Although sporting a new name, the Turlock Youth Football's Junior Pride (formerly known as the 49ers) have the same goal — win the Super Bowl.
Second year Peewee head coach Guy Davidson led his Junior Pride squad to a perfect 12-0 record in his first year last season, heading into the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the Ceres Seahawks came away with the win.
“It was a great football game, honestly,” said Davidson.
Davidson is welcoming back majority of his team for the new year after his squad gave up only 32 points in a 12-game span before allowing 34 alone in the championship game.
Of that defense, Davidson returns eight of 11 defensive starters.
“We may have a better defense this year,” Davidson said. “We are expected to be one of the top teams and I am looking forward to the season with a lot of work to do but got a great group of kids.”
The JV Junior Pride started off the season 6-1 and were the Super Bowl runner-ups in 2014, after losing to the Turlock Bulldogs by six points to end the run.
“It was a pretty dramatic game for both sides, but both Turlock sides did very well to make it,” said JV assistant head coach Pete Nunes.
After losing to the Bulldogs, formerly known as the Vikings, for two consecutive seasons, the Junior Pride are hoping that maybe the third time's the charm with a team that welcomes back half of their roster from last season.
“We are getting ready to go at it again and looking to repeat the success,” said Nunes. “I think we will be even throughout, and deep all around as well.”
The offensive line returns three starters from last year that should create a wall for the multiple running backs the team has on its roster.
“We've got good promise heading into this season and we are looking to enjoy it and watching these kids develop,” Nunes added. “We have a ton of great players all around really, it's all about finding these kids' positions. We will be competitive and we will switch guys around.”
Head coach Mike Egleston led the Junior Pride varsity team into the third place contest of the season against the Turlock Bulldogs, but the team lost in overtime, 18-14.
Eager for a chance at redemption, Egleston is excited about the upcoming season with quarterback Jack Paslay taking on the reins behind a team with tons of potential to explode on offense.
“Our new guys are coming off a JV Super Bowl performance so they are tough and talented,” said Egleston. “Speed wise we will be there with everyone and maybe a little faster. We've got a lot of speed on this team with a lot of running backs and receivers, but we need to put in the work and start molding them.”
The Junior Pride Rookie team spent most of the regular season last year preparing for the postseason said head coach Matthew Day.
Unfortunately, the Junior Pride Rookies lost to the Bears in the first round of the playoffs.
“We are hoping to come back now since Turlock has had the Super Bowl for the past four years, so our goal is to bring it back,” Day said. “We don't have guys sitting but always playing.”
Look for Jeremiah and Isaiah Bertalotto to create some opportunities for the Rookie squad and make a difference Day added.