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Gibson earns WAC special teams award
Bulldog players garner recognition from leagues coaches
Ceres High senior Austin Stiles earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors for his outstanding play at receiver. Stiles led the WAC in receptions, yards and touchdowns. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier file photo

Ceres High School's varsity football program had a total of six players earn Western Athletic Conference honors.

Seth Gibson, Austin Stiles, Johnni Smith-Willis, Conner Johnson, Armani Rivera and Nick Jones were recognized in a vote by the WAC's head coaches on Nov. 17 in Patterson.

Gibson was named the conference's Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.

He totaled 510 yards and one touchdown on 18 kickoff returns.

Stiles was selected to the WAC First Team for his outstanding play at receiver during his senior year.

"It's definitely a great accomplishment," Austin said. "It's definitely a team effort. I wouldn't get the ball without my quarterback and offensive line. I give a lot of credit to them."

Stiles led the WAC in receptions (38), yards (594) and touchdowns (9).

"I didn't know anything about football my junior year," he said. "I had to learn the basics. This year, I was a lot more comfortable on the field. I fell in love with the game."

Stiles trains at Bonsu Elite Athletics in Ceres.

"I'm proud of the season I had," Austin said. "All of my hard work paid off. I learned so fast. I got a lot of help from coaches at and away from school."

Smith-Willis (Sr.), Johnson (Jr.), Rivera (Sr.) and Jones (Jr.) all earned second-team all-conference recognition.

Smith gained 470 yards and scored six touchdowns while starring at running back.

Johnson, Ceres High's tight end, caught 14 passes for 104 yards with one touchdown.

Rivera, a defensive lineman, ranked fourth in the WAC in tackles (44) and fifth in sacks (1).

Jones, a defensive back, ranked third in conference play in interceptions (2). He also had 16 tackles and six pass deflections.

Quarterback Chris Lubinsky (Jr.) and linebacker Aaron Black (Sr.) were honorable-mention picks.

Lubinsky ranked first in the WAC in yards (1,537), yards per game (256.2), completions (116), and second in touchdowns (14) and attempts (178). He threw just four interceptions.

Ceres High posted a 2-4 record on its way to a fifth-place finish in the WAC standings.