ATWATER — When JoJo Ochoa heard the play called in the huddle, he had one thing on his mind: Get in the end zone.
The Atwater fullback did just that, taking the handoff and charging through the middle of the Turlock defense for an 8-yard touchdown in overtime to lift the Falcons to an improbable 21-14 win over the Bulldogs at Falcon Field on Friday night.
"Get the ball in the end zone, nothing else was on my mind," Ochoa said. "Just play the whole play and hope everything works out."
Ochoa's touchdown set off a wild celebration as Atwater (2-1 Central California Conference, 6-2 overall) came back from a seven-point deficit in the final minute to pull out the win in overtime.
"We had to pull together and we did," said Atwater head coach Bob Valladao. "Our defense played lights out. Their defense was stopping us. We were either going to turn on each other or pull together."
The Atwater defense dominated Turlock all game, limiting them to just five first downs and 94 yards of offense.
The Falcons sacked Bulldogs quarterback Sean Downs eight times, including three by Atwater linebacker Trevor Coleman.
Still Turlock had somehow managed to take a 14-7 lead deep into the fourth quarter.
After marching 76 yards on the opening drive for a touchdown the Atwater offense was ineffective for most of the game.
The Falcons hurt themselves with three turnovers, including an interception by Turlock's Jevan Hogan at the goal line that he returned 100 yards for a touchdown that helped keep the Bulldogs in the game at 7-7 at halftime.
Turlock's other score was helped out when Cameron Matsumura returned the second-half kickoff 54 yards to the Falcons' 20-yard line. Two offsides penalties helped Turlock move the ball inside the Atwater 5-yard line and Dashawn Holcombe scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to give Turlock a 14-7 lead early in the third quarter.
"They shut us down," Turlock head coach James Peterson said. "Hats off to them. Their defense didn't let us do much of anything. They pressured us from everywhere."
The Falcons offense came together on the final drive. Quarterback Nathan Duran, who had misfired on his first 10 pass attempts in the game and had been replaced, came alive.
Duran completed 5-of-7 passes for 65 yards on the final drive. Four his completions were hauled in by Isaiah Washington, including a big first down on fourth-and-16 to go.
The Falcons drove down to the 7-yard line where Andrew Avila went in as quarterback. On second down, Avila dropped a snap, picked up the ball and went around the right edge for a touchdown with 38 seconds left in the game. Roberto Medina's extra point tied the game at 14-all.
Turlock missed a 28-yard field goal attempt on its overtime possession.
Ochoa scored on Atwater's second play in overtime for the win.