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Panthers pound Bulldogs, 29-7
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Friday night's contest pitted the Ceres High varsity football team against Modesto High at Chuck Hughes Stadium. The Bulldogs and Panthers shared the Modesto Metro Conference title in 2004 with identical 4-1 records.

Modesto High, which returned a wealth of experience from last season, entered the game as the favorite. Hit hard by graduation, Ceres High watched the Panthers reel off 29-unanswered points en route to a 29-7 victory.

The Bulldogs fell to 1-5 overall, 0-1 in the MMC.

Modesto improved to 3-3 overall, 1-1 in the league standings.

“A lot of trash talking,” Ceres tight end Jake Loveland said. “A lot of hard hitting. It was a fun game to play in. We played with a lot of heart. Nobody seemed to give up.”

Ceres couldn't slow down Modesto's rushing attack. The Panthers gained 202 yards on 37 carries. James Williams shed, ran over and carried defenders. He ran for 126 yards on 15 carries and scored three touchdowns. Samuel Nasher ran for 35 yards on 11 carries. Quarterback Joey Estrada added 27 yards on seven carries. He completed 3 of 11 passes for 77 yards with two interceptions to Ceres defensive back Dingko Luangchai.

Modesto maintained a 16-0 lead at halftime.

Williams scored twice on 1-yard runs. The Panthers also registered a safety.

“We kept up with them in the first quarter,” Loveland said. “Then we had mental breakdowns.”

The Bulldogs mustered just 203 yards of offense against Modesto's strong and speedy defense.

Ceres had 78 yards rushing on 37 carries. Luangchai ran for 51 yards on 17 carries. Byron Clark ran for 27 yards on nine carries.

Junior quarterback Ross Tate finished 9-for-20 with 125 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Loveland caught four passes for 37 yards. He hauled in a 5-yard TD pass from Tate. Clark had two catches for 23 yards.

The Panthers delivered punishing hits.

Ceres defensive back Daniel Munoz injured his right arm while trying to make a goal-line tackle. Williams powered his way into the end zone.

Luangchai was crushed by two defenders while trying to haul in an errant pass near the Ceres sideline. He flipped and landed on his back.

Tate was relegated to the turf for several minutes after getting the wind knocked out of him.

“They were big and intense,” Loveland said.

The Bulldogs will play host to Beyer on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Patriots edged Downey 28-21 in overtime last week. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier