Bulldog Bites

Bulldog Bites Dog Head

Welcome to your Bulldog’s news page. We will bring you up-to-date information as it becomes available! We look forward to a great season! Go Bulldogs! 


Bulldogs: Freshman Home game August 31, 2023 @ 6 pm. Come out to Joe Debely Stadium and cheer on our Freshman Bulldogs! 

Varsity and JV will be on the road visiting Central Fresno. Game times are: JV at 5 p.m. and Varsity at 7 p.m.  

Turlock stuns undefeated St. Mary’s in a historic shootout 

November 14, 2022

Heading into Friday night’s matchup, the 7-seeded Turlock Bulldogs hit the road to take on the 2-seeded St. Mary’s Rams. Many people counted Turlock out of the second-round matchup as the Rams were undefeated, ranked 22nd in the state, and beat the prestigious De La Salle Spartans this season. But none of the hype phased the Bulldogs as Turlock put together a performance of a lifetime beating St. Mary’s 51-50.

From the first drive, Turlock saw flashes of the Rams’ athleticism as St. Mary’s put together a 4:40 minute drive that resulted in a Samson Hunkin passing touchdown to Asante Carter to give the Rams a 7-0 lead. 

But as the Turlock offense did all night, they quickly responded. Cole Gilbert led the Bulldogs down the field and found Josh Weatherbee running down the sideline to even the score 7-7 midway through the first.

The ensuing drive was a big stop that gave the ball back to Turlock and the offense capitalized on it when Gilbert was in a footrace to the endzone on a 67-yard run giving the Bulldogs a 13-7 lead.

Turlock took advantage of St. Mary’s slow start, which they have had all season, as the Bulldogs extended their lead to 19-7 on a Gilbert pass to Jeremiah Bertalotto with 10:03 left in the second quarter.

The Rams’ offense wouldn’t be that easy to knock down, however. They put together back-to-back scoring drives to take a 21-19 lead with 3:46 left in the second quarter. 

Turlock had one more response in them before the half as they put together an impressive drive that resulted in a 1-yard rushing touchdown where Gilbert took flight. This was followed by some trickery on a successful two-point conversion to give Turlock back the lead, 27-21.

With nearly two minutes left in the second quarter, both sides knew that the explosive Rams offense could score in a blink of an eye. The Rams got into the Turlock redzone where Turlock began to stand its ground, but St. Mary’s would score on a 15-yard fade to Cayden Ward with one second left in the half, Turlock trailed 28-27 at halftime.

Both sides of the stadium knew what tends to happen in the second half of St. Mary’s football games, complete domination. In the Rams’ league games, they outscored their opponents by 85 points in the second half, but Turlock, who is not statistically a second-half team, was ready for it.

But as expected, the Rams would strike first to start the second half when Hunkin found Brooks Wheatley on a 45-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 35-27.

But Gilbert and his offense were just getting started. A convincing drive was capped off by none other than Turlock’s trickery when Vincent Gonzalez found Gilbert on a double pass resulting in a Turlock touchdown. Of course, Head Coach James Peterson and his squad would go for two where Gilbert scrambled in to tie the game 35-35 with 7:29 left in the third quarter. 

After another big defensive stop, Turlock would get the ball back and score in a hurry when Gilbert found Andrew Johnson on a 33-yard touchdown pass. Gilbert would again find the endzone with his legs on the two-point play to give Turlock back the lead 43-35.

The third-quarter scoring frenzy would finish with a Wheatley 1-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a successful two-point conversion. The game was tied 43-43 to start the final quarter of the ball game.

Oddly enough, the fourth quarter of the game consisted of huge stops for both sides as both offenses were limited to one score a piece. The first score of the quarter would belong to none other than the Rams as they converted on a fourth and goal thanks to a 1-yard Carter rushing touchdown to give the Rams a 50-43 lead with 7:30 left in the section quarterfinals.

On the ensuing drive, Gilbert who has only thrown two interceptions on the season threw his third at what seemed to be the worst time possible as Joshua Watkins made a great play on the ball and gave the Rams great field position. The end seemed near for the Turlock squad who gave St. Mary’s all they could handle. 

But a red zone stop by the Turlock defense would save their season, however, as the Bulldogs stood tall thanks to a Bertalotto pass break up in the endzone that forced a Ram’s 37-yard field goal attempt. This would extend their lead to 10 with nearly three minutes left in the ball game and would have likely sealed the game for the Rams. But the kick was wide right and the Turlock offense had one last opportunity to save their season, and that they did.  

