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Dawgs give Vikings scare before suffering loss
• First-place Johansen posts 46-20 victory over CHS
Nicolas Angulo
Ceres HIgh’s Nicolas Angulo (16) pressures Johansen quarterback John Romero during the second half of Friday’s WAC contest. The Bulldogs lost 46-20 to the host Vikings. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s winless varsity football team put a scare into first-place Johansen and its Homecoming fans last week.

The Bulldogs led by one point midway through the third quarter before the Vikings pulled away for a 46-20 win Friday evening in Modesto.

“We wanted to ruin their Homecoming. We came close. It’s a step in the right direction. We showed we could compete with a good team.”
Amare Padilla

“We wanted to ruin their Homecoming,” junior running back/free safety Amare Padilla said. “We came close. It’s a step in the right direction. We showed we could compete with a good team.”

“They were expecting a blowout,” senior lineman Elias Saldana added. “They completely underestimated us. We put up a fight. For the first time in a while, we played as a team. It felt great.”

The last-place Bulldogs dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Vikings improved to 5-1 and 3-0.

Ceres High suffered its 11th straight loss dating back to the 2018 campaign.

“Winning is not an impossible thing for us,” Padilla said. “We have the talent. We have to put in the work, stay mentally focused and execute.”

“We’re getting better,” Saldana stated. “I wasn’t expecting it to take this long.”

Padilla, formerly of Central Valley, had a breakout game on offense for Ceres High.

He scored three rushing touchdowns.

He also contributed on defense.

Padilla sat out the first four games of the season to satisfy the CIF transfer rule.

“The toughest part was being on the sidelines and I couldn’t help my team,” he said.

Ceres High sophomore quarterback Bryce Piatt completed 17 of 36 passes for 159 yards.

Seven different players caught at least one pass.

Sophomore Verlis Smith totaled a team-high 84 yards on seven receptions.

Fernando Sosa grabbed three passes for 37 yards.

Aaron Delgado finished with 24 yards on two passes.

Padilla’s third TD run gave the Bulldogs a 20-19 lead midway through the third quarter.

“We had the momentum,” Padilla said. “They couldn’t stop us. Everything was clicking. It felt amazing knowing we could win.”

“This is how we should have been playing from the very beginning,” Saldana said. 

Johansen scored four unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to dash Ceres High’s upset bid.

The Vikings extended their lead to 33-20 with a fumble-return TD at the 9:02 mark of the final period.

“Our energy wasn’t as high as it was,” Saldana said. “That’s where the downfall started to begin.”

Ceres High will play host to Pacheco (2-4, 1-2) this Friday at 7 p.m.

“They’re beatable if we execute,” Padilla said. 

“We want to win,” Saldana said. “We haven’t met that goal yet.”