Turlock High overcame the loss of two star players Friday night with a crushing win over longtime rival Modesto High, 55-21, at Joe Debley Stadium.
After suffering the loss of Allen ‘Bear’ Padilla two weeks ago against Oakdale High, the Bulldogs lost defensive standout Jereicho Taamu in the opening series of Friday’s game against the Panthers. The Bulldogs, led by quarterback Peyton Dunseth and running back Danny Velasquez, weren’t fazed, however, and were eager for redemption after last week’s cancellation against Clovis West.
With the help of Dunseth’s three touchdowns and Velasquez’s two, the Bulldogs dominated the Panthers despite a lethargic start.
“We were just hungry. We hadn’t played in a week so we wanted to hit somebody else on a different team and we came out and executed the game plan like we did all week,” Dunseth said.
“We were so mad that we couldn’t play against Clovis West,” Velasquez said. “I don’t know if you remember, but I was really looking forward to that matchup and I wanted to see what we had and today we came out and were hungry.”
The Bulldogs were more than hungry, they were starving for the opportunity to prove a point and for the second time in four weeks, they rolled over a Modesto Metro Conference team by scoring over 43 points or more and tallying 498 total yards of offense.
Mustafa Noel-Johnson, Padilla’s replacement at tight end, caught a 23-yard touchdown grab from Dunseth in the opening series before Modesto scored two unanswered touchdowns. Turlock’s Michael Linares followed with a touchdown run from nine yards out to tie it at 14 apiece with 3:35 left in the second quarter.
“I think the biggest thing was that we were rusty at first. The defense especially came out and was rusty, then they came on at the end and played sound defense like I know they can play,” Turlock head coach James Peterson said.
Turlock struck once more before the end of the first half when Dunseth found Velasquez in the corner of the end zone for a 21-yard catch with seven seconds left on the clock.
“I came out here and was planning on giving in 110 percent and that’s what I did,” Dunseth said. “Sooner or later my team took over and got some nice blocks from my linemen, and it helps having other skilled players that the defense has to watch as well.”
By the time the second half started, it was basically over.
The defense and offense began to roll and click on all cylinders, backed by Velasquez’ 120 yards rushing on 11 carries and two catches for 22 yards.
Dunseth was 7-for-12 for 106 yards and two scores through the air along with 11 carries for 127 yards and a rushing touchdown.
“We kind of made a statement to show teams around here that we are ready for business and we want to play hard and win our league and eventually make it to playoffs,” Dunseth added.
The Turlock defense held the Panthers offense to only 80 yards in the second half and one touchdown while the Bulldogs offense outscored the Panthers 34-7 in the second half.
“I came back and told the guys that we need to bounce back from it and told them not to hang their heads and I told them to do it for Jereicho, so I used it as a positive and it worked, they got after it,” Peterson said.
Turlock’s next game will be played on the road against last year’s Sac Joaquin Section runner-ups and the team that eliminated Turlock in the playoffs. The game will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday.
“We really owe Tracy one. We lost twice to them, we got to go… it’s our team and that is all of our mindset,” Peterson added.