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Will the real Turlock Bulldogs please stand up
football field

After beating Rocklin 14-7 to open the season and, in the process, avenge a 41-0 setback in 2021 to the Thunder, the Bulldogs’ rising star fell to earth with a 48-0 setback to Clovis West.

It’s the most lopsided loss for the Bulldogs under James Peterson since his first game as head coach in 2009, when they lost 56-6 to Oakdale.

So, are the Bulldogs closer to the team that handled a talented Rocklin club or are they more like the team that got trounced in Fresno?

“We beat (Clovis West) last year and we were coming off the Rocklin win …” said Peterson, his voice trailing off, not wanting to say what he was thinking … that his club might have been a little full of itself after beating the Thunder. “But I think we’re closer to the team that beat Rocklin. I really do. And the players are excited to get that taste out of their mouths on Friday.”

Things get no easier this week for the Bulldogs, who take on Central (Fresno), No. 43 in the latest state rankings. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, dropped more than 100 spots in the rankings and now sit 224th. 

To give the numbers some context: Folsom, widely regarded as the best Division I team in the Sac-Joaquin Section, is 27th in the state, according to MaxPreps. Central Catholic, regarded as the top team in the southern half of the section, is ranked 41st statewide. Manteca, which will host Turlock on Sept. 9, is ranked 45th. Clayton Valley Charter, Turlock’s Sept. 16 opponent, is No. 81.

So, what does Peterson want to see from his team during the remainder of the non-conference schedule?

“I just want us to show toughness,” said Peterson. “I want us to minimize mistakes and play sound football.”

In other games, Pitman will travel to take on Patterson, while Hilmar heads to the Mother Lode to take on Sonora at historic Dunlavey Stadium. Denair, meanwhile, will host Riverbank.