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PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Turlockers unite in hopes of a Pitman win against Downey

It’s Week 11 of the high school football season and after this week, many teams will be turning in their equipment. Others will be gearing up for the postseason and a chance to claim a blue Sac-Joaquin Section championship banner. Here’s a look at Friday night’s four local matchups and what those games mean.

Gregori (4-5, 3-1) at Turlock (5-4, 3-1), 7 p.m. — Turlock is a 33-point favorite according to, but this is a dangerous game for the Bulldogs. The Jaguars are hungry and defeated Turlock last year for the first time in school history. Both teams need a win, and a Downey loss, to claim a share of the Central California Athletic League championship.

Turlock likely will earn a first-round home game in the playoffs, but will hit the road in the second round to face either Folsom, St. Mary’s or Central Catholic — all tough second-round draws.

Pitman (2-7, 1-3) at Downey (9-0, 4-0), 7 p.m. — Another projected blowout, Pitman is a 49-point underdog. No team will be rooting harder for the Pride than crosstown rival Turlock. The Bulldogs need Pitman to win in order to grab a share of the Central California Athletic League championship.

Off the field, the PHS administration is still pursuing an appeal that would allow running back Joey Stout to play in Friday’s game — the last of Stout’s high school career. Stout was ejected last week for committing two unsportsmanlike conduct infractions, which results in an ejection from the game and the player being suspended for the following game. 

Hilmar (6-3, 5-0) at Riverbank (0-9, 0-5), 7 p.m. — Take the Miracle on Ice 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and add the 1969 New York Jets then multiply the sum by Buster Douglas … that’s what kind of upset it would be if Riverbank were to beat Hilmar.

In other words: It's not gonna happen.

CalPreps predicts the Yellowjackets will win 62-0, and they just might, even playing reserves.

A game like this really couldn’t come at a better time for Hilmar. Not only do the ‘Jackets get a layup in the season finale that will allow them to clinch their first outright title since 2016, but they should also wrap up a first-round bye in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs. That bye would provide Hilmar a no-stress two weeks in which they could slowly re-incorporate Hudson Azevedo into the lineup. The senior quarterback injured his throwing shoulder Week 3 against Sonora and recently resumed practices. He adds another dynamic threat to a Hilmar team averaging 38 points per game in TVL play.

Denair (1-8, 0-6) at Waterford (3-6, 2-4), 7:15 p.m. — The Coyotes are hoping to close out the 2022 season on a high note. Denair held a surprising 8-7 lead over first-place Orestimba last week before the Warriors took control in the second quarter. But Orestimba head coach Aaron Souza was impressed with Denair.