This Week’s Prep Football Schedule
· Pitman (3-0) vs. Oakland Tech (1-0) at Debely Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
· Denair (0-2) at Summerville (0-2) in Tuolumne, 7:30 p.m.
· Hilmar (2-1) at North Monterey County (1-1) in Castroville, 2 p.m.
· Turlock (2-1) vs. Modesto (1-2) at Downey in Modesto, 7 p.m.
It didn’t take long for the Turlock High football players to get rid of the doubts and frustrations in their heads. They took that all out on Davis High last Friday night, when the Bulldogs controlled the nonconference game from the beginning.
Long story short: Bulldogs won 54-22.
Turlock coach James Peterson called the win “a complete game.”
The Bulldogs are happy to hear that. On Sept. 2, just the second game of the season, they got humbled by a strong small-school team in Oakdale High, which didn’t let Turlock score until the third quarter en route to a 33-7 preseason win. It wasn’t easy for the Turlock players and coaches to sleep that night.
But something happened: The following week, the Bulldogs, as Peterson said, had their best practice week of the young season. All that effort wasn’t wasted, as they handled Davis.
Now, the Bulldogs are getting ready for Modesto High in a rivalry that goes back to 1920, when Turlock beat the Panthers 13-6. It’s one of those matchups that always has meaning, no matter where either team stands.
“I think both teams have mutual respect for each other,” Peterson said. “It’s not like we’re out for blood.”
It’s about tradition. Running back/defensive back Austin Krasko is a transfer from Buhach Colony High, but he understands the importance of the game. In other words, it doesn’t take a lot for players within the Bulldogs program to get excited for the annual game against 1-2 Modesto, which will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. at Downey High in Modesto.
“It’s supposed to be intense,” Krasko said. “They’ll come ready to play. I look forward to the rivalry. I hear so much about it.”
Turlock, which is coming off an 8-3 season after going 0-10, is still “establishing our identity” on offense, Peterson said. It’s tough to find one when the Bulldogs have faced challenges on a weekly basis. They had to begin the season without left guard Leo Barajas, who was hurt but returned last week against Davis. Then, during the season opener against Downey High, Turlock lost one of its key offensive linemen in Brandon Jurevich to a season-ending injury.
But the Bulldogs say they’re becoming a stronger team each week. Their sophomore quarterback, Sean Downs, is becoming a running threat, thanks in part to his 93-yard rushing, two-touchdown performance against Davis to go with his one passing touchdown. They want to continue that power offense, with running backs such as Brandon Esquivel, Jordan Silva and Krasko, who had 87, 94 and 66 rushing yards, respectively, last week.
“We want to drive down the middle and get the (other team’s) defensive line scared,” Barajas said.
As for the establishing an identity part, the offensive line is taking steps to improve that.
All the linemen — Brent Souza, Justin Clardy, Tony Sousa, Jacob Rodriguez and Barajas — and tight end Tyler Cook got matching Mohawks to endorse team unity. They said that one of the guys’ Mohawks isn’t perfect. That’s fine, however. They always have time to fix it.
Little action on Friday night
Among the Turlock-area teams, there are only two games scheduled for Friday night: Pitman High, which is undefeated at 3-0, will host Oakland Tech in a highly anticipated matchup at Debely Stadium, while 0-2 Denair High will travel to Tuolumne to face Summerville High.
Turlock Christian High (0-3) will have this week off before returning next week to open up Southern League play against Waterford High.
Turlock will face Downey on Saturday night, and Hilmar High, now 2-1 after beating Division I’s Enochs High, will make the road trip to Castroville to play North Monterey County High on Saturday at 2 p.m.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.