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Eagles celebrate homecoming with victory
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TCs quarterback Chase Gonzalez prepares to take the snap during the Eagles win over Stoneridge Christian on Friday. - photo by ANDREW GRAHAM / The Journal

Turlock Christian quarterback Chase Gonzalez passed for 214 yards in Friday’s gridiron matchup with Stoneridge Christian to lead the Eagles (2-1) to a 35-27 victory.

Stoneridge drew first blood in the first quarter putting together a 43 yard drive ending with a six yard run by half back Kyle Singer. It was a matter of minutes before the Eagles answered back starting with a 40 yard kickoff return by Hakim Jordan and then Gonzalez connected with Nick Steeley for a 30 yard touchdown pass.

Turlock Christian put on an impressive drive to start off the second quarter with Gonzalez completing five passes for 42 yards. The Eagles were in good position to pick up their second touchdown of the night when Gonzalez hooked up with Steeley once again just outside the goal line, but the Stoneridge defense forced a fumble after the catch and took over possession.

“Our D picked it up, we made some mistakes on offense but our D picked it up,” Eagles head coach Shane Smith said.

The Eagle defense stepped up and forced a three and out which was blocked by Thomas Sawyer, and Gonzalez put the Eagles back on top with a three yard quarterback keeper on the ensuing play.

The defense held strong once again in the next drive forcing a three and out by the Knights. Gonzalez took advantage of the momentum picked up by the defense and capitalized with a 12 yard toss to Sawyer and then found Steeley for a 17 yard touchdown pass, increasing the lead to 21-7.

Stoneridge answered back with a 52 yard run with 1:37 remaining in the first half to close the gap 21-13.

The second half was back and forth with each team scoring twice. Turlock Christian’s second half scoring plays came on Gonzalez passes, six and seven yards respectively. Stoneridge completed a 41 yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds left in the game but it wasn’t enough as the Eagles held on to win.

“We are in a growth year, not taking a play off is key,” Smith said. “We had to make sure we stayed ahead of them because they didn’t take plays off either.”

Coach Smith and his Eagles will take this week to prepare for next Friday’s game with Gustine High.