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: Week three of Playoffs, Away Game @ Oak Ridge (Eldorado Hills), November 18, 2022. The game time is 7 pm. Wear your Blue and Gold and support your Turlock Bulldogs.
***Please note: Norcal Sports TV will not be streaming this game. Streaming for this game will be through NFHS streaming subscription per CIF***
Congratulations To Your Turlock Bulldogs for advancing to the Semifinals of the CIF San Joaquin Section!!!
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.”
Turlock shuts out Edison in playoff opener
November 05, 2022
Turlock High welcomed the Edison Vikings to open the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs on Friday night. A fast start overwhelmed Edison as the Bulldogs were clicking on all gears, Turlock routed the Vikings 35-0.
After a convincing opening drive capped off by an 18-yard touchdown reception by Jeremiah Bertalotto, the Turlock defense showed too that they came to play. Edison’s opening play was a miscued snap that lost them over 10 yards and the Turlock defense took advantage. In the ensuing play, Turlock brought the house with a new defensive package that made its debut last night, and it resulted in a sack. The Turlock defense fed off the crowd’s energy and forced a quick three-and-out to give Turlock back the ball.
And the Bulldogs would not let up. The offense put together impressive drives led by running back JT Foreman. Foreman would score three consecutive touchdowns for Turlock as they pulled away from Edison midway through the second quarter. Foreman scored from 4 yards out on two occasions and along with a 19-yard rushing touchdown. And by the time Foreman scored his final touchdown with 5:18 left in the second quarter, the Vikings looked defeated. Turlock led 28-0 heading into halftime.
Andrew Johnson was also a main component of last night’s shutout on both sides of the ball. Johnson did it all as he finished the game with two interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a 46-yard passing touchdown, and a 31-yard reception.
The final score of the game was Johnson’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Peter Mello with 4:41 in the third quarter that sealed the 35-0 win for Turlock.
The Turlock offense finished the game with 439 yards, 269 through the air, and 170 on the ground. Leading the charge was Foreman who finished with 99 rushing yards on 18 rushes. Mello finished with 95 yards on five receptions followed by Jeremiah Bertalotto and Josh Weatherbee who combined for 120 yards on 10 receptions.
It was the Turlock defense though that made the difference for the Bulldogs last night as they shut down a Vikings offense that averaged 38.1 PPG heading into Friday’s matchup. The defense forced four turnovers and only gave up 191 yards of total offense. They limited Edison to only 19 rushing yards and finished the game with four sacks. Turlock also shut the Viking offense down on third down holding them to 0/7 on third down conversions.
This was the Turlock defense’s first shutout of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time as the Bulldogs seem to be finding their stride at the perfect time. Leading the way was Dominic Luna who was brought up from the JV team this week, Luna finished with 6.5 tackles including a sack. He was followed by Gage Pritt who finished with 4.5 and Bertalotto who finished with 4 tackles.
At Saturday morning’s breakfast, Head Coach James Peterson praised the JV coaching staff for preparing their players to compete at the varsity level.
“Coach Belew and his guys get these boys ready to play,” Peterson said.
Last night was bittersweet for Bulldog fans as it was the final home game of the season for Turlock, but Peterson also showed his appreciation to the home crowd who showed out one last time at Joe Debely Stadium.
“It makes a huge difference, you could just feel it. It was a great atmosphere,” Peterson said. “You feel the love and support which makes it easier to bring energy to the game.”
The Bulldogs will be on the road for the remainder of their postseason run where they will next head up to play No. 2 St. Mary’s (Stockton) which is currently ranked 22nd in the state of California. As many people are already counting the Bulldogs out, Turlock knows they can compete with the best as they showed during their preseason schedule.
“We earned our spot to be here,” Senior, Jason Rose, said. “I think we have what it takes to compete with St. Mary’s, it simply comes down to how we execute.”
Peterson echoed Rose explaining that rankings don’t matter anymore, how a team plays on the field does.
“Your record doesn’t matter when you step on that field. It’s a mindset. Win the day,” Peterson said.
Turlock hopes to get one step closer to achieving their ultimate goal, a section championship, and it all goes down on Veteran’s Day. The winner will head to the SJS Semifinals where they will play the winner of Oak Ridge and Elk Grove.
Turlock handles Gregori on Senior Night
October 29, 2022
On an emotional senior night at Joe Debely Stadium, the Turlock Bulldogs welcomed the Gregori Jaguars for the final game of the regular season. After giving up a quick score on the opening drive, Turlock scored 37 unanswered points, beating Gregori 37-13.
Gregori opened up the game with a big run that got the Jaguars within the red zone only minutes into the game. The Jaguars got on the scoreboard first with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Grant Veneman to Trey Webb to take a 6-0 lead with 8:19 left in the first quarter.
After the opening score, Turlock began to settle into the game. On the following drive, the Turlock offense put together a convincing drive that resulted in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Cole Gilbert to Peter Mello to take a 7-6 lead.
The second quarter was all Turlock, who has been statistically good in the second quarter of games this season. They have scored 150 of their 342 points in the second quarter of games this season.
The scoring began with none other than Gilbert on a 1-yard touchdown run. After stalled drives by both teams, a punt from Gilbert was fielded by Mello on the 1-yard line which backed up Gregori in their endzone. In the ensuing play, the Turlock defense got on the board with a safety by Logan Durkee and Devon Lambert.
Later on, in the second quarter, Gilbert found Josh Weatherbee who made big-time receptions all night. Gilbert found Weatherbee on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 4:06 left in the half. Weatherbee finished with 128 receiving yards on six receptions.
Turlock got the ball with nearly a minute left in the half hoping to make a final surge and that they did. Set up by a flurry of screens, Gilbert found Mello once again with nine seconds left in the half to give Turlock a 30-6 halftime lead.
After a slow second half by both offenses, Turlock would go on to beat Gregori 37-13.
Turlock finished with 406 offensive yards compared to Gregori’s 225. Gilbert threw 16/24 for 265 yards and four touchdowns. His leading receivers were Weatherbee and Mello who had 203 combined receiving yards on 12 receptions.
Gregori’s offense was single-handedly led by running back Alton Williams, who finished with 139 rushing yards on 21 attempts.
The Turlock defense held Gregori to 3/11 on third-down conversions and 2/5 on fourth downs. Gage Pritt was Turlock’s leading tackler with 6.0 tackles and a sack, followed by Owen Miller who finished with 4.5.
Tonight’s win puts Turlock at 6-4 on the season and secures a second-place finish in CCAL. They await their playoff bid for the Division 1 SJS Playoffs which will be announced Sunday afternoon.
“We’re eager to find out who we are playing, once we do, we’ll get to work and start grinding out film,” Peterson said.
Turlock offense overwhelms Enochs in Friday’s win
October 22, 2022
As the regular season starts to wind down, the Turlock Bulldogs are clicking on all cylinders in preparation for their final regular season game and a postseason run. Friday night’s matchup brought the Enochs Eagles into town and Turlock handled the Eagles in a 56-16 win.
From the opening play, Turlock’s explosive offense was on display when Cole Gilbert found wide receiver, Peter Mello, on a 56-yard touchdown pass only 16 seconds into the first quarter. On the next drive, JT Foreman quickly found the endzone on a 15-yard touchdown run giving the Bulldogs a 15-0 lead midway through the first quarter. This trio of Gilbert, Mello, and Foreman accounted for 558 of Turlock’s offensive yards on Friday.
However, the Eagles’ offense would not go down quietly led by quarterback Adam Ammar. The Eagles’ quarterback led two touchdown drives in the second quarter as the Eagles trailed Turlock 35-13 at the half.
But the Turlock defense quickly put a stop to that in the second half. After giving up a 45-yard field goal on the opening drive of the third, the Turlock defense shut out Enochs for the remainder of the game.
The defense was led by stout linebacker Owen Miller, who led Turlock with 7 tackles. Following him was Josh Weatherbee with 6.5 tackles, and the do-it-all Bertalotto twins who had 6 tackles each. The Bulldogs stopped the Eagles on three different fourth-down conversions and forced an interception thanks to Carter Crivelli.
Nonetheless, the Turlock offense was not done scoring and making big-time plays. Both Gilbert and Foreman had 85-yard touchdown runs early in the fourth quarter and the victory was capped off with a 15-yard touchdown by Vincent Gonzalez to complete the 56-16 win over Enochs.
Turlock’s offense finished with 668 yards. Gilbert finished 16/25 throwing for 233 yards, he had five rushes for 156 yards. Foreman tallied up 191 rushing yards on 14 carries along with 23 receiving yards. Mello finished with three receptions for 111 yards. The Bulldogs only possessed the ball for 15:17.
Enochs’ quarterback, Adam Ammar, finished 11/15 for 218 yards and 59 rushing yards.
Friday’s win makes Turlock 5-4 on the season (3-1 CCAL) as the Bulldogs have now won four of their last five games. Turlock will host Gregori for senior night this upcoming week in the regular season finale. The game will have playoff-seeding implications and the two are playing for a second-place finish in CCAL.
Turlock secures 80th win over Modesto High
October 15, 2022
The Turlock Bulldogs hit the road on Friday taking on a century-long rival, Modesto High. The two schools are some of the oldest in the San Joaquin Section as Modesto high was founded in 1883 and Turlock was founded in 1906. The first-ever matchup between the schools was in 1920. Turlock now leads the all-time series 80-40-4 after beating Modesto 58-15 Friday night.
And it was all Turlock from the start. The first score of the game belonged to the Bulldogs thanks to an opening drive interception by Josh Weatherbee which was followed by a 3-yard rushing touchdown for JT Foreman.
After another Foreman rushing touchdown from 22 yards out, the Turlock defense got on the scoreboard themselves with a safety leading the Panthers 23-0 with 6:59 left in the first quarter. Turlock led 44-9 at the half.
With a running clock, the second half came to an end quickly, but both teams got to rotate their players and give their rosters some play time. Backup quarterback, Vincent Gonzalez, had a 79-yard rushing touchdown as well as lineman, Jason Rose, who scored from 1-yard out.
The Turlock offense tallied up 450 yards on 37 plays. Turlock possessed the ball for only 11:53 seconds.
