There were reasons to have their heads down, with the biggest being the fact that the Turlock High football players almost allowed a three-touchdown lead to completely slip away. But the Bulldogs did not partake in the blame game. They stayed composed, even with an opposing crowd surrounding them.
It took an overtime to settle the score, as sophomore Sean Downs, beaten and bruised all last Friday night, faked a handoff and charged forward from 2 yards out to give Turlock a late score and the eventual 28-21 Central California Conference win over Merced High at Golden Valley High’s Veterans Stadium in Merced.
Turlock (5-2, 1-1 CCC) has won four of the last five games, with two of the victories by no more than a touchdown. The Bulldogs will participate in their third consecutive road contest this Friday night, as they face Golden Valley High (2-5, 0-2 CCC) in Merced.
The kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“This group of Bulldogs really stuck together,” Turlock coach James Peterson said about last week’s showing. “I didn’t hear anyone pointing the finger on the sideline during the game. We just kept playing as hard as we could. I think true character is tested in a game like that.”
The Bulldogs held a 21-0 halftime lead.
That’s easy: Downs connected with Tyler Cook for a 25-yard touchdown on the Bulldogs’ second play of the game, Downs then ran in a 13-yard score on Turlock’s next possession and Bryce Simmons muscled in an 8-yard TD, all before the break.
And then, the Bears (3-4, 1-1 CCC) fell into comeback mode, as they tied it up 21-21 before the end of regulation. But Merced’s surge didn’t last forever, as Downs (15 carries, 32 yards) got the overtime touchdown and the Turlock defense — led by Erick Parsons (16 tackles) and Johnny Padilla (12 tackles) — finished the night with consecutive sacks.
Downs also completed two passes for 40 yards, Simmons rushed 14 times for 70 yards, Da’Shawn Holcombe had 7 carries for 73 yards, including a 45-yarder, and Brandon Esquivel finished with 11 rushes for 51 yards. On defense, Cook, Padilla and Kyle Hatcher each had a sack.
The night against Merced was stressful, but the Bulldogs know the experience will make them stronger against Golden Valley this Friday night.
“We have a lot of momentum coming into this week’s game after (last week’s) win,” Peterson said. “I was proud of the way our offense controlled the game in the first half versus Merced. I have challenged my team to be perfect this week and put four quarters together this week.”
Also: To keep their heads up.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.