By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The best games I have ever seen
Placeholder Image
For the past six years, I've lived and breathed high school sports. I've been fortunate enough to see some phenomenal games along the way.

The best game I've ever seen was played on March 9, 2005 in Sacramento. Cameras flashed as Ceres High varsity girls basketball coach Shawna Nunes held the blue section title banner above her head. Her players stood in the background with smiles on their faces and gold medals around their necks. After celebrating near midcourt for several minutes in front of more than 500 Ceres fans, the Bulldogs posed for a group picture and gathered in a conference room for a postgame interview. Nunes and second-seeded Ceres High overcame a 14-point deficit by tallying 20 unanswered points and defeated 13th-seeded Vacaville 57-46 at Arco Arena to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title, its first in school history. Jessica Mazza scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both career highs, for the Bulldogs. The junior hadn't reached double figures in either offensive category the entire season.

Four other games that I've witnessed stand out in my mind.

Nov. 18, 2004

Cruz Flores pointed to his T-shirt while celebrating with his teammates and coaches near the 50-yard line on a cold and rainy night at Ceres High School. Members of the Ceres High varsity football team wore white shirts under their pads with the slogan '1 Game-1 Play at a Time-Believe.' The Bulldogs battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit and defeated Downey 26-24 to claim a share of the Modesto Metro Conference title and berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs for the second year in a row. Only three Ceres teams have won a league championship since 1968. Senior Ray Robles rushed for 93 yards and scored three touchdowns for Ceres, which outscored Downey 19-7 in the second half. Seniors Brian Borges and Taleni Uti sealed the win with a stellar play on defense. Borges forced a fumble and Uti recovered the ball at the 50-yard line with 1:26 remaining. The previous year, Downey posted a 39-21 victory over the Bulldogs to earn a share of the Central California Conference crown. Ceres finished in second place.

May 11, 2007

Playing in front of more than 125 fans, Central Valley High School's first-ever varsity baseball team rallied for a 3-2 upset victory over Ceres High in the Valley Oak League season finale for both programs. The Bulldogs needed to win to secure a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Playoff berth. Hawk sophomore pitcher Martin Gomez turned in his finest performance of the year, fanning nine batters and surrendering just four hits over seven innings. He walked off the mound after inducing a game-ending popup in the top of the seventh, then was mobbed by his teammates. It took a team effort to rally past Ceres High in the bottom of the fifth inning. Chris Mullan reached first base on a bunt, stole second and scored on Ricky Rogers' double to center field to even the score at 1-1. Rogers advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Angel Sandoval's two-strike, two-out double to center. Sandoval scored on Isreal Trevino's grounder, which got past Ceres' shortstop. In the top of the seventh inning, Ceres' Jimmy Perales singled to center and moved to second when Mullan stumbled while charging the ball. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Ricky Walters' two-out infield single to cut the deficit to one. Walters stole second, but was stranded.

Feb. 4, 2004

Visiting Turlock High School held a 10-point lead at halftime. The Ceres High boys basketball team mounted an impressive comeback in the second half of the Central California Conference contest. Junior Derrick Goblirsch spun past a defender and made a layup with three seconds to play to lift Ceres to a 54-53 victory over first-place Turlock, which had its 15-game winning streak snapped. Goblirsch led Ceres with 13 points. Charlie Cunha and Zack Wiedenbeck contributed 11 points each. Brad Simmons added eight points. Ceres outscored Turlock 18-13 in the fourth quarter. Simmons and Cunha banked in back-to-back 3-pointers to put Ceres ahead by one, 46-45, with 3:17 left in regulation. Benny Koochoie buried two 3-pointers in the span of 90 seconds to give Turlock a 51-48 lead with 1:31 remaining. Wiedenbeck knocked down a mid-range jumper and Simmons made two free throws to put Ceres ahead by one, 52-51, with 53.5 seconds left. Turlock's Ryan Barker made one of two free throws to even the score at 52-all. Koochoie had a chance to tie the game. But he missed a short jumper as time expired, setting off a wild celebration at midcourt. Goblirsch, Wiedenbeck and Co. were engulfed by their classmates. Ceres, which lost the first meeting by 28 points, did the unexpected.

Dec. 6, 2006

Michael Valenzuela didn't try to hide his disappointment after the Ceres Cowboys lost 22-20 to the South Stockton Vikings in overtime of the Delta Youth Football League varsity division Super Bowl at Johansen High School. He ripped off his helmet and flung it to the wet turf before being comforted by head coach Jr. Johnson. South Stockton tallied a touchdown on its opening possession of overtime and booted the 2-point kick for a 22-14 lead. Terrence Sadler scored on a 10-yard run around the left end on Ceres' first play from scrimmage in the extra period. Valenzuela's potential game-tying kick was blocked. The Cowboys, the No. 2 seed from the South Division, compiled a 10-3 record on the year. Ceres made its first Super Bowl appearance since winning the title in 1987. The Vikings, the No. 1 seed from the North Division, posted a perfect 13-0 record on the year.

What's in store for 2007-08? The new year brings hope for Ceres High and Central Valley coaches, player and fans.