Cole Gilbert was 11/19 for 227 yards with four passing touchdowns. His leading receiver was Peter Mello who had 127 yards on three receptions with two touchdowns. Foreman racked up four touchdowns, two receiving and two on the ground.
The Turlock defense finished with three interceptions and a safety while holding Modesto to 5/17 on third-down conversions. Isaiah Bertalotto led the way with seven tackles, followed by Jeremy Garcia, Jackson Mendonca, and Ceaser Perez who had five tackles apiece.
Friday’s win qualified the Bulldogs for their eighth consecutive postseason appearance but will have to win out to be in the conversation of having an opening-round home game.
Turlock will finish the regular season with a two-game home stand that has Enochs and Gregori coming to town. Enochs is 1-2 in CCAL play and Gregori is 3-0.
Downey upsets Turlock’s homecoming as time expires
October 08, 2022
Turlock’s highly anticipated homecoming game went down Friday night as the Bulldogs
welcomed the Downey Knights. Coming into Friday’s matchup, both sides knew this game
would have heavy CCAL Championship implications and would go down to the wire, and that it
did. Downey pulled out the win with a 24-22 victory as time expired.
The game started slow but it was all Turlock early. After a scoreless first quarter, Cole Gilbert
had the first score of the game on a 4-yard touchdown run. Peter Mello would increase the
Turlock lead 14-0 on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Gilbert midway through the second quarter.
However, the Knights scored on a 1-yard touchdown with 2:59 left in the second quarter to cut
into Turlock’s halftime lead 14-7.
After big defensive stops from both sides, the Knights scored 14 unanswered points and took the
lead 21-14. But Turlock had one more drive in them with about five minutes left in the ball
game. After a convincing drive was slowed down by penalties, the Bulldogs ended up in fourth
and long near midfield. A miraculous scramble by Cole Gilbert led to a 41-yard touchdown
reception to JT Foreman who broke a tackle and scored with 1:51 seconds remaining making the
score 21-20 Downey.
But, the Bulldogs wanted it all as Head Coach James Peterson decided to go for a two-point
conversion to take the lead late. The gamble paid off when Gilbert found Peter Mello in the end
zone to give Turlock the 22-21 lead.
But this did not phase the Downey offense led by Conner Stoddard. The Knights put together a
drive consisting of scrambles and short passes picking apart the Turlock defense. A late hit on
the quarterback was a costly penalty for the Bulldogs that set up a 26-yard game-winning field
goal that secured Downey’s victory 24-22.
Turlock finished the game with 423 yards to Downey’s 315.
This matchup was also a highly anticipated quarterback battle. Gilbert finished the game 20/29
with 232 yards and two touchdowns. Gilbert also ran for 94 yards on the ground.
Stoddard finished the game 23/35 for 225 yards and one touchdown, he had 63 rushing yards as
Foreman finished the game with 159 yards of total offense including the miraculous fourth down
Andrew Johnson was Gilbert’s leading receiver with 73 yards on six catches.
Though this is a setback for the Bulldogs, winning the league has never been the end goal,
though it has always been a realistic aspiration. This was reminded at Saturday morning’s
breakfast by Quarterback Coach, Kirk Johnson.
“Sometimes you just have to tip your cap,” Johnson said.
Applauding Downey’s efforts all night long as well as their poise on the final drive.
“We’ve been saying this for years now, we want to take it to the next level. Our ultimate goal is
to win the section,” Johnson said. “That’s why we play these games like Central (Fresno),
Rocklin, and Clovis West to help prepare for the postseason. Ideally, we want to begin with at
least a home playoff game in the first round then go on the road and do some damage.”
Despite the loss, Turlock is on track to do so but will have to impress the CIF SJS playoff
committee in dominating fashion with their remaining schedule. They hit the road this Friday as
they take on a century-long rival, Modesto High.
Turlock Dismantles Pitman with a Record-breaking Performance in Harvest Bowl 19
October 1, 2022
After finishing non-conference play with a 2-3 record, the Turlock Bulldogs opened league play Friday night as they took on crosstown rival, Pitman high, in the 19th annual Harvest Bowl. From the opening drive, it was evident Turlock would be in control for the entirety of the game, and that they did, beating the Pride 57-14. Turlock broke the record for most points scored in a Harvest Bowl game, the previous being 49, as the Bulldogs have now won nine straight over the Pitman Pride.
The Bulldogs opened the game up with a quick stop on defense which led to a run-heavy opening drive led by JT Foreman who capped the drive off on a 6-yard touchdown with 7:02 remaining in the first quarter and Turlock would not look back.
After the Bulldogs came up with a stop on 4th-and-2, the Turlock offense wasted no time as quarterback Cole Gilbert found receiver Andrew Johnson in the endzone on a 29-yard touchdown pass to give Turlock a 15-0 lead in the first quarter.
On the following drive, Gilbert found Josh Weatherbee in the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead.
After another defensive stop, Gilbert took matters into his own hands when he found the endzone on an 8-yard rushing touchdown with 39 seconds left in the second quarter as Turlock went up 29-0 at the half.
Coming out of halftime, Pitman had no answers to slow down Turlock. On the second play of the third quarter, Gilbert connected with receiver Peter Mello for a 52-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead 36-0.
