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Jr. Bulldogs gear up for 2015 season
Youth organization joins new league
The Jr. Buldogs signed up 114 football players for their fourth season of competition, including varsity quarterback Miguel Herrera. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

The Ceres Jr. Bulldogs Football & Cheer Organization will kick off its fourth season on Sept. 12 with a road games versus the Modesto Jets.

"I'm excited," said Joe Estrada, first-year president. "We got good numbers this year, better than last season. Our numbers are increasing by the minute. I get phone calls at work three times a day."

The Jr. Bulldogs attracted 114 football players and 73 cheerleaders, aged 6-14, for the 2015 season.

Ceres' football coaches are Tom Vasquez (varsity), Shaun Johnson (junior varsity), Damian Flores (rookies) and Pedro Diaz (starts).

Deneane Beaulieu (varsity), Maricela Sanchez (junior varsity), Victoria Preciado (pee wee) and Estella Tapia (rookies) are the Jr. Bulldogs' cheer coaches.

Members of the Bay Valley Gridiron Conference for the past three seasons, the Jr. Bulldogs will compete in the Snoop Youth Football League (Nor Cal) this year.

"Our new league pushes academics," Estrada said. "If you don't have a 2.5 grade-point average, you'll get suspended for one game. They do grade checks twice a season."

Ceres' regular-season schedule includes games against the Modesto Jets (Sept. 12), Lodi Flames (Sept. 19), Stockton Raiders (Sept. 26), Mid-Peninsula Mastodons (Oct. 3), Lodi Flames (Oct. 10), Patterson Reapers (Oct. 17), Daily City Stars (Oct. 24) and San Jose Hit Squad (Oct. 31).

"It's up there with Delta Youth Football League," Estrada said while comparing SYFL with other local conferences. "It's tougher competition. It's going to be a dogfight. If we make it to the Super Bowl, it will be played in Los Angeles."

The Jr. Bulldogs will no longer play their home games at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.

Ceres will host three games at Central Valley and one at Ceres High.

"I'm very thankful," Estrada said. "I'm looking forward to playing at our local high schools for the first time. Our kids will get an opportunity to showcase their talent."

The Jr. Bulldogs practice Monday through Friday, from 6-8 p.m., at Chavez.