This past season was special for Turlock Youth Football. The program had one of the most memorable years to-date during the 2017 campaign after all eight of their teams reached the postseason.
By the conclusion of the year, five of those teams reached the Super Bowl in their respective divisions while three came out as winners: the peewee Pride, the JV Bulldogs and rookie Pride.
“I think we have an amazing board and coaching staff at all levels and we have great boys, comes down to that, our players are fantastic and the parents support them,” said peewee Pride head coach Matt Day.
For coach Day, the preseason expectations lived up to the hype and the kids performed—at all four levels.
The peewee squad finished the year undefeated, winning the Super Bowl and earning a berth in the National Youth Football Tournament in Las Vegas this past holiday weekend.
Prior to that, the peewee Pride toppled the Manteca Jaguars 42-6 in the first round of the postseason.
They followed their first-round win with a 30-0 victory over the Atwater Falcons in the second round then toppled the Merced Cougars back on Nov. 18 in the Super Bowl, 20-14.
“That was an awesome game,” said Day. “They boys had to fight hard; the Cougars came out ready to play us, we won big time the first time in the regular season, so the boys were ready, we met the challenge but they came to play and our guys stepped up and did a great job. I can’t be any happier with how they played.”
From there, they traveled to Las Vegas to compete for a national championship with teams from across the country at Liberty High School.
“There are over 100 teams that show up every year at all different levels, we were the only one from TYF to go,” said Day.
The peewee Pride opened up tournament play on Friday in the 10 and under division, the day after Thanksgiving, and beat out the Denver Giants, 30-6, to earn a spot in the finale.
Led by a stingy defense, the Pride went on to defeat the Santa Clarita Grizzlies, 40-12, winning the trophy outright.
The Pride end the season with a perfect 15-0 record.
“Defense wins championships,” said Day. “I think our points against was an impressive number, including tournament. The total had us at 560 points for and against (50).”
Turlock had four teams from the TYF compete in two Super Bowls in their respective levels.
In the JV Super Bowl, the Bulldogs toppled the Pride after a 16-8 win from Joe Debely back on Nov. 18.
“It was a fantastic game, turnovers on both sides which made it really close. It was a fight,” said Day. “It was also awesome that we were able to do all these games on our home field. Each year the Super Bowl is played on different fields chosen by the league board, but this year it happened to be in Turlock.”
The rookie Super Bowl between the Pride and Bulldogs, which was also hosted at Joe Debely, ended in favor of the Pride, 33-0.