By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Jr. Bulldogs sign up 138 football players, 45 cheerleaders
Head coach Albert Padilla addresses members of the Ceres Jr. Bulldogs varsity youth football team at practice on Aug. 10 at Cesar Chavez Jr. High. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Joseph Estrada has been affiliated with the Ceres Jr. Bulldogs Youth Football & Cheer Organization since its inception in 2013.

"I got a lot on my plate," said Estrada, president, rookies head coach and league commissioner. "I wish I could just coach but somebody has to be that person."

The Jr. Bulldogs registered 138 football players and 45 cheerleaders, aged 5-14, for their fifth season of competition.

"We're excited for the new year," Estrada said. "There's so much talent. We're going to have a great season."

Ceres will be offering five levels of football for the first time this year, including varsity, junior varsity, rookies, starts and future.

The Jr. Bulldogs starts team capped off the 2016 campaign with a 28-6 win over the El Capitan Gauchos in the Central Valley Gridiron Youth Football Super Bowl. Ceres amassed a perfect 11-0-0 record on the year.

The newly-established future team will feature players, aged 5-6.

Six-year-olds previously competed in the starts division.

"We voted it (the new age group) in in March," Estrada said. "It was a safety issue. We want to keep the kids safe. We'll see how it goes."

Football players are required to complete 14 hours of conditioning before engaging in full contact.

Practices are held Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m., at Cesar Chavez Jr. High School.

"We purchased brand-new helmets for all the kids," Estrada said.

Estrada (rookies), Albert Padilla (varsity), Jay Andrews (junior varsity), Jim Vaz (starts) and Jose Martinez (future) will coach Ceres' football squads.

Clinton Clifford (varsity), Jasmine Estrada (junior varsity), Stella Tapia (rookies), Barbara Valenzuela (starts) and Bri Flores (Future) will direct the Jr. Bulldogs' cheer squads.

CVGYF expanded from six to nine teams for the 2017 season.
Ceres will battle the Riverbank Jr. Bruins (Sept. 2), Lodi Jr. Flames (Sept. 9), Salida Steeler-Jags (Sept. 16), El Capitan Jr. Gauchos (Sept. 30), Stockton Jaguars (Oct. 7), Central Valley Jets (Oct. 14), Delhi Jr. Hawks (Oct. 21) and Jr. Pride (Oct. 28). "Most of the organizations are feeder programs for the high schools," Estrada said. "That's pretty cool."

Ceres will open the season versus the Jr. Bruins the first weekend of September at Riverbank High School.

Future, starts, rookies, junior varsity and varsity will play at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

"It's hard to predict the future," Estrada said while talking about the long-term success of the Jr. Bulldogs. "I think we're on the right track."