Turlock High football coach James Peterson had four goals for his team entering the Bulldogs’ Week 10 matchup against Gregori:
1. Make a big play on defense.
2. Make a big play on special teams.
3. Block a punt.
4. Score two times a quarter
No. 7 Turlock completed three of those four in a 25-13 win over Gregori on Friday to clinch at least a share of the Central California Athletic League title. Turlock won the CCAL last year, the first year of the conference’s existence.
The Bulldogs (4-0, 7-2) are 9-0 all-time in league games but against the Jaguars (2-2, 5-4), they struggled offensively, including failing to score in the second half.
“I thought our offense had trouble clicking,” Peterson said. “We had a couple of drives that stalled.”
Turlock senior quarterback Brock Paslay returned after missing last week’s game with a sprained ankle and senior running back Anthony Frias played all four quarters after suffering a right shoulder injury against Enochs in Week 9.
Paslay had 112 passing yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions while Frias had 112 rushing yards and a touchdown.
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“We just need to stay healthy and move the ball,” Peterson said.
After a Darian White interception, Frias scored on a 7-yard run as Turlock led 7-0 with 4 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Bulldogs added a field goal early in the second before Jaguars senior quarterback Baker Melendez scored on a 37-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 10-6 with 6:47 remaining in the half.
While Melendez struggled with the passing game, he had 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“He is a tough kid and our most explosive weapon right now,” Jaguars coach Lamar Wallace said.
Bulldogs senior running back Dalton Linn returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and Paslay connected with senior wide receiver Miguel Pena to give Turlock a 25-6 lead with 2:45 remaining in the half.
Gregori senior defensive back Mario Hernandez intercepted a Paslay pass with 30 seconds left in the second quarter and Melendez scored on a 22-yard run on the final play of the half.
Like Turlock’s offense, the Jaguars struggled in the second half and only were in the red zone once where they were forced to punt after penalties moved the ball back near midfield.
“We haven’t put it (offense) all together,” Wallace said. “We have shown flashes.”
Both teams have rivalry games next week as Turlock hosts Pitman (1-3, 2-7) in the Harvest Bowl while Gregori hosts Enochs (2-2, 5-4) in a game that could decide the final playoff spot in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Playoffs.
“We need to play our brand of football and play good defense and have a physical, running game,” Wallace said.