Turlock High kicked off the 2013 high school football season in grand fashion Friday night when it hosted Valley Oak League stalwarts and 2012 Division II State runner ups Oakdale High.
After falling victim to long, consistent drives and a power based rushing attack for most of the game, the Bulldogs (1-0) stunned the Mustangs (0-1) with a 4th quarter comeback spurred by a Jevan Hogan 60 yard touchdown run and game winning interception. The final score read 21-20.
“I was listening to my quarterback the whole time; right when he gave me the handoff he told me to look for that cutback and I listened to him and it worked,” Hogan said. “I just let loose.”
“It’s Oakdale man. We played those guys for years and they’re always tough. Even this year, when people say they’re not quite what they used to be, they play you tough. Our kids matched that intensity and I was proud of that,” Turlock head coach James Peterson said.
Turlock struggled early as its defense tried to contain the combination of Darus Nelson and Brock Whiting, who took turns exploiting the right edge and middle, respectively. Whiting put the first points on the board with 7:34 left in the first quarter on a 14 yard touchdown run which was followed by a Max Stevens 12 yard rushing touchdown in the opening minutes of the second quarter to make it 0-14.
Turlock’s offense hit a few snags in the first half with fumbles, bobbles, and slips but managed to pull within reach of Oakdale when Sean Downs connected with Patrick Green for a 19 yard touchdown making it 7-14 at the half.
Turlock tied the game in the third quarter with a 34 yard touchdown run by Bubba Moreno but received a quick response on the ensuing drive from the Mustangs when Stevens scored his second touchdown from 34 yards out. Luckily for the Bulldogs, a two-point conversion was called back due to a clipping penalty and the extra point was denied, making it 14-20.
Two plays later, Hogan was sprinting down the right sideline with track speed to take a one point lead.
“Big players make big plays in big games; that’s what he did,” Peterson said.
Oakdale nearly took the game back as they marched down the field with the help of Nelson and Whiting, but a Nelson fumble on Oakdale’s lone completion of the night gave Turlock back the ball on their own 14 yard line.
After punting, Hogan notched his game winning interception as he tipped it to himself and fell to the turf to deafening cheers from the stands and sideline.
“The coaches told us when we went out there to look for the waggle pass because they were going deep. I read my tight end and I just got the play,” Hogan said. “It’s a very good win; we’re starting off the season 1-0. Everyone thought we were going and we came out and did great. I love my team."
Hogan finished with 123 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown along with 2 receptions for 11 yards. Downs went 10 for 13 with 97 passing yards and carried the ball 6 times for 39 yards. Green recorded 36 yards and a touchdown with two receptions.
Nelson carried the ball 19 times for 112 yards, Whiting rushed 18 times for 92 yards, and quarterback Dillon Tamburrino went 1 for 4 with six yards and an interception.
Turlock travels to Sonora High next Friday.