Turlock High entered its final home game of the season facing a daunting task —the undefeated and league leading Buhach Colony High Thunder. Fresh off a one score loss against Atwater High, the Bulldogs were hoping a Friday night upset would steer their team towards the playoffs, but Buhach had a different plan altogether.
The Thunder unveiled that plan on the opening kickoff with an 85 yard kickoff return from Jayce Webster. The return was aided by a missed clipping call but the Thunder didn’t need any help from the officials on their first offensive possession, instead they found the end zone with the help of a short Turlock punt and the legs of Leon Miles who ran the ball in from 15 yards.
On the ensuing drive Turlock took advantage of Buhach’s secondary and a few ill-timed Thunder penalties on its way to Jordan Silva five yard touchdown, making it 7-14 with 3:20 left in the first quarter. The Thunder kept rolling, however, scoring their third touchdown of the night on a three play drive that was capped off by a Joe Marquez 19 yard run.
The Bulldogs looked to be on their way to another score as they steadily drove the ball down the field but a botched handoff was picked up by Buhach's Steven Strasser and returned 66 yards for a defensive touchdown in the final seconds of the first quarter. To make matters worse, DaShawn Holcombe was forced to leave the game with a collar bone injury, leaving the Bulldogs shorthanded on both sides of the ball.
Still, Turlock bounced back with a 68 yard touchdown run from Sean Downs on a quarterback draw. The sideline celebrations were short-lived, however, as the momentum was stolen back with an 85 yard kickoff return from Buhach’s Tyson Coffey. The Thunder’s special teams continued to hurt Turlock on the next possession as Webster again flashed his speed on a 45 yard punt return.
Buhach’s seventh touchdown came with 7:10 left in the half by way of a Stefon Gold 14 yard reception. Turlock answered back with a 9 play drive and another Downs’ touchdown. The Bulldog defense forced a fumble and recovered the ball shortly afterwards, but the offense was unable to capitalize, sending the teams into halftime with a score of 21-48.
Buhach continued its scoring ways in the third quarter with a three-play drive that spanned 72 yards. The scoreboard read 21-54 with 9:24 left in the third quarter.
The final score was not available by press time. Check Wednesday’s edition for final results.
Turlock will face Pitman High next week in the always anticipated Harvest Bowl.