Ceres High School's varsity boys soccer team knew what was at stake during its key Western Athletic Conference showdown with Pacheco last week.
The Bulldogs needed to beat the Panthers and get help from Patterson to edge out Livingston for the WAC's third and final playoff berth.
"Neither of those things happened," Ceres High head coach Miguel Saldate said. "We tied and Livingston won. It's very disappointing. We shouldn't have depended on other teams. We should have made it. Everyone is upset, especially the seniors."
Ceres High (6-3-3, 21 points) placed fourth in the WAC standings.
Patterson (9-3-0, 27 points), Central Valley (7-0-5, 26 points) and Livingston (7-2-3, 24 points) finished first, second and third, respectively.
Patterson, Central Valley and Livingston all qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoff tournament.
Ceres High tied Central Valley twice and split with Livingston.
Ceres High edged Pacheco 1-0 earlier this year.
The fifth-place Panthers (5-6-1, 16 points) battled back from a one-goal deficit during the second meeting.
Cristopher Torres gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead midway through the first half. Pacheco's Miguel Ortiz evened the score with a penalty kick just before halftime.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game," Saldate said. "We had a bunch of chances to score."
Torres nearly played the role of hero in the final minute. Cristopher just missed scoring as his header hit the crossbar.
"The league was very competitive this year," Saldate said. "We still should have made playoffs. We have talent."
Ceres High, which posted an 11-2-5 overall record in 2014, had its streak of consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances snapped at six seasons.
"We had a good year," Saldate said.