A trio of Bulldogs have been recognized with some of the highest honors for football in the Central California Athletic League following a ninth consecutive playoff appearance.
This week, it was revealed that Turlock’s Jeremiah Bertalotto was named CCAL Co-Most Valuable Player alongside Gregori’s Michael Marsden. Senior defensive lineman Logan Durkee, meanwhile, was named the CCAL Defensive Player of the Year. Their head coach, James Peterson, was named CCAL Coach of the Year.
This season, the Bulldogs rebounded from an 0-5 pre-league start by going undefeated in CCAL competition. They earned a berth in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, where they defeated Sheldon (Sacramento) 57-14 in the opening round before their season ended against Oak Ridge in the quarterfinals 45-6 last week. They finished with a 6-6 overall record.
Peterson gave all the praise to his players.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work this team put in this year,” he said. “I told the boys that the tough preseason would prepare them for league, and it was exciting to see that come to fruition.”
Leading the way for the Bulldogs all year was Jeremiah Bertalotto, who some on the Turlock coaching staff have described as a Swiss army knife because of his ability to make plays at multiple positions. In his senior year, the speedster ran for 268 yards and five touchdowns. He also came out of the backfield to catch 20 passes for 455 yards and three scores. He also had a pair of punt return touchdowns and a passing touchdown early in the year. Defensively in the secondary, he snagged a pair of interceptions and racked up 30 total tackles.
“I am truly grateful for being recognized as the MVP,” Bertalotto said. “This accolade validates all the hard work, sweat and dedication that I’ve put into my game. A big thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me, your support means the world to me.
“This is just a stepping stone, and the journey to excellence continues,” he continued, alluding to his preparation for the wrestling season. “Thankful for all the support and looking forward to more thrilling matches.”
As for Durkee, he was a nightmare for opposing offenses all year. The senior defensive lineman had 40 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss, seven sacks, six pass deflections, four forced fumbles and one defensive touchdown.
He gave an abundance of credit to his faith and strong support system, who helped him prove several doubters wrong, particularly during his junior season.
“I’d like to say thank you to my parents and coaches for everything. When nobody believed in me last year, God did. Nobody saw my work, but he did and the results on the field was all him. I couldn’t have done it without God.”
Joining Bertalotto on the CCAL First Team Offense was quarterback Vincent Gonzales, tight end Brady Green and linemen Kristian Guerrero and Time Sitala Jr. Green (outside linebacker) and Sitala Jr. (defensive lineman) were also named to Second Team Defense.
First Team Defense included lineman Tarell Johnson, linebackers Owen Miller and Dominick Luna and cornerback Jeremiah Stine of Turlock as well as Pitman defensive back Sean Forte-Richard.
Turlock’s Johnson, lineman Nelson Lozano and kicker Mateo Valencia landed on the Second Team Offense list along with the Pitman trio of running back Matthew Burciaga, receiver Kolten Pruitt and lineman Lucas Arrizon.
Second Team Defense also included lineman Jose Pelayo and punter Adam Quezada of Pitman.
Turlock’s Devon Lambert and Junior Silva and Pitman’s Lawson Aviles and Carter Vannest were honorable mentions.