TURLOCK -- The rarified air of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 soccer semifinals was so completely new to Turlock High that its student-dominated fan gathering didn't quite know when to celebrate.
The students stood poised to jump the fence and rush the field at Joe Debely Stadium as soon as the referee signalled the end of the Bulldogs' thrilling 2-1 victory over Folsom.
But there were several fouls called in the final moments, and as extra time dragged on each whistle sent a few more students over the rail and onto the track.
It made the ultimate celebration of the game-ending whistle a little less spontaneous but no less special, as Turlock advanced to only the second section championship soccer game in school history and its first in nine years.
Jose Aguilera scored twice in the final five minutes of regulation time against a Folsom team that had posted twin 1-0 shutouts to reach Wednesday's semifinals.
"It's a really big deal," said Turlock coach Doug Sperry. "I don't think a lot of people expected us to be here. I can't tell you how excited the guys are, but you could tell at the end how badly they wanted this. I'm really, really happy for them."
The Bulldogs (16-5-5) will play for the title at Stockton's Lincoln High at 4 p.m. Saturday against Bella Vista of Fair Oaks, which will take a 19-0-2 record and a No. 4 state ranking into the contest. Bella Vista squeaked past McNair 10-0 in Wednesday's other semifinal.
The Turlock-Bella Vista game will cap a quadruple-header of section title games on the Lincoln turf involving teams from the Stanislaus District.
The action begins at 10 a.m. with Gustine meeting Capital Christian for the Division 4 title, then Riverbank will battle West Campus at noon in Division 5, and Central Valley will take on River Valley at 2 p.m. in Division 3.
Folsom (8-10-2) was the surprise team in the Division 2 playoffs, winning twice as a No. 11 seed. They did so with defense, crowding the back line with five defenders and leaving their offensive scheme to the chance of a midfield mistake.
"It was hard early because we also were holding back on defense and we had only two forwards up top," Aguilera said.
Folsom did not take a shot in the first half, but forged a scoreless tie at intermission because Turlock was unable to finish any of its six excellent scoring chances.
"It's a challenge attacking a team like that," Sperry said. "You have to take advantage of your opportunities, which we did a very poor job of doing. It looked like it was going to come back and bite us, but in the end we were able to get a couple when we needed."
Folsom scored on its first chance, which didn't come until the 63rd minute. Physical midfielder Greg Patenaude stepped in front of a weak pass and tipped it up the right side to Tristan Rosenberger, whose low cross found forward Pezhman Kavianikosarkhizi for a header into the left side.
"Once they scored that goal I did hang my head a little but I told myself that we could still do this," Aguilera said. "Even if we were going to lose, we were going to leave everything on the field."
Aguilera's chance came in the 75th minute, when talented sophomore Desmond Madrigal drilled a free kick from 40 yards out onto Aguilera's head, near the left post. Folsom keeper Craig Stafford had no chance to stop the equalizer.
Five minutes later, Turlock's Martin Castoren corralled a bouncing ball 50 yards from goal, and executed a perfect overhead scissor through-ball to Aguilera up the left side. Approaching Stafford one-on-one, Aguilera caught the Folsom keeper leaning to his right, then beat him on the ground into the left side of the net.
"This is great because the other teams in the CCC didn't believe we could accomplish this," Aguilera said. "It's great to be able to prove them wrong."
Now, standing between Turlock and its first section crown in any sport since 1994 is a Bella Vista team that will be far and away the best team the Bulldogs have faced all season. How good are they?
"I wish I knew," Sperry said. "Going though these playoffs puts us against teams we don't know a lot about. So far we've been able to handle it pretty well. I guarantee you we won't lose 10-0. We'll be ready."