The following Pitman drive resulted in a blocked punt by Andrew Johnson which was followed by a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Foreman.
Logan Bankson continued the third-quarter scoring frenzy with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, extending Turlock’s lead, 50-0, a little over halfway through the third quarter.
Vincent “Deuce” Gonzalez scored the final touchdown for the Bulldogs with a 16-yard rushing touchdown to seal the ninth straight Harvest Bowl victory for Turlock as they won 57-14.
The Turlock offense finished the game with 480 yards and everyone got a taste of the endzone as seven different players scored for the Bulldogs last night.
Gilbert finished the game 10/15 for 234 yards with three passing touchdowns, all to different receivers, including Johnson, Weatherbee, and Mello.
Foreman finished the game with 124 rushing yards on 13 carries and two rushing touchdowns. Gilbert, Gonzalez, and Bankson all had rushing touchdowns of their own. Those three rushed for a total of 91 yards to add to Foreman’s workload.
On the other side of the dominant performance, the Turlock defense put on a clinic of their own, as the Pitman offense finished with only 117 yards. The defense held Pitman’s leading rusher, Joey Stout, to 37 yards on 13 rushes and quarterback Drew Walker to 9/17 for 80 yards.
The relentless Turlock defense was led by Owen Miller and Isaiah Bertalotto who finished with 4.0 tackles each. They were followed by Gage Pritt and Martin Bertao who both had 3.0 tackles.
Turlock now leads the all-time Harvest Bowl series 11-8.
At Saturday morning’s breakfast, Head Coach James Peterson expressed his gratitude towards his team and the community.
“I want to thank everybody for an awesome night, the atmosphere was awesome,” Peterson said.
“I’m so proud we made the away field our home field last night.”
Looking ahead to this upcoming Friday, Turlock will be hosting Downey in what many anticipate to be the CCAL championship. It is also Turlock’s homecoming.
“We have got to get back on top. Our boys have got to gear up with the same amount of preparation they did this week and bring it into next week. It isn’t going to get any easier,” Peterson said.
Last year was Turlock’s first-ever loss to Downey under Head Coach James Peterson.
Offensive lineman, Kristian Guerrero, also emphasized the importance of their upcoming game while reminding everyone that Turlock too, still has something to prove.
“It’s time to get mentally prepared, I know they think they’re the top dog, but I know as bulldogs, we got some dog in ourselves too,” Guerrero said. “It should be fun.”
Turlock Hangs on to Beat Clayton Valley Charter in a Thriller
September 16, 2022
In Friday night’s matchup, the Turlock Bulldogs hit the road to wrap up non-conference play against the Clayton Valley Charter Ugly Eagles. Despite giving up the opening kickoff, the Bulldogs grinded out Friday’s win 35-33, Turlock’s first-ever win over the Ugly Eagles.
Turlock gave up the opening kickoff and trailed 7-0 only 14 seconds into the ballgame. But that didn’t stop the Turlock offense from driving down the field tying the game 7-7 with an Andrew Johnson receiving touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs learned their lesson kicking it deep and onsided the ball. The Bulldogs recovered. This resulted in a run-dominant Turlock drive topped off with a Vicent Gonzales touchdown run on a third and short to increase the Turlock lead.
But, Clayton Valley did not go down quietly. They had a drive right before the half to cut into Turlock’s lead, the Bulldogs led 21-14 at the half.
After a quick three-and-out by the Turlock offense to start the second half, Clayton Valley took advantage of Turlock’s slow start and tied the game minutes into the third quarter.
But as Turlock did all night, they responded. A convincing drive was almost spoiled by a bad snap on the goal line which resulted in a fourth and goal. But it was no problem. On the crucial 4th down, Cole Gilbert found his tight end, Joshua Weatherbee, in the back of the end zone to take a 28-21 lead midway through the 4th quarter.
With a strong passing game, Clayton Valley drove down the field quickly and scored. However, a heads-up play by Turlock’s Logan Durkee, who blocked the extra point, protected Turlock’s lead, 28-27.
As this game was full of responses, both teams had a few more in them. A drive led by running back, JT Foreman, led Turlock down the field, while chewing a bulk of the clock. After a big night on the ground, JT broke out for a dagger touchdown run giving Turlock the lead 35-27. Foreman was a shoe-lace tackle away from breaking out a big run on multiple occasions last night. Foreman explained the build-up, as well as the payoff when he finally broke free on his crucial fourth-quarter touchdown.
“It’s like a momentum I feel each time I carry it. Once it came to halftime and I saw a little bit of film, I noticed the holes created by the linemen, which did a great job last night. Then I took advantage of it in the third and fourth quarter,” Foreman said.
But the game was not over quite yet. Clayton Valley responded with a deep ball to cut into Turlock’s lead 35-33, with a two-point conversion on deck. But the Turlock defense came up big again, with a stop in Clayton Valley’s attempt to tie the game. Clayton Valley attempted an onside kick of their own but it was unsuccessful.
Driving, the Bulldogs tried to seal the game on a 4th-and-2 in Clayton Valley’s territory but came up short.
