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Turlock once again faces preseason gridiron gauntlet
Turlock v Tracy football 2019
Turlock will once again meet Tracy in preseason play in the ‘Battle for the Bone,’ a matchup that hasn’t happened since 2019 (pictured above).

The dog bone will once again be up for grabs as Turlock and Tracy high schools — both nicknamed the Bulldogs — resume their preseason Battle for the Bone rivalry this fall.

The schools had trouble aligning their schedules in recent years, but the teams will met in Tracy — during the second week of the preseason on Aug. 30 — for the first time since 2019.

The teams met up eight times during the previous decade and split the series 4-4, though two of Tracy’s wins came in the postseason.

Just like last season, Turlock High must navigate a preseason minefield before getting to Central California Athletic League play.

With one exception, of Tracy, which fills a spot previously held by Clayton Valley Charter, the Bulldogs’ preseason opponents are the same as last year: Rocklin, Central (Fresno), Folsom, and Clovis West (Fresno).

The Bulldogs went 0-5 during the 2023 preseason, but posted a perfect 5-0 league record en route to the CCAL title. A similar preseason fate could await them this year. 

Folsom and Rocklin are the section’s reigning Division 1 and Division 2 champions, respectively, while Central was the Central Section’s D-1 runner-up, losing to Clovis North. Clovis West, meanwhile, fell to Clovis North in the quarterfinal round.

“Our goal as a program is make it to the fourth round and to do that, we need to be among the top four seeds in the section to have a legitimate shot,” said THS head coach James Peterson, entering his 16th season at the helm. “We need that strength of schedule to justify the seeding when it comes time for playoffs.”

Two years ago, the Bulldogs reached the third round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, upsetting top-seeded St. Mary’s (Stockton) 51-50 to reach the semifinal round.

“That kind of success runs through the whole program,” said Peterson. “This year, the number of freshman we have is crazy. Seventy guys showed up on the first day of offseason workouts. Seven. Zero.”

Across town, Pitman’s preseason schedule also remains pretty much unchanged with Central Valley (Ceres), Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove), Hughson, and Golden Valley (Merced) returning. Atwater takes the place of Hilmar, which is no longer available for a Week 5 non-conference matchup with the Trans-Valley League’s expansion to eight teams.

The TVL said goodbye to Livingston and welcomes in Sonora, Ripon Christian and Orestimba — all of which have made deep postseason runs in recent years.

Hughson, the two-time defending D-6 champions, opens again with Ceres, Central Valley and Pitman, but had to ditch Downey and Elite Academy because of the new TVL schedule.

Hilmar faced Patterson, Los Banos, Sonora, Atwater and Pitman in the preseason a year ago. For 2024, the Yellowjackets will jettison Patterson and Pitman, while keeping dates with LB and Atwater. Sonora, of course, now becomes a league game and Davis (Modesto) slides in to fill that vacancy.

Unlike the expanding TVL, the Southern League is contracting, from eight teams to seven. That gives Denair an extra preseason slot to fill. The Coyotes will retain a date with Big Valley Christian (Modesto), but have added Summerville (Tuolumne) Bret Harte (Angels Camp) and Pajaro Valley (Watsonville).

Turlock Christian, which played eight-man football last season, is not currently part of an 11-man football league this year. The Eagles, whose schedule features an average of more than 100 miles per road trip, open play Aug. 23 at home against Alpaugh.




Aug. 23 Rocklin, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 at Tracy, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 Central (Fresno), 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Folsom, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Clovis West (Fresno), 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Bye

Oct. 4 Gregori (Modesto), 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Pitman, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 Downey, 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 at Modesto, 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 Enochs (Modesto), 7 p.m.



Aug. 23 at Central Valley (Ceres), 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove), 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 6 at Hughson, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 Golden Valley (Merced), 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Atwater, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Bye

Oct. 4 at Downey (Modesto), 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Turlock, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Enochs (Modesto), 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 Gregori (Modesto), 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 at Modesto, 7 p.m.



Aug. 23 Ceres, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 at Central Valley, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 Pitman, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 Bye

Sept. 20 at Ripon, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Ripon Christian, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 Escalon, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Sonora, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Orestimba (Newman), 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 at Hilmar, 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 Modesto Christian, 7 p.m.



Aug. 23 at Davis (Modesto), 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 Los Banos, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 Bye

Sept. 13 at Atwater, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Ripon Christian, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Escalon, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Sonora, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Orestimba (Newman, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Modesto Christian, 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 Hughson, 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 Ripon, 7:30 p.m.



(Sat) Aug. 24 at Big Valley Christian (Modesto), 7:15 p.m.

Aug. 30 Summerville (Tuolumne), 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 6 at Bret Harte (Angels Camp), 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 13 Pajaro Valley (Watsonville), 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Stone Ridge Christian (Merced), 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 27 Gustine, 7:15 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Le Grand, 7:15 p.m.

Oct. 11 Mariposa, 7:15 p.m.

Oct. 18 Bye

Oct. 25 Delhi, 7:15 p.m.

Nov. 1 at Waterford, 7:15 p.m.



Aug. 23 Alpaugh, 5 p.m.

(Sat) Aug. 31 Cuyama Valley (New Cuyuama), 3 p.m.

Sept. 6 California School for the Deaf (Fremont), 5 p.m.

(Sat). Sept. 14 Harker (San Jose), 11 a.m.

Sept. 20 at Priory (Portola Valley), 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Pinewood (Los Altos Hills), 4 p.m.

Oct. 4 Kings Christian (Lemoore), 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Bye

Oct. 18 at Sierra (Tollhouse), 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 Laton, 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 at Fresno Christian, 7 p.m.