The 2018 football season was a memorable one for teams in the Journal’s coverage area. Highlights include two state titles, a crosstown matchup to decide a league title and a revamped sports video series.
Four of the six teams in the Journal’s coverage area made the postseason, while Hilmar and Denair High not only made history by capturing Sac-Joaquin Section Championships, but they also clinched CIF State titles after monumental runs.
Hilmar went 13-2 for the year and notched their second straight Division-VI SJS banner after knocking off previously unbeaten Ripon Christian in the final, 57-14.
They followed this up by winning back-to-back state games, first against East Nicolaus in a 48-14 final followed by a 49-0 shutout over Strathmore in the CIF D 6-AA State Championship.
During their playoff run, Hilmar outscored opponents 226-53.
Leading the way was Isaac Sharp, a talented running back with multiple college offers who rushed for 1,687 yards and scored 22 touchdowns on the ground, averaging 10.3 yards per carry.
Sharp was also third on the team in receptions (18) and had the most receiving yards (418) along with six scores.
Teammate and linebacker Justin “JR” Rentfro played a big role on the defensive side, and was not only dominant, but a key reason why the offense kept the tires rolling after he rushed for 1,125 yards.
As an interior linebacker, Rentfro led the team in tackles with 131 for the year in 15 games played.
Denair High had their best season to-date and it will be difficult repeat after they won the program’s first SJS Championship at D-VII, then followed it up by winning the CIF D 7-AA State Championship, ending the season 12-1.
This was in large part to an offense that scored 524 points in 13 games played, averaging just over 40 points per game.
Other local teams also shined in 2018.
Turlock High’s run in the first-ever Central California Athletic League was perfect after they captured the league title with a 5-0 record thanks in large part to a physical and determined squad.
On the other side of town, Pitman once again, went on a tear to kick off the year after they went 9-0 for the second time in three years.
This set up the Harvest Bowl to be a winner-take-all for the CCAL title in the final game of the regular season. The Bulldogs of Turlock shutout the Pride of Pitman 33-0 in the much-anticipated crosstown game.
Both Turlock and Pitman also notched first round playoff victories and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Division-I SJS playoffs before being eliminated.
Pitman finished 10-2 while Turlock was 8-4 overall.
Standout players from each of these teams all earned spots on the All-Journal team. The players which make up the first and second team selections were nominated by their respective coaches based on individual performance for the season.
The Journal’s award-winning web series “The Blitz” launched a revamped season 6 with a new set and show. Highlights from the 2018 season can be found at www.turlockjournal.com.
The 2018-19 All Area/Turlock Journal Team
Coach of the year: Anthony Armas (Denair)
Offensive Player of the Year: Isaac Sharp (Hilmar)
Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Rentfro (Hilmar)
Quarterback: Treven Crowley (Hilmar)
Running backs: Payton Bass (Pitman), Hunter Musgrave (Denair), Lucas Curtis (Turlock)
Wide Receivers: Denzel Steckwren (Pitman), Aidan Azevedo (Hilmar)
Tight End: Cam Sherwood (Turlock)
Offensive Line: Michael Jeffus (Turlock), Nick Aguilera (Hilmar), Jared Collier (Hilmar), Everett Johnson (Turlock), Carlo Morales (Denair)
Defensive Line: Tamirr Bullock (Turlock), Scott Tyler (Pitman), Brennan Mason (Hilmar), Scott Badal (Denair)
Linebackers: Garret Fountain (Turlock), Matthew Robinson (Pitman), Garrett Bosch (Pitman), Jayden Jackson (Turlock)
Defensive Backs: Cole Cozine (Hilmar), Drew Pritchard (Denair), Marcus Garza (Pitman)
Special Teams: Bryan Millan (Hilmar)
Quarterback: Treyton Fair (Pitman)
Running backs: Steffin Winston (Denair), Jakob Partida (Pitman), Anthony Frias (Turlock)
Wide Receiver: Holden Baldwin (Turlock)
Tight End: Will Knox (Denair)
Offensive Line: Angel Favila (Pitman), Jake Diaz (Hilmar), Derek Starkey (Denair), Jeandro Ruezga (Pitman), Gabe Schaber (Turlock Christian)
Defensive Line: Jaron Azevedo (Pitman), Esteban Juarez (Hilmar), David Moreno (Hilmar), Frank Pereira (Hilmar)
Linebackers: Joao Silveira (Hilmar), Jake Dirkse (Turlock), Christian Obando (Denair)
Defensive Backs: Cole Bailey (Hilmar), Lance Couchman (Turlock), Adrian Aguilar (Delhi), Alex Correa (Delhi)
Special Teams: Christian Gardner (Turlock)
Honorable Mention: Caelan Flowers (Turlock), Andrew Baucom (Turlock), and Joey Mattos (Pitman)