Ceres High’s junior-varsity football team bounced back in a big way this fall.
A year removed from compiling an 0-3 record during their 2020 COVID-shortened season, the 2021 Bulldogs collected seven wins, two losses and one tie.
“They were a fantastic group,” head coach Darrell Long said. “Everybody got along and bought into the system. We also had good athletes. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do (at the varsity level).”
Ceres High notched wins against Grace Davis, Mountain House, Pacheco, Beyer, Lathrop, Johansen and West.
The Bulldogs lost to Los Banos and Johansen.
Ceres High tied Central Valley.
The Bulldogs (5-2) placed third overall in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
Ceres High outscored its opponents, 138-75.
“We didn’t have any points scored on our defense our first five games,” Long said.
Kyle Chhoeum, Donovan Osuna, Brayden Clark, David Diaz Deleon, Ernesto Miranda and Manuel Mendoza, Luis Delgado, Zion Rochell and Jacob Tomazi led the way on offense.
Chhoeum completed 23 of 55 passes for 403 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.
Osuna logged playing time at multiple positions.
He completed 7 of 20 passes for 139 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
He rushed for 43 yards and one TD on 18 carries.
He caught three passes for 93 yards and two scores.
Clark gained 498 yards and scored six touchdowns on 99 carries.
Diaz Deleon ran for 570 yards and three TDs on 67 carries.
Miranda totaled 115 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
Mendoza hauled in 20 passes for 368 yards and five scores.
Delgado (center), Rochell (left guard) and Tomazi (left tackle) anchored the Bulldogs’ offensive line.
Ceres High had a host of contributors on defense, including Osuna, Clark, Diaz Deleon, Miranda, Mendoza, Elias Carrera, Ty Vilmur and Reis Smith.
Carrera, Miranda and Vilmur were defensive linemen.
Clark and Diaz Deleon were linebackers.
Mendoza and Smith were cornerbacks.
Osuna started at safety.
“We kept it simple and were consistent,” Long said while talking about his team’s defense.
Long had four assistant coaches: Angel Garcia, Brad Bussard, Gary Wiseman and Justin Unruh.
Garcia and Bussard called the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive plays, respectively.
“I tip my hat to my staff,” Long said.
Long also praised Ceres High varsity football head coach Clinton Goblirsch.
“The process Clint used helped us,” Long said. “He’s a perfectionist.”
Long has coached football at Ceres High for the past seven seasons.
The JV Bulldogs amassed a 12-9-1 record under his guidance from 2019-21.
“The first and last thing we talked about this season was getting back in the weight room,” Long said. “Everyone was stronger this year.”