There was less than three minutes left in regulation, Turlock High led Johansen High 1-0 and the Knights were getting desperate. The majority of Tuesday's Division II SJS playoff match was spent in a virtual stalemate with the ball frequenting both ends of the field, but it could all be over if Turlock's defense could hold strong.
There was a time, nearly a decade ago, when Turlockers had only one football team to root for and an out of town rivalry with Ceres High to look forward to each year. Then, in 2004, things suddenly changed. Pitman High was introduced to the Central California Conference, ushering in a new era of football to the Valley and creating an in-town rivalry culminating in a late-October Harvest Bowl.
Turlock High matched last year's performance with a 7th place finish at this season's San Joaquin Section Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton. The Central California Conference Champion Bulldogs finished the day with a total of 466 strokes, beating half the field of 14 high school teams.
Delhi hosted Turlock Christian High Friday night for the Hawks' homecoming game.
Turlock High entered its final home game of the season facing a daunting task -the undefeated and league leading Buhach Colony High Thunder. Fresh off a one score loss against Atwater High, the Bulldogs were hoping a Friday night upset would steer their team towards the playoffs, but Buhach had a different plan altogether.
It was the last Central California Conference match of the year on Thursday when Pitman High hosted Turlock High - but for some it was the last of their lifetime, a fact that wasn't lost on the Lady Bulldogs. End game nostalgia resulted in a desire to go out with a bang. Turlock did just that, jumping on the Pride early on its way to a 5-2 victory that just so happened to also clinch a spot in the Division I San Joaquin Section playoffs as the CCC's third seed.
There was no shortage of motivation Thursday night when Turlock High traveled across town to face Pitman High in the final water polo match of the Central California Conference season. In addition to the in-town rivalry, the Bulldogs were eager to erase the memories from their last meeting with the Pride. Above all, however, Turlock wanted a win to keep its post-season hopes alive.
It was a shaky beginning to the Central California Conference season for Turlock High this year. In their first six games the Bulldogs surprisingly went 1-3-2, leading many in the league to believe the defending champs were in decline.
Hilmar High's hopes of claiming a share of the Trans Valley League volleyball championship evaporated Tuesday night when unbeaten Escalon High rolled into town. In a match reminiscent of the rivals' meeting earlier in the year, the Cougars beat the Yellowjackets 3-1 (14-25, 26-24, 25-27, and 25-19). Although missing out on the league title was a bitter pill to swallow, giving up their only losses of the season to Escalon was even tougher for Hilmar.
Turlock High's girls claimed their 9th consecutive Central California Conference Championship with an impressive showing at the Championship Tournament at the Merced Country Club. The Bulldogs finished the day with a team score of 439, 27 strokes in front of second place Merced High. Rival Pitman High finished third with 505.
Pitman High's Britney Leon spent last season competing on the tennis court in the doubles bracket but her sights were always set on singles glory. She worked on her game through the summer and when the 2012 season began she found herself representing the Pride as the number one singles player, positioning herself as the unquestioned leader of her team.
Turlock and Pitman High took part in the Delong Invitational in Stockton and Modesto this past weekend, their last tournament of the 2012 water polo season. The Bulldogs competed in the A bracket and the Pride competed in the B bracket but both finished 3-2 after two days, giving the teams a dose of confidence before their final cross-town matchup and the end of the Central California Conference season.
Friday night's Southern League matchup between Turlock Christian (3-5), and Denair (1-7), dealt TC its fifth straight loss as Denair picked up its second consecutive win.
With 5:47 left in the first half, Hilmar's Breck Smith went in from 2-yards out and the Yellowjackets added the point after, trimming the Escalon Cougars' lead to 14-7. Unfortunately for Hilmar, that was as close as they would get, and the host Cougars put the clamps on with a decisive 33-7 win on Friday night.
The Pitman High football team knew the Merced Bears were going to be a tough team to beat but the Pride didn't expect the mauling they received at home on Friday. The Bears (2-1 CCC) covered 459 yards through the air and on the ground on their way to a 44-13 rout over the Pride; it was Pitman's worst loss to date.
Pitman High entered Friday's home game against Downey High with a team characterized by its youth. With only two returning starters from last year's squad and the bulk of its roster comprised of juniors, the Pride knew that the Knights, back-to-back winners of the Modesto Metro Conference title, would be a difficult challenge to overcome in their season opener.
Turlock High began the 2014 football season the way every team hopes to -with a win. The Bulldogs traveled to Modesto to face Enochs High and came home with a tight 25-20 victory.
Denair's volleyball team has been through a rough patch the last three years, but 2014 is a whole new season.
Ty Pettigrew's girls golf squad has won three of the last four Valley Foothill League titles, and the Hilmar Lady Yellowjackets are looking to make it four out of five after the 2014 year concludes.
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