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Bulldogs top last year’s D-II section champs for first round win
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Tamirr Bullock runs the ball down the field after a fumble recovery against Del Oro Friday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

No. 7 Turlock High toppled the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II champion, No. 10 Del Oro, on Friday night after a staggering 42-21 win from home behind quarterback Brock Paslay’s four touchdowns, in the opening round of the D-I SJS playoffs, earning a spot against No. 2 Oak Ridge.

“It was a good game but all I can think about is all the things we can do to get better at right now. I thought the defense played great and special teams did well today and fixed the punt game. On offense we still need to fix some things, but I think for the most part, everyone did their job,” said Turlock head coach James Peterson.

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Turlock's Dalton Linn celebrates after making a first down during the game Friday against Del Oro (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Turlock came out and made their statement early on. A sack from Cal Berkeley commit, 6-foot-9 Everett Johnson in the opening drive against Del Oro set the pace for what would be a long night for DO.

Both teams exchanged punts in their first drives, then the Turlock defense got to work and Tyran Montgomery recovered a forced fumble in the first play of the second drive for DO.

Turlock marched down the field for an eight-play drive that ended with a Paslay touchdown pass to Miguel Peña from 20 yards out and with 5:34 left in the first.

The defenses then held each other off for a bit until DO scored on a one-play drive to tie it 7-7 after Logan Stough connected with Aidan Mack for a 47-yard score to make it 7-7 with 2:29 left till half.

Turlock scored two touchdowns in the final 44.8 seconds of the first half.

First, Frias ran it in from 10-yards out with 44.8 left in the second and the score read, 14-7.  Tamirr Bullock followed up with a strip on Stough with 35.1 seconds left and the Bulldog offense was on the DO 28-yard-line.

Paslay connected with Dalton Linn for a 28-yard touchdown, which made it 21-7 at the half.

By halftime, Turlock’s defense had held DO to just 87 yards of total offense, 47 of which came on their only touchdown.

Josiah Gonzales scored Turlock’s fourth touchdown after running it in from 22-yards out and the score read 28-7 with 1:08 left in the third.

Jayden Jackson picked off Stough in the next drive for DO, but were stopped.

Following another stop on defense, Paslay found Baldwin on a 33-yard touchdown to make it 35-7 with 6:57 left in the game.

“We run tough football, but all of a sudden we stick the guys in the box and they are watching play action, so now we have that opportunity to go deep and when you have a weapon like Holden Baldwin playing like he did tonight, that is a pretty tough group to stop,” said Peterson.

The refs essentially handed Del Oro their second touchdown after assisting with multiple contentious calls against the Turlock defense that tallied over 40 yards and set them up inside the three yard-line and a first and goal.

Del Oro recovered a fumble by Paslay with 5:02 left in the game and Aiden Foster went 35-yards to make it 35-21.

Paslay notched his fourth and final touchdown pass on a four-yard toss to Anthony Frias with 55.9 left in the game, which made it 42-21. 

Turlock’s defense came away with six turnovers while Tyran Montgomery picked off Del Oro quarterback Logan Stough twice, including what was the game sealing pick with 44 seconds remaining in the game.

Paslay was 14-of-20 and tossed for 290 yards and four touchdowns.

“Brock is always working hard in the film room and out in the practice field as well,” said Peterson.

Turlock has now won three straight home playoff games.

“I feel like we played good defense all year, special teams have been pretty good and offense when they do that by throwing the ball, I say we give a lot of teams some problems,” Peterson added.

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Turlock's Brock Paslay gains yards for the Bulldogs on Friday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Turlock has averaged eight wins a year over the past five seasons.

The Bulldogs overall record improves to 9-2 after beating the No. 104 team in state in Del Oro.

Turlock will next take on No. 2 Oak Ridge (8-2), which is also No. 29 in the state, on the road at 7 p.m. Friday.

Oak Ridge beat Del Oro, 38-15 back on Oct. 11.