Ceres High School's freshman football team avoided an 0-3 start by escaping with an 18-16 win over Hughson Thursday evening at Bulldog Stadium.
Hughson missed a potential, game-winning 27-yard field goal with 11 second left.
"Everybody went nuts," Bulldogs head coach Darrell Long said. "It was jubilation. Our defense did their job in the second half. We kept rotating our kids to keep them fresh. Everyone played well."
Ceres High improved to 1-2 on the year.
"We're starting to gel," Long said. "We're on the right road. We want to get better at what we're doing."
Andrew Gibson led the Bulldogs' rushing attack with 115 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries.
Adam Castellanos gained 95 yards on four carries.
Isaac Santana and Stephen Taylor split time at quarterback.
The two teams combined for 32 points in the opening half.
Gibson scored on runs of 35, 4 and 20 yards.
"We had never been in that position before," said Long, whose team held a slim 18-14 lead at the break. "We had to stay confident."
Hughson cut the deficit to 18-16 with a safety in the third quarter.
"They had good, long sustained drives," Long said. "We just didn't have the ball. We relied on defense and turnovers to help us out. We're starting to gel regardless of what happens against Manteca. We're going to do the best we can."