The fall of 2019 once again brought a memorable prep football season in the Journal’s coverage area that saw multiple league title winners and multiple teams earning a spot in the section title game.
Four of the five teams from the Journal’s coverage area made the postseason, while Hilmar and Denair High returned to their respective Sac-Joaquin Section Championship games.
The Yellowjackets of Hilmar reached the Division-VI SJS Championship for the third consecutive season while Denair made it to their second straight D-VII SJS final.
Turlock High saw their streak of consecutive league titles grow, as they also secured their second straight undefeated season in the Central California Athletic League and managed to tie the Harvest Bowl series at eight wins apiece, notching six straight wins over the Pride.
In the middle of that success for Turlock this past year was a herd of defensive standouts, but one of the key playmakers that made his presence known was Jacob Masihi, and he earned this year’s Defensive Player of the Year honors after anchoring the line and becoming a premier pass rusher in the area.
"It was such an honor for me to be voted as MVP because it usually goes to an offensive player and it really makes me feel proud of myself but I wouldn't have won that award if it wasn't for the other 10 guys around me. Guys like Jayden Jackson, Vinnie Gasca, and Christian Cruz all made my job so much easier, which allowed me to have that success,” said Masihi.
Turlock head coach James Peterson won Coach of the Year honors.
“That's a big compliment,” said Peterson.
Hilmar went 9-1 during the regular season, and tied with two state champions for first place (Ripon and Escalon) in the Trans-Valley League at 5-1.
The only losses this year for Hilmar came at the hands of state champions Escalon, twice, which toppled the Yellowjackets once during the regular season and then in the D6 SJS final.
Hilmar closed out the season 11-2 overall, making it to their third straight D6 section title game and a big reason for the success was because of this year’s Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Seth Miguel.
“I am very honored to be selected for the Turlock Journal Offensive Player of The Year considering all the great players to choose from,” said Miguel. “I just played the game and worked on it every week. I had a slower start than what I would have liked, but toward the end of the season — with the help of my team and my coaches — I got my footing and relaxed. Everyone just really believed in me and that was what really motivated me throughout the rest of the year. It pushed me to work even harder for the team.”
This was the second season where the Journal’s Offensive Player of the Year honor was awarded to a Hilmar High player after Isaac Sharp won it last year.
Hilmar also outscored league opponents, 180-95.
Miguel closed out the year with 1,946 yards passing in 12 games and tossed 28 touchdowns and five interceptions after completing .598 of his passes. Miguel was also second on the team in rushing yards with 511 on 77 carries while he had two scores on the ground.
Turlock High football took the CCAL title at all three levels. At the varsity level, the Bulldogs have seen major success over the past six seasons in league play.
During that time, Turlock has won four straight league titles that include two Central California Conference titles and the first two ever Central California Athletic League crowns, going undefeated the past four years at 22-0.
This year’s 5-0 CCAL season also saw the defense allow 61 total points in league play (12.2 per game). Turlock outscored opponents, 340-195, allowing an average of 16.25 points per game while putting up an average of 28.3 per game.
Over the past six seasons in league play, Turlock’s record is 30-2.
"Yeah this was a wild year man we were really close to being the top team,” said Peterson.
Turlock’s defense, however, was not to be forgotten, with their front seven able to wreak havoc against the opposition, it didn’t matter how good the other team’s record or players were, Turlock made them earn ever yard and Masihi was usually in the mix.
In fact, Turlock’s only three losses during the entire season came at the hands of three Section Champions: Clayton Valley Charter (D2 North Coast Section title), Central of Fresno (D1 Central Section title) and Oak Ridge (D1 SJS title).
Turlock sacked Central quarterback Jameson Silva seven times during their pre-league meeting while they held Silva to his second worst completion percentage game of the year at .526. Silva tossed 44 touchdowns and two interceptions during the year.
“Overall, we had a good season but I wish we would've made that final leap into the third round of playoffs this year,” said Masihi.
In the first nine games played, Masihi had 20 tackles for loss, which was a team high.
Masihi also amassed six sacks during that time-frame along with 35 total tackles.
“The main reason we had such an elite defense was because of coach Peterson,” Masihi added. “He realized how much talent and brains we had on the defense, so he put a great game plan for us every week to really capitalize on our talents. We had a lot of guys step up this year on defense during the off-season that made us great in my opinion. This year’s team had lots of talent on offense and defense and I'm just really impressed with how hard certain guys worked during the offseason. My MVP award is a reflection of our defense because we all needed each other.”
Masihi is currently talking to colleges about playing at the next level while Miguel returns next season for his senior campaign after making his junior year one to remember.
Players who stood above their peers after an outstanding individual season earned a spot in the All-Journal team. The players are made up of a first and second team selection, which saw the players nominated by their respective coaches based on individual performances.
The Journal’s award-winning web series “The Blitz” launched a revamped Season 7 with a new set and show while highlights from the 2019 season can be found at www.turlockjournal.com.
The 2019-20 All Area/Turlock Journal Team
Coach of the year: James Peterson (Turlock)
Offensive Player of the Year: Seth Miguel (Hilmar)
Defensive Player of the Year: Jacob Masihi (Turlock)
Quarterback: Brock Paslay (Turlock)
Running backs: Anthony Frias (Turlock), Zander De La Cruz (Hughson), Steven Silva (Hilmar)
Wide Receivers: Aidan Azevedo (Hilmar), Holden Baldwin (Turlock), Justin Barros (Hilmar)
Tight End: Will Knox (Denair)
Offensive Line: Everett Johnson (Turlock), Carlo Morales (Denair), Damien Caetano (Hughson), Andrew Baucom (Turlock), Efrain Duenas (Hilmar), Derek Starkey (Denair)
Defensive Line: Tamirr Bullock (Turlock), Devin Bradley (Turlock), Matt Nissan (Pitman), Jesse Martinez (Hilmar)
Linebackers: Jayden Jackson (Turlock), Rios Rogers (Turlock), Cole Bailey (Hilmar)
Defensive Backs: Darian White (Turlock), Christian Cruz (Turlock), Elvis Silva (Denair), Joseph Davis (Hilmar)
Special Teams: Diego Angel (Turlock)
Quarterback: Aiden Meyer (Hughson)
Running backs: Dylan De Silva (Denair), Josiah Gonzales (Turlock), Dalton Linn (Turlock)
Wide Receiver: Kade Morris (Pitman), Clayton Dowdy (Hughson), Trent Crowley (Hilmar)
Tight End: Harinder Garcha (Pitman)
Offensive Line: Lorenzo Marquez (Pitman), Trace Van Guilder (Hilmar), Carson Hatch (Hughson), Logan Applegate (Hughson), Solomon Ussery (Turlock), Michael Zuniga (Hilmar)
Defensive Line: Garret Hicks (Hughson), Ulisses Corrales (Denair), Drake Francis (Denair), Esteban Juarez (Hilmar)
Linebackers: Chris Avalos (Pitman), Tyler Lewis (Hughson), Christian Obando (Denair)
Defensive Backs: Jerod Moren (Pitman), Brian Hill (Hughson), Ezekiel Davis (Hughson), Cade Gilbert (Turlock)
Special Teams: Nolan Rawe (Hughson)