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Varsity Bulldogs struggle after promising start
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Ceres High forced Manteca to punt on its first possession during Friday night's Valley Oak League varsity football game. After that, it was all downhill.

The visiting Bulldogs allowed two punt return touchdowns, committed four turnovers and managed just 74 yards of offense in losing 41-0 to the Buffaloes at Gus Schmidt Field.

Last-place Ceres High remained winless on the year (0-7) and in league (0-4).

Second-place Manteca moved to 5-2 and 3-1.

"We had a great game plan," Bulldogs head coach Brett Johnson said. "For whatever reason, we could not click, offensively. We haven't been able to get any consistency at the line because of injuries."

The Buffaloes tallied 10 first downs, 278 yards and just one turnover on offense.

Ceres High had two first downs and punted eight times. The Buffaloes limited the Bulldogs to 35 yards rushing on 25 carries.

Sophomore Nick Welsh played quarterback and cornerback for Ceres High. He completed 5 of 12 passes for 39 yards with no picks. Welsh returned an interception 50 yards to the Manteca 18.

"I'm really impressed with his toughness," Johnson said.

Bulldog all-purpose player Nick Sandoval totaled 112 yards on five kickoff returns.

Ceres High middle linebacker Hadon Lopez registered a career-high 24 tackles.

Manteca running back Marquis Miller turned in a 92-yard, two-touchdown performance.

All-purpose player Reggie Bell excited the Homecoming crowd when he returned a pair of punts for touchdowns (60 and 62 yards).

Quarterback Matt Barber connected with running back Robert Ladiges on a 7-yard TD strike.

Backup running back Zach Gase rumbled 50 yards for a score with 1:18 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Buffaloes scored 14 points off two Bulldog turnovers en route to building a 34-0 lead in the first half.

"You can't turn the ball over, give up big plays and expect to win," Johnson said. "Defensively, we played really well. Prior to that run (Gase's TD scamper), we held them to 109 rushing yards."

Ceres High will have its hands full this Friday when facing Sierra (6-1, 3-1) at Daniel Teicheira Field. The Timberwolves are coming off a disappointing 17-7 loss at Sonora (6-1, 3-1).

"I'd like to see us go through a game with no turnovers and see how close it is," Johnson said. "That's our goal."