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The Bulldogs look to change perception with win over Modesto
Turlock football pic1
To prepare for Friday’s nonconference showdown against Modesto High, the Turlock High football players run several sprints earlier this week in practice. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal

Forget all the cheering that occurred after dropping Downey High in the season opener. Forget all the jaws that fell to the ground after clobbering well-respected small school Oakdale High at the recently renovated Joe Debely Stadium in Week 2. And forget the 57-point spanking over Davis High the Bulldogs doled out just last week.

The Turlock High football team believes not everyone’s convinced that the days of a winless record are over.

“We still have that 0-10 season imprinted in the back of our minds,” senior linebacker Connor Pearson said. “That’s the force that’s driving us.”

He’s referring to the 0-10 debacle the Bulldogs went through last season, the school’s second no-win season since 1920. But they’ve made quite a turnaround three games into the 2010 campaign by outscoring their opponents 127-41 and letting the football community know this is a different team.

Even so, a win over this week’s opponent, the also undefeated Modesto High, will undoubtedly change people’s minds — at least that’s what the Bulldogs believe.

“They want to know if we’re really good or if we’re just better than the team that we’re playing,” coach James Peterson said about his players’ doubts.

Will a win over Modesto (3-0) change their minds?

“Absolutely,” the coach said.

This Friday’s game against Modesto, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at Debely Stadium, is considered the biggest game of the week.

Besides that, the matchup is one of the oldest rivalries in California — going back to 1921.

It’s known as “The Little Big Game,” and the Bulldogs have captured 22 of the last 28 victories. This time, the excitement arises from two undefeated records, two very explosive offenses and two very good teams.

Modesto’s biggest threat is Arquel Rogers, who ran amok against Pitman High in the season opener at Debely Stadium and finished with four touchdowns. But the Turlock coaches and players say that their defensive focus isn’t only on Rogers; it’s on an entire Modesto team that has yet to beat a team by no more than 12 points.

And it wouldn’t hurt for the Bulldogs to get redemption on Modesto, which ran all over them in last season’s 48-28 thumping.

What has changed for the Bulldogs this season?

It’s a combination of things.

Some of them include a healthy Ricky Fuentes (the running back/defensive back who did not play in 2009 because of a broken leg), a well-prepared Kevin Kramer (the starting quarterback who spent two summers ago with USA Baseball), a strong junior class that went 10-0 at the junior varsity level last season and the fact that everyone’s injury-free this time around.

On Friday, the Bulldogs look to prove their worth again.

“I don’t think (any) of us are scared,” Kramer said. “I think that’s the last thing that will happen with this Turlock team. None of us are going to back down. We have that kind of attitude that if we lose, we can say we went out and played our best. I don’t see it happening this Friday and I don’t see it happening much this year at all, because of the work ethic we have.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.