Clayton Valley got the ball back with 47 seconds left in the game, down 35-33. With no timeouts, they got down the field once again with a big play. Clayton Valley spiked the ball just past midfield in Turlock territory, with 10 seconds left in an attempt to set up a game-winning hail mary pass. Turlock safety, Andrew Johnson, came up with a huge defensive interception to seal the Turlock win, though the clock hit 00:00, the game was not over. There was a late penalty call for roughing the passer, which moved Clayton Valley 15-yards closer to the endzone. But it was no problem for the Turlock defense, who stopped Clayton Valley on a screen for the final play of the ball game, Turlock hung on to win 35-33.
“Once I saw [Andrew] Johnson’s interception, I looked at the clock and saw it hit 0’s, I was super excited because we won the game,” Weatherbee said. “But then I saw the referees call a penalty on us, and it was a sense of, alright we just have got to do it again.
Though faced with adversity, the Turlock defense knew they had to get the job done regardless, no matter how long the game would last.
“It felt like the night would never end,” Head Coach James Peterson joked. “I’m proud of our boys. I thought it was great how the defense ended the game, they came up with two big stops.”
Overcoming adversity and fighting until the very last play has been the story for this year’s preseason schedule. But the tenacious, battle-tested Bulldogs came through last night. They hope to build off this win heading into league play where they face crosstown rival, Pitman high school.
“It’s been a rough preseason, but as I said before, the reason we play the tough schedule is because we want to be the tough schedule. We have to do that in order to play at a high level at the end of the season,” Peterson said.
And now that non-conference games are complete, Turlock will be the tough schedule for opponents as they have been unbeaten in five of the last six years in conference play.
“We’ve been preparing all preseason, our goal first is to obviously be a city champion, we’re going to get a chance real quick to do that again. Then, we want to win our league championship, and then we want to take it to the next level, do something that has never been done in the modern era, which is to earn Turlock football a section championship in the Sac-Joaquin section,” Peterson said.
Following a well-deserved bye week, Turlock will begin their quest to reclaim their championship crown. It all starts with rival, Pitman high school, on September 30th in the 19th annual Harvest Bowl.
Turlock Unable to Run with the Buffaloes at Manteca’s Homecoming
September 09, 2022
In Friday night’s homecoming game, the Manteca Buffaloes put on a running clinic against the Turlock Bulldogs. From the homecoming floats, the two fanbases, and the canons, the energy was high in Guss Schmiedt Stadium on Friday. However, the Bulldogs were not able to recover from Manteca’s fast start and fell to the Buffaloes 59-22.
Coming into this game, both teams knew Manteca wanted to run the ball. And from the opening drive, it was evident. Their backfield features a one-two punch featuring 4-star running back Blake Nichelson and Bryson Davis.
The Buffaloes jumped out to an early 21-0 lead. Turlock, who tends to have a great run defense was struggling. The Manteca rushing attack was too much for Turlock to handle. But the Bulldog offense responded with a 22-point quarter of their own putting the halftime score at 35-22.
After the late second-quarter surge, there was not much life left in the Turlock offense.
The Bulldogs were trying to ride their momentum in the opening drive of the second half but that was short-lived by an interception that set up a 5-yard rushing TD by Blake giving the Buffaloes a 41-22 lead. The Buffaloes did not look back as they beat the Bulldogs 59-22.
Manteca finished the game with 370 offensive yards, 304 of them on the ground. Nichelson had 23 Carries for 201 yards.
Turlock finished the game with 324 yards, 242 of them in the air. The offense had help from Peter Mello who made his debut on Friday night. Mello finished the game with 4 receptions for 103 yards. JT Foreman finished the game with 112 all-purpose yards of his own.
Joshua Weatherbee finished the game with nine solo tackles.
Though the defense struggled to slow down the Buffaloes’ running attack, they got a first-hand taste of playing a highly-recruited and physical running back. The Bulldog defense will have a similar challenge next Friday as they hit the road to Concord where they will finish preseason play against Clayton Valley Charter. Clayton Valley, a physical team received a big transfer in the offseason. The Ugly Eagles received Will Stallings Jr, a 6’1, 225-pound running back who is committed to the University of Tennessee. The Bulldogs look to avenge last year’s loss to Clayton Valley where they lost to the Ugly Eagles 35-22. Kickoff is set for 7 PM at Clayton Valley Charter high school.
Turlock puts up a dogfight against state powerhouse house Central of Fresno
September 02, 2002
Following one of the worst blowouts under Head Coach James Peterson, the Turlock Bulldogs looked to bounce back at home Friday night as they hosted the Central Grizzlies. Though the Bulldogs went toe-for-toe with an athletic Grizzly team, the Grizzlies’ offense began to pull away in the second half.
From the moment both teams entered the field, one thing was certain, both squads brought the intensity into Friday night’s matchup, and that energy was much needed as both teams combined for a total of 138 plays on a hot September night. The short-handed Bulldogs would eventually run out of steam towards the second half and ultimately fell to the Grizzlies 54-41.
The last time the Bulldogs hosted Central, they lost 41-13, and the Grizzlies went on to be California’s 2019 1-AA state champions that season. This year, the Grizzlies are ranked 43rd in the state. This time, the matchup was much more competitive.
