Six members of Ceres High School’s football program earned all-Western Athletic Conference honors for their outstanding play this fall, including Landyn Hudson, Verlis Smith, Lebron Stallworth, Kahmi Smith, Tarrell Lee-Gill and Austin Munguia.
Hudson, Stallworth, Verlis Smith and Kahmi Smith were named to the WAC First Team earlier this month in a vote by the league’s head coaches.
Lee-Gill and Munguia both earned second-team, all-conference honors.
“It’s always nice when other coaches recognize your guys,” Bulldogs’ head coach Clinton Goblirsch said. “They worked hard and had good years.”
“Seeing a bunch of our players get recognized is pretty cool, especially the seniors,” Hudson added. “We definitely deserve it. We worked hard to really stand out.”
Hudson and Verlis Smith combined to make up one of the top quarterback-receiver tandems in WAC play.
“They had a lot of success together,” Goblirsch said. “They had a good connection. That developed over the course of the last two years.”
“Our chemistry was off the charts,” Hudson said. “We worked out so much together during COVID. That was a big key to our succces. We made each other better. Our whole team is going to miss him next year.”
Hudson, a junior quarterback, completed 77 of 158 passes for 1,389 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.
“I gave it my all every time I was out there,” Hudson said.
“You could see the improvement he had in terms of his reads and mechanics,” Goblirsch stated.
“Coming in freshman year, I was new to playing the position,” Hudson added. “He (Goblirsch) taught me the mechanics. We got a good bond. He’s helped me become a better quarterback and man.
Verlis Smith, a senior receiver, caught 36 passes for 775 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He also logged playing time at running back, quarterback and defensive back.
Smith rushed for 277 yards and four TDs on 35 carries.
He completed 5 of 13 passes for 117 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Smith totaled 19 tackles, three interceptions and three pass deflections at cornerback.
All three of his interceptions and pass deflections came in a 26-3 win against Pacheco. He returned one of the picks 100 yards for a touchdown.
“Verlis was a leader,” Goblirsch said. “He was productive. He was very coachable. He did everything we asked of him.”
Stallworth, a junior defensive end, registered 36 tackles, tallied four sacks, forced one fumble and recovered one fumble.
“He just started playing football last year,” Goblirsch said. “He improved a lot from last season. He’s going to continue to get better if he puts the work in. We’ll expect big things from him next year.”
Kahmi Smith, a junior linebacker, collected 64 tackles, four forced fumbles, three pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and half a sack.
“He was always around the ball,” Goblirsch said. “That’s what you look for from a linebacker.”
Lee-Gill, a junior running back, gained 1,006 yards and scored 13 touchdowns on 130 carries.
He totaled 212 yards and one TD on 12 receptions.
“His production on the field is a result of putting extra work in, getting stronger and improving his vision,” Goblirsch said.
Munguia, a senior defensive back, had 41 tackles, six pass deflections, three forced fumbles and one interception.
“He was consistent,” Goblirsch said. “He knew his assignments. He was in the right position at the right time.”
Ceres High amassed a 5-6 overall record and finished in fifth place in the WAC standings (3-4). The Bulldogs secured a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time since 2004.
“We don’t want Ceres to be looked at as a bad program,” Hudson said. “We’re doing everything in our power to change that.”