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Last-second field goal spoils Turlock homecoming
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With the help and a block by J.T. Forman II, Turlock QB Cole Gilbert runs in a 4-yard touchdown and puts the first set of points on the board during the homecoming game against Downey Friday evening (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Senior kicker Elijah Reyneveld booted a 25-yard field goal as time expired, lifting Downey High to a 24-22 come-from-behind victory over Turlock on Friday at Joe Debely Field, spoiling the Bulldogs’ homecoming festivities. 

Turlock and Downey finished 1-2 in a Central California Athletic League preseason coaches’ poll and many pointed to this game as the de facto league championship. With the win, the Knights improve to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the CCAL. With games remaining against Enochs, Gregori and Pitman, Downey has a stranglehold on a second consecutive league crown. 

The Bulldogs (3-4, 1-1) trailed 21-14 but scored late in the fourth quarter on a wild 41-yard hook-up from quarterback Cole Gilbert to running back J.T. Foreman. On fourth-and-10 from Downey’s 41, Gilbert dropped back to pass and was flushed from the pocket. He tucked the ball and appeared ready to run for it, before doubling back behind his blockers to look for a better option downfield. 

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Turlock's Peter Mello avoids his Downey opponent as he gains yards for the Bulldogs during the homecoming game Friday evening (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

He found Foreman standing along the home sideline. Foreman outleaped his defender to make the catch and almost before his feet hit the ground, he had turned and sprinted for the end zone. 

“I knew they were spying me on the run,” said Gilbert. “I definitely had to try to make a play downfield.” 

The Bulldogs opted to go for a two-point conversion – and the win. 

“Honestly, I thought that would be the kill shot,” said Turlock head coach James Peterson. “But they played inspired football for the last 90 seconds. Hats off to them.” 

Gilbert rolled to his left and found Peter Mello inside the pylon, giving THS a 22-21 lead with 1:52 to play. 

Turlock’s ensuing kickoff pinned Downey at the 16 with 1:46 left on the clock. Th Knights still had two timeouts. 

“I wouldn’t say we were confident that we had enough time,” said Downey head coach Jeremy Plaa. “But we had a good plan and went after it.” 

A no-gain by quarterback Conner Stoddard on first down and an incomplete pass on second down to start the drive had Turlock’s fans in a frenzy. But Stoddard hit Gabe Hernandez for gains of 15 and 19, taking the ball to midfield. After Stoddard hit Camden Rush for 12, the senior quarterback scrambled for a gain of 10 and was hit late after giving himself up on a slide.  

“That penalty hurt,” said Peterson. “(Stoddard) kept sliding all night and he finally got the call.” 

The extra 15-yards moved the ball inside the red zone. Three plays later, the Knights were on the 8 and trotted out Reyneveld for the game-winner. 

The Bulldogs led 14-0 late in the first quarter, scoring first on a 4-yard run by Gilbert and then doubling the margin when Gilbert hit Peter Mello on a 29-yard post pattern.  

The Knights cut the margin in half when Ki Ragland scored on a 1-yard run with 2:59 to play in the first half. 

Downey tied the score with 7:01 left in the third quarter on another short burst from Ragland – this one from 3 yards out – then took the lead when Gavin Garcia hauled in a 17-yard pass from Stoddard.  

Turlock won the junior varsity game 56-19.


Turlock vs Downey | The Blitz Season 10

The Blitz has coverage from the thrilling matchup between Turlock High and Downey High that took place on October 7, 2022 and had CCAL championship implications on the line. Sponsored By: Realtor Michael Rocha

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