Ceres High’s varsity football team had its Homecoming spoiled by Lathrop last week.
The Spartans topped the Bulldogs 35-26 in front of a large crowd Friday night at CUSD Stadium.
“Of course we feel bad,” said Ceres High lineman Elias Saldana, who totaled a career-high 14 tackles and one sack in defeat. “Nobody likes losing, especially at home. We tried to win for the school, team, coaches and ourselves.”
“There were some positives,” Bulldogs’ head coach Matt Chachere said. “For the first time all year, we played with energy and effort for all four quarters. We finally made some explosive plays and scored quickly.”
Ceres High dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
Lathrop improved to 1-3 and 1-0.
“All of the games are winnable if the team plays with a full effort."Ceres High lineman Elias Saldana
“We still have six games left,” Chachere said. “Anything can happen. The WAC isn’t quite what it was last year.”
“All of the games are winnable if the team plays with a full effort,” Saldana said.
“We really want to win,” receiver/cornerback Fernando Sosa added. “We just got to work harder to make it possible.”
Bulldog sophomores Bryce Piatt and Roberto Tiscareno split time at quarterback versus the Spartans.
Piatt completed 6 of 19 passes for 111 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also had one rushing TD.
Tiscareno, who returned from a wrist injury, totaled 42 yards while completing 3 of 7 passes.
“We’ll evaluate it (the starting QB position) on a game-by-game basis,” Chachere said. “We need more production out of that spot and the offense altogether.”
Sosa had a breakout game on offense.
He caught four passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Aaron Delgado grabbed two passes for 29 yards.
Isaias Jimenez had a 14-yard reception.
The Bulldogs had minus-2 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Ceres High lineman Joshua Ofisa and receiver/defensive back Verlis Smith did not play against Lathrop.
Ofisa (knee) and Smith (wrist) were sidelined with injuries.
“It really hurt not having them out there,” Chachere said. “They are two of our two-way starters. Defensively, Verlis is the captain at the back end. He does a good job of getting our secondary in the right spots. Josh is very physical and strong.”
Shutout the previous two weeks, Ceres High tallied three touchdowns during its WAC opener.
“We should be playing like this every game, not just Homecoming,” Saldana said.
“When you score points, it creates energy and momentum for the team,” Chachere said.
“We were competitive this week,” Sosa said. “It was a new experience. I see us doing a lot better on offense (in the future).”
Ceres High’s defense yielded three scores on fourth-down plays against Lathrop.
“We expected to play better,” Chachere said. “We had tons of mental errors. It really hurt us as a team.”
Ceres High will compete on the road against Beyer (2-2, 1-0) at Johansen this Friday.
Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.
Amare Padilla and Nathan Magallon will make their debut with the Bulldogs.
Padilla (Central Valley) and Magallon (Pitman) had to sit out the first four games to satisfy the Sac-Joaquin Section’s transfer rule.
Padilla will contribute at running back and defensive back.
Magallon will contribute at defensive back.
“We’re getting a really big boost with those guys being able to play,” Chachere said. “Amare’s a really great athlete. He’s going to help us out on both sides of the ball. For a sophomore, Nathan’s football smarts are high. He’s an intelligent player.”
Ceres High will try to break into the win column for the first time this season.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work,” Sosa said. “We have to play with heart for all four quarters.”