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Football Mustangs Earn Season Opening Victory
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Ball carrier Chase Lopez keeps his eyes focused on the field ahead even as the Sonora player works to bring him down during Friday night action in The Corral. Oakdale took a 27-20 win off the field. Jeff Kettering/The Leader

Oakdale High School’s varsity football players battled their way to a 27-20 home win over rival Sonora on Friday night, Aug. 18. It was the first victory for the team under new head coach Garrett Martin, a satisfying way to kick off his career in The Corral.

“We are happy to get a win and it is great to get out there and play so we can see areas of weakness that we need to improve on,” said Coach Martin.

The team led 7-0 early but would find themselves trailing 12-7 in the second quarter. Wes Burford regained the lead for the Mustangs on a 12-yard rushing touchdown, making it 13-12 with just seconds remaining in the half. Burford finished the game with 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Oakdale. Later in the quarter Chase Lopez found the end zone on a 29-yard reception from quarterback Tommy Chance to give Oakdale a 20-12 advantage. The Mustangs scored for the final time with 11:11 remaining in the game to go up 27-12. Lopez finished the game with a pair of touchdowns and 90 yards receiving. Chance tossed the ball for a total of 108 yards and two touchdowns.

Oakdale’s defense came up with a trio of takeaways from the Wildcats; an interception and two fumble recoveries. Oakdale’s interception came when Jacob Kindrick tipped the ball to his teammate Selso Rodriguez who hauled it in.

“I saw the receiver coming vertical towards me and the ball was thrown just enough to where I could get a hand on it and luckily Selso was there to make the interception,” Kindrick said.

The junior went on to add that the defensive identity is to be physical in 2023.

“I think we are a physical defense, and if we (as a defense) can wear down the offense then we will be successful this year,” he said.

This Friday night, Aug. 25, the Mustangs head to the coast where they will face off against Aptos. The Mariners play in the Pacific Coast Gabilan League and did not have a game this past week.

“We need to clean up some of our fundamentals offensively and defensively. It is a great opportunity to face a legendary coach in Randy Blankenship,” Martin said of going on the road to face Aptos.

Varsity kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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After JV player Gavin Wyatt got into the end zone against Sonora, he and several teammates celebrated the touchdown. The JV team, however, fell to the visitors, who cashed in points at the end of a long, late fourth quarter drive. Jeff Kettering/The Leader