Hit hard by graduation, Ceres High's varsity boys water polo team relied heavily on David Johnson during the 2017 season.
The senior didn't disappoint.
Johnson scored a team-leading 35 goals while propelling the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings (6-3).
"I'm proud of myself," Johnson said. "I worked really hard. I exceeded my expectations."
Johnson and fellow Ceres High starters Caleb Canella (Jr.), Ethan Letras (Sr.) and Elliott Lewis (Jr.) were all recognized in a vote by the conference's head coaches on Oct. 30 in Hilmar.
The Bulldogs ranked first in the WAC in scoring with 194 goals.
"It was nice being a part of a team that was eager to win," Johnson said. "We were motivated."
David and Caleb both earned first-team all-conference honors.
Johnson totaled a team-leading 52 goals this fall.
He poured in a career-high 11 goals during Ceres High's 16-5 victory over Livingston on Oct. 4.
David was a role player in 2016.
"I set personal goals for myself each game," Johnson said. "I had more good days than bad days. Once I started being more aggressive, I was really effective."
Cannella tallied 144 blocks at goalkeeper.
He was a second-team pick as a sophomore.
Caleb has totaled 244 saves at the varsity level the past two seasons.
"He works so much harder than everyone else on the team," Johnson said. "It's ridiculous seeing how much talent he has. There's a drastic change when he's in the pool. He's so serious, When you're hanging out with him, he's all jokes."
Letras and Lewis were both named to the WAC Second Team.
Ethan garnered second-team recognition for the second year in a row.
He collected 33 goals, including 14 in conference play.
Elliott scored 22 of his 35 goals against league opponents.
Ceres High finished behind undefeated Pacheco in the WAC standings.
The Bulldogs compiled an 11-8 overall record.
Ceres High returned to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs following a two-year absence.
"I'm really happy with how the season turned out," Johnson said. "I knew after the WAC Jamboree we were capable of making playoffs. We kept getting better and better every game."
The Bulldogs had great team chemistry.
"Once you create a bond, it's really hard to have a bad day," Johnson said. "We were always making jokes."
Johnson and Letras will be lost to graduation in June.
"I'm really going to miss being in the pool with my team," Johnson said. "We had so much fun."