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Host Mustangs Overwhelm Visiting Patterson In Quarterfinals
Football Playoffs
The stingy Oakdale defense of Nico Villegas and Thomas Watson bring down the Patterson ball carrier on Friday night in The Corral. Jeremy Center/The Leader

Getting an extra week off to rest up and prepare, the Oakdale varsity football Mustangs used the time well, upending the visiting Patterson Tigers in Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV quarterfinal action on Friday night.

The host team captured a 67-21 victory at The Corral in the Nov. 15 contest.

In the opening quarter, Patterson received the ball first but couldn’t get anything going, with a quick three and punt.

Oakdale began their first offensive possession of the night at their own four-yard line and went 96 yards in 13 plays. Quarterback Jackson Holt connected on a 30-yard pass play to Cole Snider for the score, the point after was good for a 7-0 lead.

After the visitors again had a short-lived possession, three and out, the Mustangs scored quickly. This time, it was a two play drive, starting at the Patterson 35 and ending with a 32-yard run into the end zone from Leo Ayala. With the extra point, the lead was extended to 14-0.

Second quarter action saw the teams exchange punts, then the Mustangs went on a drive that ended with a Dominic McDonald field goal from 35 yards out, capping a seven-play, 53-yard scoring drive. That made it 17-0 but Patterson found a way to get on the board on their next possession, moving 61 yards in seven plays, completing a pass for the touchdown and adding the extra point. That trimmed the Mustangs lead to 17-7.

Not to be outdone, the Mustangs then scored 14 unanswered points. The first touchdown came on a seven-yard run by Leo Ayala (80 yards on eight plays, kick good for a 24-7 lead) and, just before halftime, the next score on a one-yard run by Rylan Kerr; kick good. That put the Mustangs in control with a halftime score of 31-7.

In the first half OHS outgained Patterson 294 yards to 47 yards. Zeke Saffar had 162 yards rushing in the first half, complemented by Leo Ayala’s 113 yards rushing. Jackson Holt had 47 yards passing including a touchdown pass.

Oakdale received the second half kickoff and went 80 yards in five plays with Zeke Saffar scoring on a 29 yard run. The kick was good to make it 38-7.

Showing some fight, Patterson stormed right back, moving 80 yards in three plays with the kick good to make it 38-14. From there, however, the Mustangs took over, scoring three consecutive touchdowns.

They went 80 yards on nine plays with Donovan Walker running 31 yards for the score. The holder, Snider, fumbled the snap on the extra point but then recovered well and threw a pass for the 2-point conversion to make it 46-14.

After a fumble recovery on the Patterson 16, the Mustangs scored in two plays with Saffar finding the end zone on a 14-yard run. The kick by McDonald was good for a 53-14 lead.

On the next Patterson possession, McDonald intercepted a pass and ran it back 31 yards for a ‘pick six’ touchdown. His kick was good and the score was 60-14.

The Mustangs, with new players in the line-up under sophomore quarterback Luke Cox, brought up from JV for the playoffs, moved 52 yards in 10 plays for the final Oakdale touchdown of the evening. Thomas Watson ran 14 yards for the score and McDonald converted the extra point, making the score 67-14.

Patterson added a late touchdown, making the final score 67-21 in favor of the host Mustangs.

“Great effort by our kids,” said head coach Trent Merzon of the lopsided victory. “Excited for another opportunity to play a home game in November.”

On the night, Ayala (211 yards) and Saffar (217 yards) accounted for 428 yards rushing between them, with Kerr, Walker, Watson and Isaac Valero also adding to the rushing onslaught.

The Mustangs dominated on both sides of the ball and will face the Merced Bears in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division IV playoffs in the Corral on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.


Game statistics provided to The Leader by Steve Knell.

Oakdale’s Leo Ayala, 21, eludes the Patterson defenders as he runs downfield for a touchdown on Friday night, Nov. 15. Jeremy Center/The Leader