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Downs leads Turlock to homecoming victory
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Turlock High junior quarterback Sean Downs winds up for a deep pass as the Cougars defense closes in.

It’s a rare sight to watch a football team rack up more than 400 yards of offense and still lose, but that’s exactly what happened to Turlock High last Friday. The aftermath of the Merced game led the Bulldogs (1-1 CCC) to focus on the elimination of mistakes during practice, a difficult task with all the distractions associated with Homecoming, but a task they mastered.

By the time Golden Valley High stepped onto the field at Joe Debely Stadium on Friday, Turlock was ready for retribution. After four quarters of hard nose football, the Bulldogs left the field with 378 yards of total offense and a 28-14 homecoming win over the Cougars (0-2 CCC).

“We really tried to build on that loss and minimize our mistakes; perfect practice was the biggest thing for us,” Turlock’s head coach James Peterson said. “The guys came out and played a great game against a really good Golden Valley team that’s going to surprise people this year, even with all the distractions of homecoming.”

The Cougars opened the night with a 10 play scoring drive, covering 78 yards as they attacked Turlock’s secondary with a combination of short and deep passes. Not to be outdone, the Bulldogs jumped onto the scoreboard with their first possession as quarterback Sean Downs capped off a five play drive with a 39 yard touchdown run through the middle of Golden Valley’s defense to tie the game.

Golden Valley was back in the lead in less than a minute, however, as Cougar quarterback Ridge Beruccio set up a five yard touchdown dash from workhorse Isaiah Peteson with two 29 yard passes. Turlock was poised to once again tie the game up when DaShawn Holcombe broke a 17 yard run to the Cougar one yard line but an untimely penalty backed the Bulldogs up and ultimately led to a turnover on downs.

The rest of the second quarter consisted of a back and forth defensive battle, but with less than a minute left in the half Turlock gained momentum from the legs and arm of Downs. A 19 yard pass to Holcombe and a pair of rushes set up a five yard touchdown strike to Patrick Green to tie the game 14-14 at halftime.

“We really needed to get that score before halftime,” Peterson said. “That was huge.”

Turlock’s momentum continued on its opening drive of the second half when Downs scored his second touchdown of the night on a 52 yard run. The Bulldogs defense contained Golden Valley as it shored up its pass coverage and harassed Beruccio in the backfield. Holcombe scored Turlock’s final touchdown from two yards out with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter before a 38 yard Anthony Martin interception put the nail in the coffin for the Cougars.

Downs finished the night with 265 total yards, 176 of which came on the ground.

“We give him the go on every pass play,” Peterson said. “We trust his arm too; he’s turned into quite the passer. He’s playing like a true veteran right now.”

Turlock is on the road next Friday when it will face Atwater High.