In a disappointing night for Turlock Christian High football, the Eagles fell to the defending Sac-Joaquin Division VII champions Stone Ridge Christian High Knights on their first night of league play, 49-8.
The Eagles started the game strong, driving down to the Knights’ 37-yard line on the game’s opening possession, only to have the ball stripped from running back Desmond Barron’s hands by Stone Ridge’s Jeremiah Jenkins. On the Knights’ ensuing drive, the Eagles had a strong defensive stand to stop their opponent’s 11-play drive inside of the Turlock Christian 15-yard line.
The shining moment from the Eagles defense didn’t stop the Knights, however, as fullback Jonathan Collazo darted into the end zone during Stone Ridge’s next possession for a 20-yard touchdown, making the score 7-0 as time expired in the first quarter.
The Knights’ next two touchdowns came after costly mistakes from the Eagles. From the Eagles’ 21-yard line, the ball was snapped over quarterback Jakob Skinner’s head and recovered in the end zone by a Stone Ridge defender to make the score 13-0 after a missed point after attempt. After a five-play drive from Turlock Christian on their next possession, the ball was once again snapped over Skinner’s head and recovered by the Knights, resulting in a 17-yard touchdown from Collazo on the Knights’ next play, bringing the score to 21-0 after a successful two-point conversion.
“They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves,” said head coach Mike Turpin. “We made so many mistakes, and that’s how they scored.”
Stone Ridge went on to score once more in the first half thanks to yet another touchdown run from Collazo – an 18-yard dash into the end zone to bring the score to 28-0 in the second quarter’s final minutes.
To begin the second half, Stone Ridge scored in the first minute by way of an impressive 90-yard run from Collazo, making the score 35-0. The frustration on the Eagles sideline was palpable, and Turpin was ejected from the game just three minutes into the third quarter.
“I went, ‘Really? What did I do?’” said Turpin, who plans to appeal the ejection so that he may coach again in next week’s game.
Though the Eagles tried to remain upbeat after losing their head coach, the defense allowed Stone Ridge quarterback Jacob Tanori to sneak into the end zone seconds after Turpin’s ejection to give the Knights a 42-0 lead. A highlight of the third quarter for the Eagles was a six-yard carry for running back Blade House, which was the first of his high school career.
The score was 49-0 just two plays into the fourth quarter following an Eagles fumble recovered by Stone Ridge’s Owen Thomas, who ran the ball back into the end zone on a 17-yard carry. Turlock Christian answered back with a nine-play drive down the field, capitalized by a 30-yard touchdown run from running back Nathan Son and a two-point conversion with five minutes left to make the final score of the game 49-8.
Son finished the game with one touchdown and 114 rushing yards, and battled through a bruised hip during a majority of the game.
“I was surprised he could even play in the second half,” said Turpin. “He’s a good, strong kid.”
Following Friday night’s loss, the Eagles are now 0-1 in Central California Athletic Alliance play and 1-4 overall. Next week, the team will travel to Big Valley Christian High to take on the Lions.