High School Football

‘Flying in his own direction.’ Dalton Durossette leaves Ceres for Central Catholic.

Three-sport athlete Dalton Durossette has transferred to Central Catholic High School.

The former Ceres standout enrolled in classes on Feb. 13, marking the start of a new chapter for an athletic family with deep roots at Ceres High School.

The 16-year-old sophomore was virtually raised on campus, bouncing between classrooms and fields where his parents –Bret and Angela Durossette – have more than 40 years of teaching and coaching experience.

In less than two, Dalton established himself as one of the most versatile young talents in the Stanislaus District. He was an impact player for the Bulldogs in football, basketball and baseball, but sought a new challenge at Central Catholic.

“I think it’s been harder on mom and dad,” said Bret, who recently stepped down as the Ceres High football coach after 13 total seasons. “We go to school together. We eat lunch together. We do everything together.”

Not anymore.

His son is charting a new course at a school with a rich tradition and lofty standards in and out of the classroom. At Central Catholic, Bret said his son would be reunited with former classmates from the Ceres area.

“I played against Central Catholic when I was in high school. Walking the halls and seeing the pictures of the people in their hall of fame ... I’m in the Ceres High hall of fame and he won’t be able to do that,” Bret said. “Now the wings are cut and he’s flying in his own direction. We’ll still mentor him, but we see this as a blessing. God has given him this opportunity to see what he’s capable of.”

It’s unclear whether Dalton will be eligible to play varsity baseball this spring.

His club coach – Danny Ayala of NorCal Valley Baseball – is also the Raiders’ skipper, and Dalton’s arrival may be viewed as “pre-enrollment contact” by Sac-Joaquin Section officials. Dalton will likely be subject to the section’s sit-out period for football and basketball, as well.

Bret said the decision to transfer was made in early December, but Dalton was adamant about finishing the basketball season. He ranked among the team leaders in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

Ceres finished 12-15 and failed to qualify for the postseason.

“He wasn’t going to quit on the basketball coach (T.J. Walker Jr.),” said Bret, whose daughter, Cheralyn, will remain at Ceres. “It’s been a tough journey. It’s been a tough journey just knowing we’re traveling somewhere else with him. Our words of wisdom to him were: ‘This will make you stronger.’ ”

Dalton was named to the all-Western Athletic Conference teams in football and baseball.

He was a first-team selection in baseball last spring, when, as a freshman, he hit .410 with 22 RBIs, 34 runs and 11 stolen bases. He was also 7-4 on the mound with a 2.53 ERA, and made regional headlines when he no-hit Livingston on 94 pitches.

Dalton was an all-league second-team selection at quarterback this past fall. He completed 135 of his 247 passes and threw for 1,709 yards and 16 touchdowns.

With his size and speed, Dalton is an intriguing prospect under center. There are few QBs in the region with his measurables. Dalton is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, and has been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

He’ll compete for snaps with incumbent Kyle Jackson, also a sophomore.

“In a lot of ways this is going to help him grow as an individual and a young man,” Bret said. “When you’re going into a situation you may not have planned for, and you’re going to a school that’s going to make you compete at a higher level, that is very good thing.”