· Atwater 17, Turlock 10
· Pitman 30, Merced 27Southern League
· Denair 45, Turlock Christian 0Trans-Valley League
· Escalon 30, Hilmar 0
The Pitman Pride (7-2, 3-1 CCC) won a comeback conference thriller against the Merced Bears (3-6, 1-3 CCC) Friday night by a final score of 30-27, sealed by a missed last second Merced field goal.
The Pride took a razor-thin 28-27 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run from senior fullback Jaime Lemus with 2:43 left to play in the game. After receiving the ensuing kickoff, the Bears quickly earned a first down before a series of penalties and a botched snap resulted in a Pride safety, thanks to the collective effort of the Pride defensive line, giving Pitman a 3-point lead.
With 1:11 to play and the Pitman stands going wild, the Bears were ruled to have recovered an onside kick following the safety – though the kick appeared to have not travelled the required 10 yards, and also appeared to have been first touched by a Merced player. The Bears proceeded to drive down to the Pitman 21 yard line with 3 seconds remaining, setting up a potentially game-tying field goal attempt from the right hash mark which fell short and wide left.
The Pride committed six turnovers in the win, including an early fumble at the Bears’ 2 yard line. Lemus finished with three of the four Pitman touchdowns.
The win places Pitman alone in second place in the CCC. A win in Friday’s season-ending Harvest Bowl matchup against the third-place Turlock Bulldogs (7-2, 2-2 CCC) would guarantee a top-two CCC finish for the Pride.
Bulldogs fall to previously winless Atwater
The Turlock Bulldogs (7-2, 2-2 CCC) lost a stunner against the previously winless Atwater Falcons (1-8, 1-3 CCC) Friday night in Atwater by a final score of 17-10.
The Bulldogs got off to a bad start in the game when Atwater attempted – and recovered – an onside kick to begin the matchup. That drive resulted in a 35-yard Falcons field goal.
On the ensuing kickoff, Atwater attempted – and recovered – a second onside kick. Falcons senior quarterback Michael Gutierrez ended the drive with a 2-yard touchdown dash, putting Turlock behind 10-0 before they touched the ball on offense.
New Turlock High junior kicker Diego Godinez nailed a 27-yard field goal to put Turlock on the board, but a second field goal attempted as time ran out in the first half was blocked and returned 85 yards for a Falcons touchdown, putting Atwater up 17-3 at the half.
Turlock senior quarterback Kevin Kramer had the only touchdown for the normally high-powered Bulldogs offense, coming on a 29-yard run in the third quarter. Sophomore defensive back DaShawn Holcombe reeled in a Bulldog interception, his fifth for the year.
The Bulldogs will face the Pitman Pride (7-2, 3-1 CCC) in a must-win crosstown conference matchup to end the regular season. A win would place Turlock in a tie for second in the CCC.
‘Jackets lose league finale to Escalon
The Hilmar Yellowjackets (6-3, 4-1 TVL) lost their final regular season game – and potentially a share of the Trans-Valley League title – to the Escalon Cougars (7-1, 4-0 TVL) by a score of 30-6 Friday night in Escalon.
Hilmar Coach Frank Marques said his team played well in the loss, especially the defense. Hilmar and Escalon were tied 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, before a few turnovers and some bad field position allowed Escalon to take a 17-0 lead at the half.
Hilmar’s lone score came on a touchdown pass from senior running back Isaac Diaz to senior running back Nate Azevedo in the third quarter.
Despite the loss, Hilmar has secured a spot in the TVL playoffs. The Yellowjackets will learn who their first round opponent will be following a bye week next Friday, when the rest of the TVL teams will be in action.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.