The Ceres Jr. Bulldogs had a successful playoff debut last week.
Seeded fourth, the first-year varsity youth football program shut out the No. 5 Merced Gauchos 25-0 in the first round of the Bay Valley Gridiron League postseason tournament on Saturday at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.
"We made a statement to this league," Bulldogs head coach Joe Estrada said. "We belong in the playoffs."
Ceres improved to 6-3 on the year.
"It's a blessing to teach these kids and be a role model," Estrada said. "We have one of the best teams in the Valley. We have the talent to go to the Super Bowl if we play together."
The Bulldogs relied on a host of players during last week's victory.
Davion Gates rumbled for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He scored on runs of 85 and 15 yards.
Ilan Espinoza gained 40 yards and scored once (15). He made six tackles on defense.
Pablo Arreola scored on a 10-yard run. He also collected three tackles and one interception.
Josh Vasquez and Eduardo Tovar rushed for 35 and 25 yards, respectively.
Angel Padilla completed a 15-yard pass.
Abraham Lugo registered five tackles and one fumble recovery.
Jose Deleon had three tackles.
Omar Ibarra, Alonzo Bustos and Kevin Zarate chipped in with two tackles apiece.
"I don't really care about the score," said Estrada, who was drenched with water after the game. "The kids played unbelievable. We won as a team. Everyone helped each other. Everyone was super excited."
Ceres and the undefeated Palm City Reapers (9-0) will battle for a berth to the Bay Valley Gridiron League Super Bowl this Saturday at Patterson Community Stadium.
The Ceres Jr. Bulldogs played like the top seed in the first round of the Bay Valley Gridiron football conference playoffs.
The junior-varsity youth squad rolled to a 27-7 victory against the No. 8 Merced Gauchos on Saturday at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.
"We have a good diversity of kids who know how to play football," head coach Jesus Montes said. "My team is not one-dimensional. We pass and run the ball. Our defense is stingy."
The Jr. Bulldogs improved to 8-1 on the season.
Ceres outscored its regular-season opponents, 144-66.
"We make it enjoyable for the kids," Montes said.
Patrick Garcia totaled two rushing touchdowns in the playoffs.
James Benitez returned an interception for a TD and scored once on the ground.
Miguel Mejia converted a 2-point kick.
"The kids played an intense game," Montes said. "They played smart."
The Jr. Bulldogs and Central Valley Raiders will face off this Saturday at Patterson Community Stadium. The winner will advance to the finals.
"We're one win away from the Super Bowl," Montes said. "It's going to be an even-better game this week."