On their final drive, the Turlock offense was nearly flawless. Between key conversions with JT Foreman on the ground and Gilbert completing 4/5 passing on the drive, the Turlock offense would drive 80 yards down the field and score thanks to Peter Mello who had two big receptions on the drive, the second resulting in six making the score 50-49 St. Mary’s with 1:11 left on the clock.

Every fan in the stadium knew what was coming next: a two-point conversion, most likely involving the Turlock trickery that they saw all night. And Coach Peterson and his squad delivered one last time. Gilbert, in an empty backfield, took two steps in what was deemed to be a designed QB draw, then came to a sudden stop where he threw a jump pass that found Johnson in the back of the endzone to give Turlock a 51-50 lead. Turlock would finish the night 4/5 on two-point conversions. 

But 1:11 left in the game seemed to be too much time for the explosive Rams offense who got down the field in no hurry as their offense was picking apart the Turlock secondary. St. Mary’s got down to the Turlock 32-yard line with 30.7 seconds left when Johnson decided he had enough. Johnson, the star receiver and safety, baited the quarterback into thinking he had an open post in the middle of the field that had been successful all night. But Johnson would make another heroic, game-winning play for the Bulldogs, cutting in front of the route from across the field and intercepting Hunkin to seal the Turlock win 51-50 with 23 seconds remaining.

 The Bulldogs would finish in victory formation and complete their program’s biggest win in recent history.

“Johnson baited the quarterback, then jumped the route perfectly,” Head Coach James Peterson said.

Gilbert finished the game 19/33 passing for 321 yards and four passing touchdowns. Gilbert was the leading rusher for Turlock as well as he finished with 145 rushing yards on 11 carries resulting in two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 26 yards that resulted in another touchdown. 

Gilbert had a strong supporting cast as Mello and Weatherbee combined for 223 receiving yards on 10 combined receptions. Foreman finished with 60 rushing yards along with big-time pass breakups at safety for the Turlock defense. 

Though it wasn’t the Turlock defense’s best game on paper, they came up with timely stops that seemed impossible to do for both defenses Friday night. JV standout, Dominic Luna, led the way once again finishing with 9.5 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss. He was followed by Mello and Bertalotto who both finished with 7.0 tackles a piece and of course, the late-game heroics of Johnson on his game-sealing interception.

Rams quarterback, Hunkin, played great but was ultimately outshined by Gilbert in the matchup as Hunkin finished 26/43 with 312 passing yards and 127 rushing.

“I think everything we have gone through this season has taught us lessons along the way and I feel like every single one of those lessons came to play last night,” Peterson said.

Whether that was the gauntlet of a preseason schedule, facing top receiving cores in California’s Central Valley, or losing on a last-second field goal to league-rival Downey high, it all seemed to come together for Turlock Friday night.

After his huge performance, Gilbert was taking in the moment after finally doing what no Turlock team has done in the modern era of Turlock football, advance to the third round of the playoffs. 

“I’m at a loss for words, but I’m excited for our guys,” Gilbert said. “We came through on offense but the defense pulled through there at the end. I kept telling the guys, “defense wins championships.”

Not only was Peterson appreciative of his players’ grit, but at Saturday’s breakfast, he displayed his gratitude towards the Turlock community for showing up and making the trip to St. Mary’s on a cold November night. 

“It felt like you guys were with us the whole way, I think these boys know, when you get the whole community behind you, you cannot fail,” Peterson said. “The crowd noise last night was incredible. That was the 12th man last night in the stadium, for sure.”

As for Turlock, they hope to continue their Cinderella run that has them heading up to 3-seeded Oak Ridge this upcoming Friday, which the Bulldogs know all too well. In the last three postseasons, Turlock has been knocked out by Oak Ridge twice in the second round. The first time, Turlock fell 27-9, and the following year they lost 24-14, but the 2022 Turlock Bulldogs hope to avenge these losses this Friday. The only difference this year: they will meet in the third round semi-finals, where the winner will punch their ticket to the Section Championship. And all eyes are on Turlock to see if they can pull off another upset against a Sacramento powerhouse.

“Your record doesn’t matter, the fact that you beat St. Mary’s doesn’t matter anymore, there’s no second chances,” Peterson said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to go up to Oak Ridge, we’re ready for it.”