A model of consistency during the regular season, Ceres High’s girls flag football team continued its run of excellence in the playoffs.
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the Division-I bracket after winning back-to-back games this past week.
“It’s a step forward in the playoffs,” Ceres High senior quarterback/defensive back Marissa Renteria said. “We’re excited but not satisfied. We still have a lot to prove.”
“The girls deserve to be exactly where they’re at,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Curtis Hulstine. “They’ve worked so hard throughout the year.”
Ceres High improved to 18-2 overall.
The Bulldogs captured the Western Athletic Conference championship with a perfect 7-0 mark during the regular season.
Ceres High has won its last 14 games.
“I’m a little surprised,” Renteria said while talking about her team’s success during its inaugural season. ‘”We try to keep a good mindset and motivate each other every game.”
Visiting Ceres High shut out third-seeded Atwater 34-0 in the quarterfinals of the playoffs on Thursday.
The Bulldogs exacted revenge for a 36-6 loss.
Ceres High competed shorthanded during the first meeting as Renteria and her younger sister Mariah missed the game while recovering from COVID.
“We were excited to play Atwater again,” said Marissa Renteria. “I think they did underestimate us a little bit.”
“It was a revenge game for us,” Hulstine said. “The girls were motivated by the loss earlier in the season. I got to give a lot of credit to our defense. Our defense has only given up six points in two playoff games.”
Ceres High was looking forward to the rematch.
The Bulldogs didn’t expect to win by blowout.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a shutout,” Marissa Renteria said. “We went out there and did our job. We executed really well. We played our game.”
Marissa Renteria accounted for 337 yards and five touchdowns on offense.
She threw for 204 yards and three TDs and ran for 101 yards and two scores.
She had 33 receiving yards.
She intercepted two passes on defense.
Mariah Renteria, Hailey Tsurui, Maddie Schultz and Savannah Leifried all contributed at receiver.
Mariah Renteria had 112 yards and one touchdown.
Tsurui had 25 yards and one touchdown.
Schultz had 20 yards and one touchdown.
Leifried had 47 yards.
The Falcons posted a 21-6-1 overall record and finished in third place in the Central California Conference (11-3-0).
Host Ceres High topped 11th-seeded Lodi 30-6 in the opening round of the playoffs on Oct. 24 at CUSD Stadium.