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Late rally lifts Tracy over Turlock
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Dustin Grein of Turlock High carries the ball during Friday's 29-22 loss to Tracy High. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

There were lead changes, ties and momentum shifts in Friday night's wild week three preseason battle between Turlock and Tracy High football from Wayne Schneider Stadium.

Both sides were not only battling for bragging rights, but for the Bulldog bone, a trophy in this rivalry between two schools that are less than an hour from one another.

In the end, however, Tracy managed to capture the win, scoring the last touchdown of the game with 3:47 left as it proved enough to secure the 29-22 final.

“It was a great game, and some people made big plays tonight,” said Turlock head coach James Peterson. “You have to block and tackle and if you don't do that then you are going to get the result we got tonight.”

The first half consisted of multiple attempts at scoring, but the stagnant offense was able to notch just a single score on a Tyler Etharidge 46-yard touchdown run with 6:50 left in the first quarter.

In the closing minutes of the first half, the defense also provided multiple glimpses of their ability, batting down a number of attempts by Tracy quarterback Logan Fife.

The defense also came away with two first half sacks — three total for the game.

In total in the first half, Turlock accumulated just 97 yards on offense while Tracy came away with 243 yards.

Tracy also scored a safety in the first half, resulting in a 15-6 lead after a missed extra point once they scored their second touchdown of the game.

Jonah Kosakiewicz of Turlock came in the second half and immediately led a seven-play scoring drive, concluding with a two-yard pass to Fabio Gutierrez to cut the deficit to 15-12.

Turlock kicker Dallin Tilby hit a 22-yard field goal to tie the game at 15-15 with 1:06 left in the third.

In the ensuing drive, Tracy was marching, but on the fourth play of the drive, Jake Dirkse of Turlock captured an interception to make it the penultimate play in the third.

The momentum carried into the start of the fourth with a four-play scoring drive that ended with an Etharidge five-yard burst up the middle to go up 22-15 with 10:44 remaining in the game.

Tracy wasted no time as they marched in the ensuing drive, going nine plays for a Fife touchdown pass to tie it at 22-22 with 7:12 on the clock.

Turlock was forced to punt on their next drive after a three and out, then Tracy responded, wasting no time with the game-winning scoring drive.

A 23-yard touchdown pass by Fife in the winding minutes of the game secured the victory.

“This game comes down to fundamentals most of the time and if you lose, it comes down to blocking and tackling,” said Peterson. “If you are not doing those things to perfection, a good team like Tracy, hats off to them they came prepared, but a team like Tracy will take advantage of it.”

Turlock looked to rally with a two-minute drive, but on a fourth down, the pass fell incomplete.

Tracy finished with 437 total yards of offense while Turlock was held to 197.

“We will move on and forget about this and try harder,” Peterson added.

Turlock's next game will be at home against Modesto at 7 p.m. Friday.