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Ready to Rule
The Ceres Cardinals Youth Football & Cheer Organization has enjoyed a spike in membership.

Enrollment jumped 60 percent, from 83 to 133.

"I knew our numbers would increase but not by this much," President Anthony Estrada said. "We're pretty big. I'm happy."

The Cardinals held signups at the 24th Annual Ceres Street Faire this past May and every week at Starbucks in June. A total of 110 football players and 23 cheerleaders registered for the 2012 season.

"Ninety five percent of the kids that started with us came back," Estrada said. "We had a great season last year. We were successful and the kids had a great time."

The Cardinals' operating expenses exceed $15,000.

"Financially, it's very expensive," Estrada said. "We got a lot of parent support."

Members for the second-year organization range in age from 5-14.

Practices are held at Roeding Heights Park.

Football players train Monday through Friday from 6-8 p.m.

Cheerleaders work on routines Tuesday through Thursday. Each session lasts two hours.

"It's a family atmosphere," Estrada said. "It's all about the kids."

Ceres' head coaches are Robert Castillo (varsity), Jesus Montez (junior varsity), Alex Vargas (novice) and Richard Alderete (junior novice).

The Cardinals play a 10-game season, beginning later this month.

Ceres' Trans-Valley Youth Football League schedule includes games against the Tri-City Bulldogs (Aug. 18), Calvary Temple Warriors (Aug. 25), Hilmar Packers (Sept. 1), Delhi Raiders (Sept. 8), Mountain House Hurricanes (Sept. 15), Gustine Redskins (Sept. 22), Linden Lions (Sept. 29), Winton Cowboys (Oct. 6), Denair Lions (Oct. 13) and Big Valley Sabres (Oct. 20).

Varsity, junior varsity, novice and junior novice games are played at 3 p.m., 1 p.m., 11 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively.

"We're going to make some noise this year," Estrada said. "The first season was a learning stage. This year, we're more advanced. I am surprised our number are this big this year. I thought it would take three years."