Standout running back Zaire Eugene fractured his hip during the Ceres Jr. Bulldogs varsity youth football squad's final regular season game on Nov. 1 in Ceres.
"Everybody misses him," head coach Joseph Estrada. "But we have so much talent on the team. I trust all of my kids. I bring the best out of them."
Competing shorthanded, top-seeded Ceres routed the third-seeded Modesto Jets 36-6 in the Valley championship game on Saturday at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.
"We had no turnovers the whole game," Estrada said. "We executed our plays."
The Jr. Bulldogs improved to 9-0-1 overall and will face the Travis Vikings (8-1-1) in the Bay Valley Gridiron League Super Bowl this Saturday.
The Jets posted a 4-6 record.
"It means a lot to everybody," Estrada said. "This is why we practice. Playing as a team got us there. Hopefully, we can become champions. We just got to stay focused. We got talent and good coaching. Win or lose, we'll play our hearts out."
Ceres' Josh Vasquez rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns (55, 10) versus Modesto.
Vasquez tallied four tackles, including two sacks, on defense.
James Benites and Mateo Scalise scored on runs of 26 and 10 yards, respectively.
Benites had four tackles.
Joel Lopez threw a 30-yard TD pass to Jesus Damien.
Damien collected two tackles and one interception.
Lopez registered two tackled and converted two point-after kicks.
The Jet never posed a threat against the Jr. Bulldogs.
Ceres built a 21-0 lead in the opening half and never looked back.
"The linemen did a great job," Estrada said. "Everybody stepped up."
Ceres and Travis tied 12-12 at Chavez Jr. High during the regular season.
"It's going to be a tough game," Estrada said. "They have some talent. Everybody has to give their best effort."
Dawgs edge Raiders
The Ceres Jr. Bulldogs' top-seeded starts youth football team made just enough plays en route to posting a 14-6 win over the No. 2 Central Valley Raiders in the Valley championship game on Saturday at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.
"I could see it in their eyes," said head coach Shaun Johnson, whose team has collected seven wins and one tie on its home field this year. "They were focused."
Ceres (8-1-1) will face the Travis Vikings (9-1) in the Bay Valley Gridiron League Super Bowl this Saturday.
The Raiders compiled a 5-5 record this season.
"Everybody is really excited," Johnson said. "We got a good group of kids. They're young. They're smart. They know what's at stake. They understand if we win, we're champions. I told them from day one we were going to make it to the Super Bowl."
Ceres' Demetrie Baldon scored on a 50-yard reverse run against Central Valley.
Evan Wilform tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nicholas Dominguez.
Baldon's TD and Keith Crawford's 2-point conversion catch gave the Jr. Bulldogs an 8-0 lead in the first quarter.
Ahead 8-6, Wilform connected with Dominguez for a score in the third quarter.
"We had the lead," Johnson said. "We didn't want to risk anything. We were focusing on ball security."
Ceres closed out the regular season with a 34-27 win over Travis on Nov. 1 at Chavez Jr. High.
The Jr. Bulldogs have won seven straight games.
"It will be a rematch," Johnson said. "They we're undefeated until they played us. We know who their main players are. If we stop them, we'll be able to win. We have the top defense in the league. I've coached other teams before. There's something special about this group of kids. I've created more of a bond with them."
Ceres' defense has allowed just 75 points this season.
"We've scored over 200 points," Johnson said.