From the opening quarter, both teams showed flashes of their athleticism. Central took the ball down the field on their first drive of the game, topped off by a 21-yard rushing touchdown by #6 Jaylon Jones to give the Grizzlies an early 7-0 lead.
But as Turlock did most of the night, they responded. Quarterback, Cole Gilbert, found tight-end Joshua Weatherbee in the end zone to tie things up 7-7 late in the first quarter. With both offenses starting to get in a rhythm, points were being scored left and right. Seconds before halftime, the Turlock defense held Central in the red zone, ending the half with a JT Foreman interception. Turlock led at the half 22-19.
Coming into the second half, Central’s explosive offense began to figure out the Turlock defense. The Grizzlies outscored Turlock 21-6 in the third quarter behind three touchdown passes from quarterback Dayton Tafoya.
Central began to pull away as the Bulldogs began to run out of gas on the defensive side. Turlock would end up losing to the Grizzlies 54-41.
Both offenses seemed to find their groove tonight, however. Coming into tonight’s game, Central’s highest scoring game was 28 points and Turlock’s was 14.
Central finished the game with 585 total offensive yards in comparison to Turlock’s 553.
Central quarterback Dayton Tafoya finished the game 22/40 for 351 yards with five touchdown passes.
Tafoya’s top two receivers, Braylen Hall and Ladanian Streets, finished for a combined 242 receiving yards.
Turlock, a run-first team, also began to find success in the air as Cole Gilbert finished the game 14/28 for 317 yards with two touchdown passes. Defensive back and backup quarterback, Vincent Gonzalez had success too finishing 4/4 for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
The Turlock receiving core stepped up in the absence of Peter Mello and Andrew Johnson with contributions from Weatherbee, Jeremiah Bertalotto, JT Foreman, Kael Mcbay, and Carter Crivelli.
The offensive line also had a next-man-up mentality in absence of starting lineman Nelson Lozano.
Bertalotto led the way for the Bulldogs finishing with nine tackles on the defensive side of the ball and Gonzalez finished with six of his own. It is no shock that multiple impact players are going both ways for Turlock as they have been short-handed, yet continuously up for the challenge.
At Saturday morning’s breakfast, Peterson explained what separated the two teams last night.
“It’s little things like that, when you play a great team and make one mistake, they’ll make it count,” Peterson said.
He later explained that this was a great opportunity for his team to get better against some of the most talented players in the area. He was also proud of how his team handled Friday night’s challenge against a prestigious program.
“The best part about last night was that our guys fought, we fought all night, nobody quit, and you could see it until the very end,” Peterson said.
Looking ahead, Turlock will be heading up to play Manteca Friday night The Buffaloes are ranked 44th in the state and second in the entire San Joaquin Section.
For the Bulldogs to not repeat what happened last time on the road, they are going to have to bring the same energy they have while playing at home. Junior lineman, Logan Durkee, touched on this at Saturday’s breakfast and explained the Bulldogs will have to practice how they want to play.
“I think it starts with high energy in practice and working hard every single day, as well as staying on top of our teammates,” Durkee added. “That will help us carry energy over to the game.”
Peterson jokingly added, “BYOE,” telling his players to “Bring your own energy.”
Turlock continues to have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the valley, but be reminded, the Bulldogs are no slouch themselves.
“I’m excited about the opportunity this week to play Manteca, another quality school,” Peterson added.
“They will be a new test for us, but I know our boys will be up for it. We’re the tough schedule too, remember that. We’re going to need every player to step up this week.”
Turlock falls to 1-1 on the season after Friday night’s loss to Clovis West
August 27, 2022
Heading into the second game of the season, the Turlock Bulldogs hit the road against a talented Clovis West team Friday night. Both teams came into the matchup 1-0 on the season, but it was all Clovis West from the opening drive. A quick drive was topped off by a 6-yard rushing touchdown from #7 Aidan Fortenberry, giving Clovis West an early 7-0 lead.
When it was Turlock’s turn to respond, the offense beat themselves from their opening drive. In the first quarter alone, the offense had four self-inflicted turnovers, including three fumbles and a pick-six. The sloppy start put the Bulldogs in a 28-0 hole in just the first quarter and they were unable to dig themselves out of it.
Turlock trailed 34-0 at the half.
The second half was more competitive as the defense started to figure out Clovis West’s air-raid offense. Turlock’s offense began to put together a few promising drives through their run game but was stalled in the red zone on multiple occasions.
Turlock finished the game with 170 rushing yards.
Turlock ultimately lost 48-0 as Clovis West put an exclamation mark on their victory with a 49-yard touchdown pass to #14 Jakin Khajavi with under a minute left in the ball game.
Clovis West quarterback, Tyler Patrick, finished the game 16-for-24 with 300 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Though both teams were nearly equal in time of possession and number of plays, Turlock was unable to sustain drives as they finished 0/9 on third down conversions and 1/7 on fourth down conversions.
At Saturday morning’s breakfast, right guard and long snapper, Jason Rose, explained what he thought stumped his team on Friday night.
“Our heads weren’t in the game, and I think that’s where our problem was, our heads were elsewhere. We beat Rocklin and thought there were no better teams than them from last year, but surely, we were mistaken, and last night they told us we were,” Rose said.
