With his hands sliced up from a night’s work of aggressive playmaking and his helmet off, Turlock High quarterback Kevin Kramer tried to explain the meaning of Friday night’s 28-27 heartbreaker of a loss to Buhach Colony High. Just minutes earlier, he drove his team all the way from their own 32-yard line of Joe Debely Stadium before launching a long pass to receiver Tyler Cook, allowing the Bulldogs an opportunity to tie the game up.
Kramer had this to say: “Everything happens for a reason.”
The Bulldogs had a chance to send the Central California Conference opener into overtime, but junior kicker Dominic Breshears missed on his fourth extra-point attempt, an error that seemingly wiped away the memory of him nailing his three previous PATs. The Turlock players and coaches were quick to say afterward that the loss shouldn’t be pinpointed to that particular play.
“I’m not going to blame Dom for missing that,” said Kramer, who completed 7 of 16 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns. “You can point fingers, but that’s not the way we roll. We win and lose as a family, as a team.”
Teammates patted Breshears on the back, and many whispered in his ear that he wasn’t at fault after his attempt bounced off the left goalpost. In fact, this same kicker was the one who nailed a last-second field goal to give the Bulldogs a 24-21 win over Modesto High on Sept. 17.
Nonetheless, Turlock ends the chance to go undefeated this season, as the Bulldogs are 5-1 overall and 0-1 in the CCC. Next up is hosting dangerous Merced High.
Buhach Colony, on the other hand, remains undefeated at 6-0.
Most of the scoring happened in the second quarter for both teams. After scoring on the opening drive, the Thunder took a 14-0 lead when speedy back Jarrell Davis danced his way to a 47-yard TD, eventually finishing the game with 205 yards and another score from 64 yards.
But the Bulldogs responded with back-to-back Kramer-to-Ricky Fuentes connections of 15 yards to tie it up. The second score was possible after Turlock’s Connor Pearson snatched an interception from Thunder quarterback Ben Watkins (6-for-9 for 54 yards and no touchdowns).
For the Bulldogs, the celebration didn’t last very long. The Thunder scored again with 1 minute, 43 seconds remaining in the first half, when Dalton Muse — another one of Buhach Colony’s quick running backs — marched from 2 yards out to give his team the 21-14 edge.
Turlock had plenty of weapons on this night. Ricky Fuentes caught the two 15-yard touchdowns, while collecting 98 yards on 12 carries; Pearson pulled down a 21-yard TD pass from Kramer about 4 minutes into the third quarter to tie the game at 21-21; and Cook finished his night by catching the 20-yard bomb with no time left in the game, setting up an opportunity for overtime.
“We’re not just one or two guys,” Bulldogs coach James Peterson said. “If you take something away from us, we’re gonna go somewhere else.”
Even so, the Bulldogs went to their postgame meeting with tears in their eyes, knowing that the outcome could’ve been different.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” Pearson said, fighting back tears. “We tried our best. We went down by one point. Sometimes, that’s how it is. They’re a great team. We had the momentum at the end. We can’t get them all, I guess.”
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