Ceres High’s junior-varsity football team compiled a 7-2-1 overall record and finished second in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 5-1-1 mark this fall.
“This year’s team was truly an honor to coach,” first-year leader Angel Garcia said. “It was an amazing journey. They were an inspired group that played for each other. Each player’s determination and perseverance molded our team’s success. Brotherhood was our backbone this year and was amplified when we were fighting though the adversity, and the setbacks. The boys had the intentness to strive to be great. The prosperity throughout the season on and off the field was exceptional. They held each other accountable and had each other’s back. It was evident Friday nights. Expectations and standards for Ceres High football are changing and they’re on course with that. I’m excited for their futures and what they do at the next level.”
The Bulldogs fell one win shy of claiming a share of the WAC title.
Ceres High collected wins against West (35-0), Central Valley (26-21), Lathrop (44-0), Beyer (50-6), Johansen (42-0), Pacheco (28-6) and Grace Davis (35-0) this year.
The Bulldogs tied Mountain House (6-6).
Ceres High lost to Amador (21-8) and Los Banos (21-12).
The Bulldogs outscored their opponents, 265-87.
“We were a couple plays away from our goal,” Garcia said. “We got better throughout the whole season. The kids were focused the whole time.”
Led by linemen Adrian Fuentes, Joshua Tagle, Luis Delgado, Mauricio Leon, Abraham Rodriguez and Tavian Ellis, Ceres High’s offense piled up 2,828 yards and 31 touchdowns.
“They only gave up three sacks and two of them were in the last game,” said Garcia.
Quarterback Kyle Phongsa Chhoeum completed 77 of 147 passes for 1,256 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“Kyle did way better this year. He had a great grasp of the offense. I had the ultimate trust in him.”
Tailback Isaac Vizcarra rushed for 1,027 yards and 11 touchdowns on 140 carries. He averaged 7.3 yards per attempt. Vizcarra also caught 22 passes for 390 yards and six TDs.
“He was a dynamic player," said Garcia.
Fullback Michael Solis gained 250 yards and scored five touchdowns on 51 carries.
Tailbacks Nathaniel Macias and Adrian Huesca both had one rushing TD.
Wide receiver Manuel Mendoza grabbed 15 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns.
Wide receiver Tremond Karriem hauled in 179 yards and two TDs.
Tight end Daniel Davis finished with 143 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions.
Wide receiver Jaiden Boss totaled 175 yards on 16 receptions.
“We had a lot of weapons."
The Bulldogs totaled 321/2 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries and 11 interceptions on defense.
“The passion and aggression they played with was a reflection of their DC (defensive coordinator Alexis Lopez),” Garcia said. “He set them up for success. They got after it every play.”
Solis, a linebacker, led Ceres High in tackles (90) for second year in a row. He also had 31/2 sacks, seven forced fumbles, one interception and four pass deflections.
Solis totaled 86 tackles at the JV level as a freshman.
“He was vital to our team success. He was the embodiment of what a team captain is and should be. He was another coach out there on the field for us on both sides of the ball and you don’t get a ton of those. He’s a special player. I’m excited to see what he does at the next level.”
Mendoza had 62 tackles, 71/2 sacks, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and four pass deflections at defensive back.
Vizcarra had 62 tackles, four sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble at linebacker.
Karriem had 42 tackles, 21/2 sacks, one interception, five pass deflections and two fumble recoveries at defensive back.
Macias had 37 tackles, two interceptions, one pass deflection, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery at defensive back.
Carson Ulrich had 32 tackles, 11/2 sacks and one pass deflection at linebacker.
Giovann Sio had 27 tackles, 41/2 sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception at linebacker.
Davis had 25 tackles, two sacks, one interception and one pass deflection at defensive end.
Carlos Montano had 25 tackles, half a sack and one fumble recovery at defensive end.
Jorge Ortega had 24 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while contributing on the defensive line.
David Desmond had 23 tackles, 11/2 sacks and one fumble recovery at linebacker.
Vincent Castrejon had 21 tackles, one interception, eight pass deflections and one fumble recovery at defensive back.
Ceres High’s coaching staff consisted of Garcia, Lopez, Austin Mantarro Moore, Conner Johnson, John Thompson and Wade Martin.
Garcia served as an assistant coach on the 2021 team, which finished 7-2-1 and third in the WAC (5-2).