Turlock will continue to face adversity in the coming weeks, but the Bulldogs are no stranger to this.
Turlock will have to figure out how to keep a high level of intensity week in and week out. They will also need to have a next-man-up mindset as they are short-handed early on this season. They’re missing key starters Peter Mello, Cole Hendrix, Chase Hendrix, and Andrew Johnson. It is undetermined when they’ll return.
If the Bulldogs want to get a few more wins before league play, they will have to find the same intensity that they brought in their season opener, regardless if they are on the road or at home.
Once again, the road doesn’t get any easier as Turlock hosts Central (Fresno) this upcoming Friday (9/2). Central is ranked #32 in the state of California and #2 in the Central section.
Looking beyond this week, the Bulldogs will wrap up preseason play on the road against Manteca, ranked 45th in the state, and Clayton Valley Charter, which is 70th.
Through the highs and lows of the first two weeks of the season, one thing is for sure, though the road ahead is rigorous, Turlock is up for the challenge, despite Friday’s blowout.
“We will have a much better week of practice this week, and probably run a little more,” Rose added.
Bulldogs Take Down Rocklin in Season Opener
August 22, 2022
After a highly anticipated home opener, the Turlock Bulldogs held on to upset the Rocklin Thunder Friday night at Joe Debely Stadium in front of a rowdy home crowd. Rocklin, ranked 34th in the state and second in the San Joaquin section (Maxpreps), finished last season 12-1 and beat the Bulldogs last year 41-0. There was no doubt that Turlock did not forget about last year as they entered Friday’s game with a chip on their shoulders. It was a tough, gritty, defensive effort that ultimately sealed the game for the Bulldogs as they beat Rocklin 14-7 in Friday’s season opener.
From the first defensive stop, it was evident that Turlock was not going to be pushed around on their home turf. After a few stalling drives from both teams, the first points of the game belonged to Turlock with a Cole Gilbert 1-yard rushing touchdown with 8:05 left in the second quarter.
The closing minute of the first half was crucial as it ultimately led to the game-deciding score for Turlock. On Rocklin’s final drive of the half, Joshua Weatherbee almost came up with an interception; however, the following play, his teammate, Jeremiah Bertalotto, outdid him with a miraculous, diving interception that gave Turlock great field position right before halftime. The Bulldogs capitalized on the great field position when Gilbert connected with Logan Bankson on a 32-yard touchdown throw to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead with 11 seconds left in the half.
But as all great teams do, Rocklin responded. The Thunder drove down the field fast and capped it off with a 21-yard rushing touchdown courtesy of #13 Austin Adams, cutting into Turlock’s lead 14-7 with 7:05 left in the 3rd quarter.
Though Rocklin was back in the game within minutes, the Turlock sideline was not startled, still, they had a sense of composure and confidence in their defense. One of the defense’s new leaders, who helped instill that composure is junior middle linebacker, Owen Miller.
“That opening drive was a little rough, but as Coach has been saying all week, next play, next play,” Miller added. “We flushed it and moved on to the next play and as you can see, we stopped them for the rest of the game.”
Though those were the last points scored, the rest of the game kept every single fan in attendance on the edge of their seat. Down the stretch, it was the Turlock defense that came up with crucial defensive stops in the final quarter.
Rocklin was looking to tie things up with just minutes left in the game, but their final drive was shut down by the Turlock secondary with back-to-back game-saving pass breakups. Rocklin turned the ball over on Turlock’s 22-yard line giving Turlock the ball back with three minutes left in the ballgame. Following the turnover, the offense successfully kept the Thunder off the field with a strong drive highlighted by a 37-yard connection from Gilbert to Bankson with 2:34 left in the ball game that put Turlock deep in Rocklin territory. The Bulldogs ultimately ended the game in victory formation on the Rocklin 1-yard line as time expired giving the Bulldogs a thrilling 14-7 win.
By the end of the night, one thing was certain, the Bulldogs had reclaimed their tenacious defensive identity as they won the game for Turlock stopping the Thunder on four different 4th down conversions.
Martin Bertao, the senior defensive end, touched on this new sense of life in the Turlock defense. Bertao was a part of last year’s defense that gave up 41 points to Rocklin, and when asked the difference between this year’s defense compared to last year, the answer was simple.
“By far the energy,” Bertao said. “It’s the way we can turn the tide and move on to the next play and keep on going.”
Who is to be credited for this new sense of life in the Turlock defense?
A possible answer could be new defensive coach Dominic Silva who played defense for the Bulldogs back in 2016.
“The energy he brings is definitely contagious,” Miller added. “He brings good energy and hypes up the defense. We feed off of it.”
When celebrating a stop with his defense on the sideline, Coach Silva summed up last night’s defensive performance perfectly.
“We bend but we don’t break,”Silva said.
Ironically, as he accidentally broke his clipboard out of excitement.
The offense held their own too against a tough Rocklin defense. The offense finished with 330 yards and quarterback Cole Gilbert finished the game with 204 passing yards on 13-of-19 passing.
Gilbert’s leading receiver was Logan Bankson who finished the game with 90 receiving yards on three catches and Turlock’s leading rusher was JT Foreman with 66 yards.
