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League honors earned
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When the Valley Oak League announced its all-conference teams on Nov. 26 in Oakdale, six members of Ceres High's varsity football program were honored.

Matt Smith was named to the VOL first team. The 6-foot-tall, 187-pound senior punted 36 times for 1,327 yards (36.9 yards per attempt). He had four punts over 50 yards. He downed three punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

"He got us out of some jams," Ceres coach Brett Johnson said.

One Bulldog-freshman middle linebacker Hadon Lopez-was selected to the second team.

Sidelined for four of seven league games with a fractured right pinkie, the 5-foot-8, 165-pounder managed to tally 46 tackles and return an interception 24 yards for a touchdown. Lopez also rushed for 45 yards and a score on seven carries.

"If he would have played in all the league games, he would have been a first-team pick," Johnson said. "It will give him motivation to do well next year."

Marcus Hilgen, Martino Bertolotti, Thomas Vanderlaan and Justin Hidahl received honorable-mention accolades.

Hilgen, a 5-foot-7, 152-pound junior, was a two-way starter. He collected 70 tackles and one interception at defensive back. Marcus totaled 256 yards of offense, including 145 rushing, 56 passing and 55 receiving. He scored once on the ground.

"I was surprised Marcus didn't get at least second team," Johnson said. "He played the game with high intensity. That's exactly what you look for in a player."

Bertolotti, a 5-foot-8, 141-pound junior, was Ceres High's most versatile player.

He logged time at receiver and defensive back.

Martino caught 16 passes for 237 yards.

He tallied 19 tackles and two interceptions.

He also returned punts and kickoffs.

"Martino played wherever we needed him," Johnson said. "He was very disciplined. He was a very smart player."

Vanderlaan, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound senior, started at center on offense. He made 17 tackles while playing on the defensive line.

"He was a very selfless player," Johnson said.

Hidahl, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior, registered 33 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries at defensive end.

"He did a great job," Johnson said.

Ceres finished in eighth place in the VOL standings (0-7).

Team Awards

Lopez, Hilgen, Bertolotti, Hidahl, Vanderlaan, Devin Eudy and Zack Atchison received special recognition during the Bulldogs' end-of-year banquet on Nov. 14 at the student center.

"The team voted," Johnson said.

Lopez and Hilgen shared the Defensive Most Valuable Player Award.

Bertolotti was named Offensive MVP.

Hidahl took home the Most Valuable Lineman Award.

Team Captain awards were won by Vanderlaan, Atchison and Eudy.