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Turlock’s offense leads them to victory on homecoming
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JT Foreman III gains yards for the Bulldogs (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

The Turlock High Bulldogs gave their fans a lot to cheer about on homecoming as they walked away with a 48-25 win over Modesto High. Turlock was led by a stellar offense performance that saw multiple players contribute to the high scoring victory.

The Bulldogs ended with 526 offense yards compared to 298 for the Panthers. Some standout players were quarterback Cole Gilbert, who finished with 252 passing yards and four touchdowns and JT Foreman, who had 154 rushing yards.

“We were mixing it up out there, we got a lot of weapons and the coaches used them all. It was great, because we really needed it tonight,” said head coach James Peterson.

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Turlock's Joshua Weatherbee puts pressure on Modesto's quarterback during Friday evening's game. The Bulldogs won 48-25 (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

It didn’t take long for things to get going, because it took Modesto five plays to score on the first drive of the game. A 40-yard pass set up the five-yard touchdown throw to give the Panthers the early lead. 

Turlock didn’t waste any time answering back as Gilbert led them down the field and connected with wide receiver Logan Hart for a six-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldogs missed the extra point though, and were down 6-7 with 7:34 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers were driving in the redzone their next possession and fumbled, but ended up recovering the ball in the endzone to take a 13-6 lead. It took the Bulldogs three plays and a 71-yard pass from Gilbert to Hart to answer and tie the game at 13.

Turlock got their first stop the next possession and the offense took advantage. The Bulldogs drove the ball in nine plays and scored on a 12-yard touchdown reception by tight end Joshua Weatherbee for the first points of the second quarter.

The Panthers didn’t go away though, and drove the field for 12-plays, which included a muffed punt by the Bulldogs, for a three-yard touchdown run to cut Turlock’s lead to 20-19 with 5:30 left in the half. The Bulldogs were driving to score but fumbled with 28 seconds left to end the half.

“I think overall the defense did what they needed to win. But I felt they came in a little flat tonight. I didn’t feel like we came in with that nasty dog attitude, we needed to come in with the attitude that we need to tackle this big back out here, and we paid for it because they kept running it with their guy,” said Peterson.

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The Bulldogs celebrate after DJ Sizemore intercepts the ball and runs it back for a touchdown (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Turlock didn’t slow down coming out of the half as wide receiver Peter Mello caught a nine-yard touchdown pass with less than three minutes into the half. Modesto fought back with another long drive that lasted 13 plays and resulted in a six-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 27-25.

Modesto was down 34-25 after a touchdown run by Foreman and were looking to stay in the game. But Brock Muirbrook intercepted the ball and ran it into the endzone to give the Bulldogs a commanding 41-25.

Turlock shut the Panthers out the rest of the half while the Bulldogs scored one more time in the fourth to secure the 48-25 victory.

With the season nearing its end, Turlock hopes to play like they did on Friday to end things on a high note and earn a spot in the playoffs

“We have to finish like we did tonight. We have to score points and win games big, because we have to get respect from Sacramento. We want their respect so we could go to the playoffs,” said Peterson.

The Bulldogs improved their record to 3-6 with a 2-1 record in the conference. Up next is an away game against Enochs on Oct. 21. The game starts at 7 p.m.