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Nine weeks of football frustration for the Bulldogs
Several members of Ceres High School's varsity football team took their frustration out on lockers following Friday night's 29-12 setback to visiting East Union.

The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 0-9 overall and 0-6 in the Valley Oak League standings. Ceres High is closing in on its second winless season in three years.

"We've put in a lot of effort and got nothing in return," Bulldog senior Justin Canatsy said.

Ceres High got off to a promising start against East Union (4-5, 2-4) as sophomore quarterback Nick Welsh engineered a 10-play, 53-yard scoring drive midway through the first quarter. Fullback Jesse Gutierrez barreled his way into the end zone from the 1-yard line.

The Bulldogs struggled the rest of the way thanks to three fumbles and two interceptions. Ceres mustered just 184 yards of total offense.

Welsh completed 6 of 14 passes for 94 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble. Backup George Borden lost two fumbles on muffed quarterback-center exchanges.

Canatsy caught five passes for 74 yards with one TD. He rushed for 37 yards on nine carries. Justin also made three tackles at cornerback.

"We played good for one quarter," he said. "Turnovers on offense and mental mistakes killed us. We should have beat them. We're a better football team."

East Union signal caller Dennis Johnson had a memorable game against the Bulldogs, tallying three rushing touchdowns and one passing. He finished 13 of 22 for 195 yards.

Speedy receiver Tj Brown hauled in seven passes for 113 yards with one touchdown.

The Lancers built a 15-6 lead in the opening half. Johnson threw a 60-yard TD pass to Brown and scored on a 4-yard run in the second quarter.

Dennis' final two touchdowns (4, 1) came in the fourth quarter. His second score extended the Lancers' lead to 29-6 with 9:07 to play.

Welsh delivered a 15-yard strike to Canatsy in the left-corner of the end zone at the 1:43 mark.

Bulldog middle linebacker Hadon Lopez finished the contest with 11 tackles and one sack. Jeremy Cagle had six tackles and one interception. Brandon Jolley added eight tackles.

East Union was picked to finish behind Ceres High in the Manteca Bulletin's preseason media poll.

"A lot of people expected us to be at the bottom," Johnson said. "That definitely gave us motivation. We were hungry this year."

Ceres High will try to end nine weeks of frustration when it wraps up the VOL season against crosstown rival Central Valley (3-6, 1-5) this Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

JV Bulldogs suffer another close loss

Ceres High School's JV football team has experienced a handful of gut-wrenching losses this year.

The Bulldogs dropped their seventh straight game Friday, 41-33, to visiting East Union.

"We start strong and have trouble finishing," head coach Brandon Moring said. "We can't get over the hump."

Ceres High fell to 2-7 on the year and 0-6 in the Valley Oak League. The Bulldogs are 0-5 in games decided by eight points or less.

"We want to win but what's most important is preparing the kids for varsity football," Moring said. "I think we've done that."

Ceres High lost despite turning in one of its best offensive games of the season.

Freshman quarterback Blake Hurst tallied five touchdowns, including four passing and one rushing.

Tight end Anthony Amirfar scored twice, and Binder Atwal hauled in a 50-yard TD reception as the Bulldogs built a 19-14 lead in the first half.

Hurst scored on a QB keeper and connected with receiver Ivan Raya for a touchdown after intermission.

"Offensively, we played really well," Moring said. "We hadn't scored that many points all year. The line did fantastic. It was a good team effort."

Ceres High's defense allowed five touchdowns of 50-plus yards.

"Every time they scored, it was on big plays," Moring said. "If we could have stopped them a couple of times, we would have had a chance to win the game. That was the difference."

The Bulldogs' final possession ended with a turnover in East Union territory late in the fourth quarter.

Ceres High will close out the VOL season against Central Valley (1-5) on Friday at Bulldog Stadium. The game will get underway at 5 p.m.

"It's a huge rivalry game," Moring said. "I think the kids are up for the challenge. They're itching for a win. We haven't won since Week 2."

Frosh Bulldogs end four-game losing streak

Ceres High's freshman football team used strong play on both sides of the ball during Thursday's 34-20 road triumph over East Union.

The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Bulldogs, who moved to 2-6-1 overall and 2-4 in the Valley Oak League standings.

"We played four good quarters," Ceres High head coach Bill Curlis said. "Everybody had their assignments down. I knew we had the potential to do that."

Two-way starter Devon Ruger, who returned to the Bulldogs' lineup after missing the previous week's game due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, scored twice on short runs. He also contributed at defensive end, kicker and punter.

"I was just happy to see him alive," Curlis said.

Running back Seth Garza had a pair of rushing scores and a 2-point conversion. He also intercepted a pass on defense.

Quarterback Jim Pernetti hit receiver Caden Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown.

Luis Arroyo had a 2-point conversion catch.

Defensive tackle Anthony Robbins recovered a fumble.

Ceres High outscored East Union 20-6 in the second half.

The Bulldogs' defensive unit had an impressive goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. Garza had an interception late in the game.

Crosstown rivals Ceres High and Central Valley (0-6) will battle in a VOL finale on Thursday at Bulldog Stadium. Kickoff slated for 6 p.m.

"It's going to be a good game," Curlis said. "I don't care what the records are. If we can get one more win, we'll tie for fourth in conference. Beating us will make their whole season."