plan was to spread them out and chuck the ball," Bussard said. "But we adjusted to what they were giving us, which was the run."

Junior Johnni Smith-Willis rushed for a career-high 268 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.

"We haven't seen a kid like that since Brandon Crawford," Durossette said. "He can make people miss. It's a natural talent he has been given."

Added Bussard: "He had a great game. He made some big plays. It took pressure off my back."

Bussard completed 16 of 21 passes for 174 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He ran for 26 yards and one TD on two attempts.

Austin Stiles totaled 52 yards and one TD on five receptions.

"We were able to run the ball, sustain drives and take time off the clock," Durossette said.

Ceres High relied on bench players after Smith-Willis' third touchdown gave the Bulldogs a 29-point lead in the third quarter.

"The kids worked hard all week long," Durossette said. "Everyone should be excited. We won a game. We haven't won in a while."

Ceres High will open WAC play this Friday. The Bulldogs will play host to the Los Banos Tigers at 7 p.m.

"We're going to get the kids ready," Durossette said. "It's going to be up to them to play the game. I'll be surprised if we don't beat them."