Reporting Anjali Hemphill
TURLOCK (CBS13) – There were celebrations taking place throughout Northern California on Saturday night after the 49ers’ big win, especially in Turlock, the hometown of breakout quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick once again led his team to victory, something he’s been doing ever since his high school days growing up in Turlock, but Saturday’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers was his first-ever NFL playoff start.
It didn’t look like it – and his Turlock fans loved it.
“The thing in Turlock is everybody calls him Colin, like everybody knows him,” Steward Saugstad said. “He’s our adopted son right now and it’s sweet. It’s fun.”
Kaepernick accounted for four touchdowns, two rushing and two throwing, in the 49ers’ 45-31 win and broke a record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a playoff game with 181.
The Wellington Pub and Restaurant in his hometown was serving up cheers, beers and Kaepernick pizzas, with the lucky No. 7.
“Ever since Colin was picked as the number one starter for the Niners and then coming in in the playoffs, it’s just phenomenal,” Tony Walker said.
Kaepnick grew up in Turlock and got his start playing football, baseball and basketball at John Pitman High School. His name caused a buzz around town even back then.
“He was a three-sport guy,” Steward said. “He was awesome. He was always in the newspapers.”
And fans here say they’ve been following his outstanding football career ever since. Lily Ventura has rooted for the Niners since before her newest favorite player was born, and she made sure to bring all her red and gold Saturday night for good luck.
“They were bought for me a long — back in the ’80s,” she said as she held up a pair of 49ers underwear. “Never worn ‘em, ever, ever!”
“Most people in this town are Niners fans anyway so the mere fact he’s there and he’s their starter, if he could take them to the Super Bowl it would be just phenomenal,” Tony said. “This town would come unglued.”
Unglued but also united behind their star player, who they say always scores big for the town of Turlock.
“That’s our Turlocal guy,” Steward said.
“It’s really a neat story and, you know, it’s our team,” Jack Adams said.
But if Saturday was a big night for folks in Turlock, next week could be even bigger. These fans want to see Kaepernick take his team all the way, and they’ll be cheering him on every step of it.