When you get to the playoffs, missed opportunities can be glaring.
The Turlock High football team found that out on Friday night in its 27-9 loss to third-seeded Oak Ridge in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
“There were key places in the game where we didn’t convert a first down,” Turlock coach James Peterson said by phone. “Their special teams ran some trick plays that got our defense out of position.
“I kept feeling something was going to change, but we never got that break.”
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The Bulldogs had been arguably one of the best teams in the southern half of the section for the last month-and-a-half, entering Friday’s contest on a six-game winning streak. They ran the table in the newly formed Central California Athletic League, going 5-0 and clinching the title with a dominating victory over then-unbeaten Pitman.
On Friday, the Bulldogs (8-4) had an early 3-0 lead against Oak Ridge (8-3), fell behind 14-3 and got to within 14-9 on a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jonah Kosakiewicz. However, the Trojans scored with about a minute to go before the half and took a 20-9 lead into intermission.
Oak Ridge would blank Turlock the rest of the way.
“We ran the ball well, but when the game got out of hand, we didn’t have time to run,” Peterson said. “The X Factor was their quarterback (Matt Jenner) making great decisions. He kept the chains rolling.”
Monterey Trail 63, Pitman 7: The Pride (10-2) tied the game at 7-7 early in the first quarter. However, on the enusing kickoff, Monterey Trail’s Eli Mirza returned it 95 yards for a touchdown.
Within a few minutes, the rout was on and Pitman’s season was over.
“When they returned the kickoff for a TD, the wheels fell off,” Pitman coach Tom Tyler said. “We had a three-minute period where things fell apart. We got a little discouraged.”
By halftime, Monterey Trail (11-0) led 42-7.
Tyler was upbeat about the season, which began with nine straight victories before a loss in the Harvest Bowl to rival Turlock. The Pride did get a first-round playoff victory over Davis Sr.
Two years ago, the Pride traveled to to Elk Grove to play Monterey Trail in the playoffs, and came away with a 35-21 victory.
This year, a different story.
“We got them two years ago and did a good job with that game plan,” Tyler said. “You just have to give them credit. They are super athletic. They had two weeks to prepare (for us).
“I’m proud of (our) guys.”
Oakdale 38, Wood 28: The Mustangs forced three turnovers, including two in the second half, to clinch a spot in the semifinals Friday at top seed Rio Linda.
Oakdale (9-3), seeded fifth, recovered the second of two fumbles in the second half against Wood to turn a three-point lead into a 30-21 margin with a little over nine minutes left in the game. The defense then stopped fourth-seeded Wood (7-4) on downs and the offense put up another touchdown for a 38-21 lead.
Max Moore had two TDs in the first half Caleb Kuppens added one as the Mustangs led 24-14 at halftime.
Sonora 28, Foothill 27: The Wildcats overcame a 27-14 deficit in the second half to advance to next week’s semifinal at top-seeded Colfax. Sonora scored with five minutes left to take the lead, then forced a turnover late to secure the victory.
Ripon Christian 28, Waterford 0: Michael Kamps rushed for 158 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Knights over the Wildcats in a game that was stopped in the fourth quarter after the teams got in a dust-up. The Knights will travel to Salida on Friday to play top-seeded Modesto Christian.
Denair 39, Gustine 18: The Coyotes (10-1) routed Gustine (6-6) for a second time this season and reached the title game next Saturday against Golden Sierra, which beat Big Valley Christian. The championship will be played in Galt at 1 p.m.
Golden Sierra 24, Big Valley Christian 14: Javyn Drobnick rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as the Lions concluded the season at 9-2. Drobnick finished the season with 2,211, 26 touchdowns and an average of 10.3 yards per carry.