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Johansen tops Ceres
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Ceres linebacker Brent Avila stood near midfield and talked about his team's performance. There was mud on his jersey and arms.

“It hurts looking at that scoreboard,” he said. “It should have been the other way around.”

Johansen clobbered the Ceres High varsity football team 36-7 Friday night in Modesto. The Bulldogs tried to spoil the Vikings' homecoming. Less than 200 Ceres fans attended the game.

“It sucks because people don't have faith,” Avila said. “Last year, the stands were full.”

Johansen improved to 4-4 overall, 1-2 in the Modesto Metro Conference.

Ceres fell to 1-7 overall, 0-3 in the league standings.

“I'm really disappointed because this team's really talented,” Avila said. “But we're making too many mental mistakes. We're that close. I can taste it.”

Ceres kept the game close in the first half. The Bulldogs trailed 10-7 at the break.

The Vikings scored first after Deante Sanders intercepted Ceres quarterback Ross Tate's pass at the Bulldogs' 31-yard line. Edgar Delacruz booted a 25-yard field goal with 3:34 remaining in the opening quarter.

Ceres took a 7-3 lead on Tate's 1-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the second quarter. The Bulldogs went 81 yards in nine plays.

Johansen answered with a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Michael Harrison carried the ball five times and scored on a 1-yard run with 5:54 left in the first half.

Two of Ceres' final three possessions ended with turnovers. Craig Keller and Justin Long each had an interception. Long picked off Tate's pass at the Johansen 5.

The Vikings scored on four of their six possessions in the second half. The Bulldogs punted four times.

“You can't expect to win if your defense is on the field that long,” Avila said.

Amado Saldana's 20-yard scamper gave Johansen a 16-7 lead with 9:39 remaining in the third quarter. Geoffrey Joven scored on a 13-yard run at the 5:41 mark. Joven's score came after Tate threw an interception to Terance Bland at the Ceres 45.

Harrison and Gabe Zaragoza scored on runs of 26 and 2 yards, respectively, in the fourth quarter.

Avila had eight tackles and two sacks for the Bulldogs, who allowed 17 first downs and 309 yards rushing on 51 carries. Harrison ran for 139 yards on 21 carries. Joven ran for 110 yards on 13 carries.

Ceres managed to generate just 10 first downs and 174 yards of offense. Tate completed 9-of-22 passes for 103 yards with four interceptions. He ran for 43 yards on six carries. Tight end Jake Loveland had 47 yards receiving on four catches.

The Bulldogs will play host to the Davis Spartans this Friday at 7:30 p.m. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier