The Turlock High varsity football team lost to Gregori High for the first time in school history Friday night, falling to the Jaguars 25-15 to finish third in Central California Athletic League play.
The Bulldog offense started out stagnant, fumbling the ball on their first possession to give Gregori a shot to score. Jaguar quarterback Cruz Marines led the way with a five-play drive capped by his own six-yard touchdown run and Gregori never looked back.
They went on to score twice more in the first half on a one-yard run by Marines and a 25-yard pass from the QB to Ayden Powers, both of which came in the second quarter.
“We came out flat offensively and made a mistake fumbling the ball on first down,” Turlock head coach James Peterson said. “It seemed like after that, it just took us a while to get going. It took us three quarters for us to realize, ‘Oh, we can play football again.’ And then it’s too late.”
After a scoreless third quarter, the Bulldogs came alive and scored their first touchdown of the game in the fourth thanks to an 11-play drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown by running back JT Foreman. Gregori answered right back with a 41-yard score from running back Jonathan Crespin, putting a halt to the Bulldogs’ comeback with just four minutes left to play.
Turlock wasn’t done yet, however, bringing the final score to 25-15 by way of another Foreman touchdown, this time a two-yard run. Despite outscoring Gregori 15-6 in the second half, two turnovers and 19 points in the first half was too big of a hole to climb out of for the Bulldogs.
Turlock had 59 yards of total offense in the first half compared to Gregori’s 141, but the Bulldogs picked it up in the second half and collected 186 total yards of offense to Gregori’s 132. The Bulldog defense also had eight sacks on the night.
“Our guys wanted it, but you don't always get second chances. If you start late, magic doesn’t always happen,” Peterson said.
Foreman finished the night with 145 rushing yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns. Turlock QB Cole Gilbert missed his second straight week under center due to COVID exposure and has scheduled knee surgery for nagging injury that’s bothered him most of the season, according to Peterson. Ty Teixeira, who made his first start at QB last week, and Peter Mello shared time in the pocket.
Peterson said he was proud of his team for persevering not only through a tough game, but a difficult season with plenty of setbacks.
“I thought the boys have done a good job of keeping it positive. With other teams that I've had in the past years, when things didn't go well, they start pointing fingers and start giving up,” Peterson said. “These guys show up to practice every day. They work hard, and I'm going to continue to fight for them as long as they're willing to show up and fight for me.”
Turlock’s playoff chances are up in the air after the loss, and their postseason fate lies in the hands of the Sac-Joaquin Section as they prepare to announce brackets on Sunday. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 4-6 overall and 3-2 in league play, good enough for third place in CCAL play behind Gregori (2nd) and Downey (1st).
Catch highlights from Turlock’s game on the next episode of The Blitz, up on all platforms Monday.