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Seahawks qualify for Pro Football Hall of Fame tourney
Anthony Martinez (running) and the Ceres Seahawks varsity youth football team will play in Pro Football Hall of Fame Youth National Championship this week in Ohio. - photo by Photo courtesy of Willie Solorio

The Ceres Seahawks varsity youth football team will travel to Canton, Ohio this week to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Youth National Championship.

Ceres was awarded a berth to the prestigious event after taking first at the Dec. 1-2 Santa Rosa Regional.

"It's a great achievement," head coach Anthony Lopez said. "We were on the watch list last year when our JV team went 15-0. As a group, these kids are 54-2 in their last 56 games. That's why we got the invite. They're amazing every time they step on the field. They play well together. They take direction really well. They play hard and physical. They're not afraid to hit."

Fourth-seeded Ceres won both of its games at the Santa Rosa Regional and improved its overall record to 16-1.

"We had a chip on our shoulder," coach Lopez said. "We felt like we were the top seed. We had to earn our respect."

Ceres shut out second-seeded Santa Rosa 14-0 in the championship game on Dec. 2 at Windsor High School.

The Seahawks amassed 274 yards on the ground.

Julian Lopez carried the ball 12 times for 124 yards and one touchdown.

Anthony Izaiah Lopez rushed for 89 yards and one TD on 13 carries.

Anthony Martinez gained 46 yards on eight carries.

Isaiah Epps added 15 yards on five carries.

"We line up and play powerhouse football all game," coach Lopez said. "That's the identity of this group."

Roberto Tiscareno made one of his two point-after kicks.

Eli Castillo starred on defense with two sacks.

Ruben Valenzuela chipped in with seven tackles.

Martinez, Anthony Izaiah Lopez, Saranpreet Khabra and Austin Munguia registered six tackles each.

Julian Lopez, Eli Beltran and Jordan Mendoza all had five tackles.

Ceres beat Santa Rosa despite fumbling twice and having a touchdown called back in the opening half.

"They're probably the second-best team we've played all year," coach Lopez said. "We settled down in the second half and played Seahawk football. We dominated."

Ceres coasted to a 34-0 win over the top-seeded Napa Saints in the semifinals on Dec. 1.

Anthony Izaiah Lopez piled up 158 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

Martinez ran for 35 yards and one TD on six carries.

Julian Lopez added 54 yards on seven carries and tossed a 22-yard TD pass to Valenzuela.

Tiscareno converted all four of his PATs.

Beltran registered six tackles and one safety.

Martinez, Mendoza, Valenzuela and Anthony Izaiah Lopez tallied five tackles apiece.

Khabral and Munguia and Julian Lopez all had four tackles.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Youth National Championship will be staged, Dec. 13-17.

"Legacy," coach Lopez said. "That's been our word all season. We're trying to put Ceres on the map. We'll represent the Seahawks and city really well."