It was one and done for the Turlock High varsity football team in the postseason when they traveled to take on a familiar foe in No. 8 Tracy in the first round of the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section Tournament on Thursday and fell 24-14.
“Things just didn't seem right,” said Turlock head coach James Peterson. “I felt like we played well, we were prepared, but something wasn't right. Little things were not going our way; every time we might bust loose we didn’t get a break all night. We just couldn't get in a rhythm offensively... it was tough.”
The Bulldogs also snap a seven-game win streak after the loss and fall to 8-3 for the season, having lost to Tracy twice in one season after dropping a pre-league game to them back on Sept. 8, 29-22.
There was some controversy over the location of the game.
The Turlock Bulldogs won their league, going a perfect 6-0 in the Central California Conference, while the Tracy Bulldogs finished in second in their league with a 4-1 record, yet still were given the chance to host a first round game.
“Definitely, we would have loved to play home, but we did have a large support group in Tracy which was cool to see,” said Peterson. “It is always a what if we hosted, can’t think about stuff like, I don’t spend time thinking like that. If we wanted a playoff game with Tracy at home then we should have beat them in the preseason.”
Tracy scored two unanswered touchdowns before Turlock responded in Thursday’s contest.
The Tracy Bulldogs got on the board first with 7:27 left on the clock in the opening quarter after Elias Williams rushed his first of two touchdowns for the game from nine-yards out.
Williams went on to add his second TD with 1:22 remaining in the first after a five-yard gash as Tracy led 14-0 heading into the second.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board when Jonah Kosakiewicz connected with tight end junior Cam Sherwood, for an eight-yard score with 10:41 left in the second to cut the lead to 14-7.
Tracy added a field goal with just over five minutes left until half as they led 17-7 at halftime.
A scoreless third made it 17-7 heading into the fourth and final quarter.
Kosakiewicz went on to add the final score for the Turlock Bulldogs after he rushed into the end zone from five-yards out with 10:06 left in the game to cut the lead to one possession at 17-14.
Tracy erased any hopes of a Turlock comeback when they scored the final TD of the game with 3:53 remaining on a 28-yard pass to make the final 24-14.
“If we played how we did in first quarter, it could have been a blowout, but whatever happened mentally in the second half we came out ready to play and to win and just fell short,” said Peterson. “It felt like we were about to hit it, but they just didn't catch that break.”
Turlock was held to 110 rushing yards while Tracy finished with 179.
Tracy also outgained Turlock in total offense 329-215. The Turlock Bulldogs finished with five sacks on the defensive side.
Turlock leaves the Central California Conference having dominated in back-to-back years, winning the league title outright with two undefeated years.
The Bulldogs of Turlock also have the CCC’s Most Valuable Player in Dustin Grein, Best Offensive Player in Kosakiewicz and Gabriel Cordero was named the Best Defensive Player.
Michael Jeffus earned Lineman of the Year honors. Dallin Tilby was chosen as the Specialist of the Year and James Peterson earned Coach of the Year honors.
Turlock also had seven other players as either first or second team selections in their respective positions.
“We had the top vote getter in every position,” said Peterson about the CCC honors. “Not only did we have a record tying year, something we haven’t done since 40s, winning back to back league titles, they have a lot to be proud of, not our year to make a run in playoffs this year.”
Peterson is enthusiastic about the 2018 season already, despite competing in a newly created league in the Central California Athletic League.
“Got a lot of guys coming back and excited to do it back next year,” said Peterson. “Those are larger schools competing at a higher level in the new CCAL, it won't be a cake walk, but I think Turlock and Pitman will be the teams to beat in that league. But you can't count out Gregori and Modesto and even Downey, it will be a tough league.”