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Senior suffers season-ending injury
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Daniel Smith's season came to an abrupt end Friday night in Modesto. The senior cornerback broke his left fibula in the second quarter during the Ceres High football team's 26-6 loss to the Davis Spartans.

Smith got up with some help and limped to a cart. The crowd gave him an ovation as he was driven out of the stadium.

"It's disappointing," Smith said.

"Every practice and game I've gone hard."

Smith will watch from the sideline when the Bulldogs play host to the Downey Knights tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. If Ceres wins, it will share the Modesto Metro Conference title with the winner of the Modesto High/Davis game and earn a berth in the playoffs. If the Bulldogs lose, they're finished.

"That's definitely going to hurt," said Ceres High defensive coordinator Brett Johnson. "He was having a great year."

Smith ranked first on his team in fumble recoveries (2) and defensive touchdowns (2), second in interceptions (3) and seventh in tackles (40).

"He's not only a great team player," said Ceres running back Ray Robles. "He lifts up our spirits at practice."

Added Johnson: "He's one of the nicest kids I have ever met."

Junior Dingko Luangchai will replace Smith in the lineup. The junior safety has registered 22 tackles and intercepted one pass.

"Losing Daniel is big but we've got younger players who can fill in," said Ceres quarterback Derrick Goblirsch.

Smith agreed.

"It's a team game," he said.

"I think he'll fill my shoes well. He's athletic."

Downey (6-3, 3-1) enters the game with the MMC's top-rated offense. Led by Chad Draper, Brad Bispo and Daniel Gonzalez, the Knights average 384.6 yards per game.

Draper has 1,679 yards passing and 16 touchdowns. Bispo has 1,004 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. Daniel Gonzalez has 865 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.

Ceres (5-4, 3-1) ranks fourth in the MMC in offense. Led by Goblirsch, Cruz Flores and Robles, the Bulldogs average 266.3 yards per game.

Goblirsch has 1,577 yards passing and 11 touchdowns. Flores has 605 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Robles has 444 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

"If we work as a team we can do it," said Smith, as he hobbled off the Ceres High practice field on crutches on Monday. "I don't want a repeat of last year."

The last time the Bulldogs played the Knights, Downey beat Ceres High 39-21 and claimed a share of the Central California Conference title during the 2003-2004 school year.

Two of Ceres' top defensive players, Cruz Leon and Tommy Degenstein, were sidelined with injuries. "If we play up to our ability, we're going to win," Goblirsch said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier