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Clovis outlasts Turlock in Bulldogs home opener
Mark Flores runs the ball in for a touchdown after breaking six tackles in the 4th quarter, tying the game 28-28 with 6 minutes left on the clock. The Bulldogs lost to Clovis in overtime 34-28. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Friday night was the Turlock Bulldogs varsity football team home opener, only it wasn't at Joe Debely Stadium, instead, they met Clovis High in Livingston in a wild game that ended in overtime.

Despite the Bulldogs handling Clovis up front and matching their physicality, the Cougars were able to outlast them in the end as they picked off Danny Velasquez on a third down play of overtime in the end zone to close it out, 34-28.

“We were down and came back and kept our composure and we turned it up to another notch,” said Turlock linebacker Dom Silva about the team staying composed despite going down early.

“Our guys fought hard all night and I don't know what else to say they did exactly what I wanted them to do; they came out here got punched in the mouth and responded well,” said Turlock head coach James Peterson.

Clovis came out and took advantage of a Turlock fumbled punt return in the first quarter and scored their first touchdown off the turnover to go up early.

Turlock went three and out in their next series and Clovis responded once again with a nice punt return to set them up inside the Turlock 23-yard-line.

Clovis tacked on another touchdown on a six-yard pass to go up 14-0 before the Bulldogs buckled down heading into the second quarter.

Down by two scores and at their own 23-yard-line, the Bulldogs marched down the field on a 10-play drive that ended with a Dustin Grein four-yard touchdown.

Turlock's Cameron Sherwood scored the Bulldogs' second touchdown to tie it at 14-14 with 3:47 left in the second, however, just before the quarter ended, Clovis went up 21-14 after completing a 35-yard grab.

“Little hiccup here and there, little mistakes with blocks or penalties but big thing tonight and last thing was we are more disciplined,” said Peterson. “I think we learned when we do that we can play pretty good football, that is the biggest thing, we learned from that and we can play with tough teams.”

Turlock stayed tough despite being down at the half, and after gaining more yards than Clovis in the first half at 218-155. Velasquez had 85 rushing yards in the first half on 10 carries.

The third saw a scoreless quarter from both sides and Clovis went up by two scores in the beginning of the fourth with a 53-yard score to make it 28-14 with 10:50 left.

The Bulldogs stayed composed and scored on the ensuing drive on a Grein 68-yard touchdown grab that cut the lead to 28-21.

All this happened within 22 seconds as the clock read 10:28.

Mark Flores of Turlock finally tied the game up with 6:29 left after breaking loose for a 15-yard score after breaking over six tackles to make it 28-28.

Neither side was able to tack on another score for the rest of the regulation as there were numerous bone crushing hits that made it difficult, until overtime.

Once in overtime, Turlock faced turmoil after getting called for a contentious pass interference call on a second down and they scored and missed their extra point.

Turlock was picked off on their offensive drive in overtime on a third down and it ended at 34-28.

Clovis improved to 2-0 and Turlock drops to 0-2.

“We've got some momentum now,” said Peterson. “I think if this game ended how Week 1 did then I think it would be tougher to get up tomorrow, it's hard for young kids to overcome adversity, but I am happy where my football team is."

Turlock's next game will be against Tracy at a site yet determined at 7:15 p.m. Friday.