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Turlock defense stymies Sheldon in crucial pre-league win
Turlock high football1
Turlock High’s Anthony Frias scored a 23-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to secure the Bulldogs 14-6 win over Sheldon on Friday night (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Turlock High football earned some respect in the section after Friday night’s defensive performance that saw the Bulldogs hold on to a 14-6 win, after multiple goal-line stands from the defense that secured their third win in four games played.

“Hard fought game, we just kept battling and hoping something good was going to happen. Honestly, that is what I thought all game. I thought if we kept them off the scoreboard, we can’t lose at that point,” said Turlock head coach James Peterson.

Turlock had lost to Sheldon last year, 41-28.

This time, the Turlock defense was on fire, holding Sheldon to just 88 yards of total offense in the first half alone.

They allowed 85 in the second half, with a total of 173 yards on offense.

Over and over on Friday night, the Turlock defense was knocking down Sheldon quarterback Sean Nixon to the turf over a dozen times — and sacking him multiple times. The number of quarterback hurries was well over 10 as the Turlock front seven stayed consistent with pressure from the outside and inside.

This included consistent big plays and pressure from Tamirr Bullock, Rios Rogers, Devin Bradley, Jacob Masihi, Jayden Jackson and Michael Fram to name some standouts.

“Every time we battle somebody from Sacramento, you know it is going to be a tough battle, I am really happy with how our team played. You cannot underestimate any team, all of them are good and I think tonight we earned some respect,” said Jackson, who had over half a dozen tackles. “We are a bunch of seniors. We are hungry and we know what we can do and we know we can step up in clutch situations.”

The secondary also did work, holding the Sheldon offense to just 63 yards through the air in the second half.

“This is a big win since we lost to them last year and this year we came back and we knew we had to take it, especially for the rankings. Big game for us, huge for us,” said Turlock’s Devin Bradley. “Tonight, my personal opinion we didn’t look all there on offense, but for Central we will get back on the grind tomorrow and hit them hard.”

Following the win, Turlock is now 3-1 for the year and improves to 14-15-1 in games played on Friday the 13th. 

“Got the defense to be on the lockdown. We trained for it and we went over the red zone situations a lot, and as a defensive player we love those instances. It is a gut check time, we are going to block them off and try to get them to visualize success and especially tonight I think they did that,” said Peterson.

Turlock’s defense stepped it up a notch, especially after the Turlock offense turned the ball over four times, setting up their defense in tough situations during the game.

Once Sheldon had a 6-0 lead with 30 seconds left in the first quarter, that was it.

Turlock’s defense then took over.

David Cruz of Turlock scored the first touchdown after a 27-yard grab that saw him bulldoze his way into the end zone to make it 7-6 with 4:33 left in the second.

The score remained the same until the fourth quarter when Turlock marched down the field for a seven-play scoring drive that was capped off by an Anthony Frias 23-yard touchdown run to make it 14-6 with 4:09 left in the game.

Jackson swatted Nixon’s pass in the final 80 seconds to turn the ball over on downs from Turlock’s 28.

The next game for Turlock will be at home against Central High of Fresno at 7 p.m. Friday.

 “We know Central is a really great team, so we need to come out every practice and be super physical, come out there and play our defense and offense,” Masihi added.