A week removed from losing 16-6 to the Oakdale Stampede in the Cen-Cal AFC title game, the Ceres Seahawks varsity youth football team executed at a high level in all three phases in routing the Turlock Pride 40-0 for third place Saturday afternoon at Turlock High School.
"This is the third time I've had to coach in this game," Ceres leader Joe Borba said. "It was really difficult to get the kids motivated for the game in 2007. This group just wants to play football. They'll play anyone in front of them."
Ceres compiled a 12-1 record this year.
The Seahawks won the AFC regular-season title with a perfect 6-0 mark.
Ceres fell one win shy of advancing to the Super Bowl.
The second-seeded Stampede snapped the top-seeded Seahawks' 11-game unbeaten streak.
Oakdale avenged a 24-14 setback.
"Obviously, we're disappointed," Borba said. "We would have rather played Saturday night in the Super Bowl. But Oakdale was the better team. We fell short this year."
The fourth-seeded Pride never posed a threat during last week's Friendship Bowl.
The Seahawks were hungry.
"The kids were pretty amped up after what happened last week," Borba said. "They proved they're a much better team."
Isaiah Epps carried the ball three times for 110 yards and two touchdowns in propelling Ceres past Turlock.
Quarterback Julian Lopez rushed for 68 yards and one TD on two carries.
He tossed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Lopez.
Julian and Anthony are cousins.
Anthony ran for 62 yards on four carries.
Ruben Valenzuela had a 1-yard rushing TD.
Epps collected a team-high 11 tackles on defense.
Austin Munguia had 10 tackles and one sack.
Julian Lopez had four tackles and two interceptions.
Ceres outscored Turlock 24-0 in the first quarter on its way to building a commanding 32-0 lead in the opening half.
Epps raced 95 yards for a touchdown.
Valenzuela plowed his way into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
Julian connected with Anthony on a 45-yard scoring play.
Epps had a 7-yard rushing TD in the second quarter.
Julian Lopez accounted for the Seahawks' final touchdown.
He scooted 62 yards for a score.
Epps, Julian Lopez and Anthony Lopez were all major contributors on offense during the Cen-Cal season.
Anthony piled up 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.
Julian rumbled for 615 yards and 11 TDs.
Epps rushed for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Seahawks won the majority of their games by blowout.
"A lot of their stats came in the first half," Borba said.
Ceres reeled off 11 straight wins before losing to Oakdale.
The Stampede defeated the Merced Bears 48-26 for the 2017 Super Bowl crown.
"We're lucky to have a team like this," Borba said. "These kids work hard. They hold each other accountable. They have a really high football IQ. It's a special group. It's definitely one of the better teams I've been a part of."
Ceres will play in the National Youth Football League Pigskin Tournament this weekend in Las Vegas.