Ceres High's varsity football team has no margin for error after losing this past week.
The Bulldogs need to win their final three games to secure their first playoff berth since 2004.
"If we lose another game, we're not going to make playoffs," tight end David Nichols said. "It's a do-or-die situation every week."
Ceres High dropped to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the Western Athletic Conference following Friday night's 56-12 setback at Patterson.
Winners of their last six games, the Tigers (6-1, 2-0) handed the Bulldogs their third straight loss.
Ceres High opened WAC play with a 48-20 loss to Los Banos (7-0, 2-0) on Oct. 6.
"We've played some really tough teams," Bulldogs' head coach Bret Durossette said. "We'll be able to compete the next three games. We'll have an opportunity to have some success."
Ceres High challenged Patterson in the early going last week by tallying two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs were outscored 42-0 the remainder of the contest.
"It was a perfect start for us," Ceres High offensive coordinator Brandon Moring said. "We were matching their intensity and playing well. When we faced some adversity, we didn't respond. For us to beat a team like Patterson, we have to play perfect."
The Bulldogs edged the Tigers 48-41 in 2016.
"They have a completely different team from last year," Durossette said. "They're really fast and big."
"That one's of the toughest teams we've played all season," Nichols added. "We started off hot. We had a lot of confidence. They continued to make big plays and we didn't. It would have been a lot more competitive if we didn't have a lot of mental mistakes."
Ceres High sophomore quarterback Dalton Durossette threw for 164 yards and one touchdown while completing 14 of 25 passes.
Nichols totaled 76 yards and one TD on two receptions.
Fullback Felipe Martinez tossed a 62-yard touchdown pass.
Martinez also had 24 receiving yards on four receptions.
Dual-threat running back Andrew Gibson hauled in five passes for 76 yards and one TD.
Johnny Hutson (3-21) and Cody Carpenter (1-29) also contributed at receiver.
The Bulldogs were limited to just 32 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Durossette ran for 14 yards on seven carries.
Gibson finished with 5 yards on four carries.
Martinez had minus-2 yards on five carries.
The Bulldogs were forced to punt seven times.
Patterson racked up 664 yards of total offense, including 437 on the ground and 227 through the air.
Martinez collected a team-high 12 tackles.
Gibson chipped in with eight tackles.
Nichols had four tackles and one sack.
Jaime Topete had six tackles and one sack.
Angel Padilla had five tackles and one pass deflection.
"It doesn't matter what the score is," Nichols said while talking about his team's mental mindset after watching Patterson build an insurmountable 37-point lead in the opening half. "You have to play through it and not give up. You have to put your effort into every play. You can't put your head down."
The Bulldogs' final three opponents are Livingston (2-5, 0-2), Pacheco (3-4, 1-1) and Central Valley (4-3, 1-1).
Ceres High will battle Livingston on the road this Friday at 7 p.m.
Livingston lost 35-14 to Pacheco last week.
"It would be an honor to make playoffs," coach Durossette said. "But we're so far away from that. We have to take baby steps. We have to take care of business against Livingston to keep our playoff dreams alive. We'll do our best to get our kids prepared."