Hughson vs. Ceres
Hughson defense dominant in 32-0 win over Ceres

It’s only one game into the new football season and already the 2023 Hughson team has accomplished something last year’s state champions never did – hold another team scoreless.

The Huskies’ 32-0 road victory Friday night over Ceres was every bit as dominant as the score indicated, with Hughson’s defense allowing the Bulldogs to cross midfield just once the entire game. That was late in the first half on a drive that ended with Jesus Artea intercepting a Ceres pass in the end zone.

“We played very well (on defense),” acknowledged Hughson Coach Shaun King.

Hughson’s defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage all night, stifling Ceres’ running game completely. As a team, the Bulldogs tried 25 runs and actually lost ground – minus-5 yards for the game.

As usual, middle linebacker David Burns was all over the field with eight tackles and two sacks. He showed no lingering effects from the serious staph infection in his elbow that landed him in the hospital for three weeks last spring.

“He’s very quick – sideline to sideline,” praised King.

Defensive lineman Carlos Guizar and Ryan Borelli led the charge up front with a sack each, David Delgado had five tackles (including three for losses) and Larkin Meyer joined Artea with an interception.

Hughson’s offense, meanwhile, looked to be in midseason form right from the start. After the defense forced Ceres to punt on its first possession, the Huskies took over on their own 25-yard line. Their first play – called “Yankee” -- was a pass from Robert McDaniel to Meyer that went for 40 yards. Meyer ran a post pattern and McDaniel hit him in stride – just as King envisioned when he decided weeks ago that would be the first play of the new season.

The next play was a 25-yard run by Burns to the Ceres 10-yard line and the third play was a touchdown pass from McDaniel to Malakai Sumter.

Three plays, 75 yards and a score. Nothing to it.

“It’s like we picked up right where we left off last season,” King said.

By halftime, Hughson had built a 19-point lead and the rout was on. The Huskies added one TD each in the third and fourth quarters for the final margin.

McDaniel finished 11-for-22 passing for 214 yards and two TDs. He also ran for another score.
Alex Villarreal ran for 67 yards and one TD, Cesar Ramos added another rushing TD and Delgado caught a touchdown pass. Meyer seemed to be open all night and wound up with four catches for 116 yards.

Still, King said the Huskies weren’t as sharp as they could have been on offense.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We left a lot of points out there. We need to focus on our run game, for sure, and our pass protection. We were definitely in control, but we’ve got stuff to work on.”

King said the margin of victory was important. CalPreps – whose rankings are influential when playoff seedings are determined later in the year – places extra emphasis on victories of at least 30 points.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s 30 points or 60 points – it’s still the same,” King explained. “One of our goals is to win by 30 as much as possible.”

Hughson’s next opponent is Central Valley of Ceres, which lost 29-7 to Pitman of Turlock in its opener. The game will be Hughson’s first in Husky Memorial Stadium since last December’s 9-6 victory over Muir of Pasadena in the mud and the rain for the state title. Kickoff on Friday is at 7 p.m.

King expects Central Valley to put up a good fight.

“They turned the ball over four times in the red zone against Pitman,” he said. “They had multiple opportunities to score. It’s going to be a game this week.”