After being outscored 208-18 through its first four games, Turlock Christian High put in its best performance of the season Friday night against Brookside Christian High. Down by two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Eagles rallied behind freshman quarterback Jakob Skinner and junior running back Dominique Zendejas and kept pace with the Knights for the remainder of the game.
TC scored its fourth touchdown of the game—a season high—early in the fourth quarter to pull within six points of Brookside, but in the end it was unable to prevent its fifth consecutive loss by a score of 28-34. Though they came up short, the Eagles found victory in having earned the respect of their opponent through competitive play.
“We’re a young team…They grew up a little bit tonight. I’m just so proud of their effort and their performance,” TC head coach Jake von Sherrer said. “These kids have just been working hard all summer long. The scores — you look at those scores and you just don’t realize how hard that is on a young kid. You try to build them up, because again you see how close we were tonight.”
TC scored its first points of the game in the final seconds of the first quarter with a quarterback keeper from two yards out as Skinner made up for an earlier pick-six. Brookside answered back immediately with a four-play drive that culminated in a two-yard end around into the end zone by James Boozer, but its offense was unable to gain traction against the TC defense for the rest of the half.
The Eagles continued to find their offensive rhythm on their next possession with 45-yard touchdown pass to Brady Turner—TC’s biggest player at 260 pounds. The play was considered null and void due to a penalty, however, but Zendejas put the points back on the board five plays later with his first of two touchdown runs on the night.
TC pulled within six points of its opponent, but the Knights reestablished a two-score lead on the ensuing kickoff when Julian Garcia returned the ball 90 yards for the touchdown.
The score read 16-28 at the half.
TC’s defense allowed Brookside to score on its first possession of the second half, but tightened the reins on the Knights soon after. The Eagles defense shut out Brookside through the rest of the half and recovered three fumbles, two by Turner and one by Roman Padilla.
“It’s the same defense we’ve been running; it’s the same people we’ve been running. It’s just starting to gel,” Von Sherrer said.
Zendejas scored his second touchdown from seven yards out with nine minutes left in regulation. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they were unable to capitalize on two possessions inside the final four minutes of play as they were forced to turn to their passing game which couldn’t quite stack up to their running game.
TC finished the game with 270 total yards, 151 of which came by way of Zendejas.
“Our motto has been the same since day one, we want to get better. We got better tonight but it’s not good enough. We’ve got to get better on Monday, get better on Tuesday,” Von Sherrer said. “I’m just as excited now as I was eight weeks ago because I know I go these guys coming back next year, and the year after that.”
The Eagles travel to Big Valley Christian next week as they continue their search for their first win of the season.