Watch highlights of Turlock’s 63-21 win over Gregori
There’s a tendency for teams to look ahead to big games, especially when it’s for a league championship.
But the Turlock High football team did not fall into that trap on Friday night.
The Bulldogs dismantled Gregori 63-21, setting up a showdown with crosstown rival Pitman next week. The winner of the Harvest Bowl will be the first-ever champion of the Central California Athletic League.
“There’s always concern with every game; we respect every team we come across no matter their record,” Turlock quarterback Jonah Kosakiewicz said. “We respect every team, we study every team, and we work hard for every team.”
The Bulldogs (6-3, 4-0 CCAL) certainly did that in the week leading up to the Gregori game.
Turlock started strong, taking a 21-0 lead, withstood a Gregori surge and then pulled away with an impressive third-quarter performance that allowed the Bulldogs to rest their starters in the fourth quarter.
Kosakiewicz, the Bulldogs’ senior signal caller, was a one-man wrecking crew, running for 182 yards and two touchdowns and passing for 126 and two TDs, both to Miguel Pena.
Junior running back Anthony Frias was also productive for the Bulldogs, carrying 11 times for 72 yards and two TDs. Senior Lucas Curtis ran for 80 yards and a TD.
Turlock’s defense was equally impressive, forcing Gregori to punt eight times.
The Jaguars hung in for a while, trailing 35-21 at halftime thanks to a gutsy effort from junior quarterback Baker Melendez and a 96-yard kickoff return from Trey Longstreth.
But the Jaguars (4-5, 1-3) were no match for the size and strength of Turlock, and it showed in the third quarter when the Bulldogs outscored Gregori 21-0.
Turlock’s victory sets up the Harvest Bowl showdown with rival Pitman (9-0, 4-0) back at Joe Debely Stadium.
“Going into next week’s game it’s going to be hard to stay down on earth,” Kosakiewicz said. “There’s a lot of hype around the game.
“The town of Turlock shuts down that night and everybody’s inside the stadium. It’s a really fun atmosphere to be in and play in.”
Gregori was hoping to keeps its playoff hopes alive with an upset win over Turlock, but the Jaguars were clearly outmatched.
“That’s a really good football team over there,” Gregori coach Jason McCoy said. “They just kind of wore us down.
“They were a better football team than us tonight and they were stronger than us. They flat out took it to us.”
Gregori faces Enochs at Downey in its season finale.