“It goes to show our preparation all offseason, we had in our mind last year’s 41-0 loss, that didn’t sit well with us. We played well as a team, we came together, and we got the win,” Gilbert said.
Last night’s win was yet another signature win for Head Coach James Peterson’s football program as they have knocked off another Sacramento powerhouse. Some schools in recent memory to note include Del Oro, Sheldon, Cosumnes Oaks, and now Rocklin all within the past five years, showing that Turlock does belong in the conversation with some of the top schools in the section.
The journey doesn’t get easier for Turlock however, as they hit the road this Friday to play a strong Clovis West team who beat Ridgeview 42-0 in their home opener.
But the Bulldogs are hungry for more.
“We made a lot of progress tonight, a lot of it is little mistakes we need to clean up. Now it’s time to get ready for Clovis West,” Gilbert said.
Bulldogs Preseason Preview:
August 12, 2022
After what many viewed as a down year for the Turlock High School Varsity football team, the Bulldogs (4-7), have once again reloaded with talent and have refocused their energy on this upcoming season. The Bulldogs hope to reclaim their place at the top of the Central California Athletic League once again with a talented junior class and key veteran players.
This year, the Bulldog backfield features a three-headed running attack as they are returning senior quarterback Cole Gilbert, and senior running backs, JT Foreman and Logan Bankson. Both Gilbert and Bankson are returning this season after lingering season-long injuries in 2021. The two hope to help take the running load off of three-star running back Foreman who was the work-horse for the Turlock offense last year, finishing last season with well over 1,000 rushing yards.
The revamped offense will once again be led by Gilbert who has been Turlock’s starting varsity quarterback since his sophomore year. After his injury stalling his junior campaign, Gilbert explained the difficulty of watching his offense struggle without him.
“Watching our offense and team struggle last year was hard to watch but it has put a lot of responsibility on me to bounce back and change the results for this year,” Gilbert added. “We will be much more polished this season.”
For the first time since 2015, the Bulldogs suffered their first league loss, breaking a dominant streak of nearly seven consecutive years. Last year’s two league losses were Turlock’s first-ever losses since entering the Central California Athletic League.
Though the offense averaged 22.6 points per game last season without Gilbert, this was a dramatic decrease from the following five-game season the year prior where Gilbert’s offense averaged 51.6 points per game. The Bulldog defense also loosened up from the 2021 season as they gave up 25 points per game compared to 12.6 the year before.
The defense looks to tighten things up once again as they are returning some key components of their defense. Some notable returning seniors include: Cole Hendrix, Gage Pritt, Joshua Weatherbee, Martin Bertao, and Peter Mello, who played quarterback last year in Gilbert’s absence. These seniors will be getting some help from the incoming juniors, some to highlight include defensive end Logan Durkee, and defensive backs Isaiah and Jeremiah Bertalotto.
The team seems to have regrouped, but the task at hand is not going to be easy. As in years past, Turlock will start their season with a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule. Of their five non-conference opponents, four of them competed in their respective section title games. But it is without question these tough opponents have helped Head Coach James Peterson’s teams prepare for a battle-tested league and postseason run.
“You have to compete with top teams if you want to play at a high level,” Peterson said. “We have slowly begun this process years ago and have added new teams every year. This process has helped mold Turlock players into top recruited college players. Not only do they make it to the next level, but thrive in it because they understand what it means to play top talent every week.”
This tactic by Peterson appears to be effective as the Bulldogs have helped produce recent collegiate talent including Mustafa Johnson at the University of Colorado, Dustin Grein at Cal Poly SLO, Garrett Fountain at San Diego State, Everett Johnson at Cal Berkeley, Ashton Patterson at College of Idaho and now Anthony Frias of Kansas State. All of these players have come through Turlock’s program within the past six years.
Not only does this tough schedule help build collegiate athletes, but it helps Peterson’s program reach its ultimate goal.
“We play a tough schedule because we want to be a section champion, if we don’t play the tough teams we won’t ever be ready to compete for the playoffs,” Peterson added.
Following their non-conference schedule, the Bulldogs will jump right into league play opening with the 19th annual Harvest Bowl followed by a highly-anticipated homecoming featuring the Downey Knights. Turlock will then head up to play century-long rival Modesto High and finish their regular season at home against Enochs then a senior night that has the Gregori Jaguars coming into town.
Though the regular season is only 10 games, to reach their goals for this upcoming season, the Bulldogs know they will have to play together week in and week out.
Gilbert said, “One thing I have my mind wrapped around is playing as a team, we have tons of talent but it won’t matter if we don’t play together.”
As one of the premier programs in the Valley, Turlock football has not been knocked off its throne in recent memory, but high school football fans in the valley are eager to see how Turlock will respond after last year’s dethronement.
One thing is for sure in both Gilbert and Peterson’s minds, they will reclaim the golden standard they have achieved in the years past, but they will have to work as a family to achieve it once again.
“Getting back on top and staying together in a Turlock brotherhood is definitely the mindset,” Peterson said. “We know it’s going to take all of us to get back to being a dominating force in the section. I know we can get these guys ready. They need to stay healthy and play together as a family.”