The “Mini Mustangs” had the chance to be front and center at Friday night’s Oakdale Mustangs JV and varsity football games, but rest assured, there was nothing ‘mini’ about the varsity Mustangs performance Friday night. Oakdale scored 40 first-half points to make short work of the visiting Kimball Jaguars in the 40-14 varsity football victory.
The OHS cheerleaders were joined in their routines by the young Mini Mustang participants, who had spent plenty of time with their older counterparts learning special cheers for the evening.
In the varsity team’s 2016 Valley Oak League home opener, Oakdale (4-1, 2-0) steamrolled their way through Kimball using all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams. Despite turning the ball over on their first possession, Oakdale got on the board with 4:22 remaining in the first quarter on a Josh Jacobson three yard rush to go up 7-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Oakdale’s Makai Harris fell on a fumble recovery to set up Oakdale deep in Jaguar territory. Although Oakdale couldn’t do anything with it, the Mustangs forced another fumble at the Jaguar 3-yard line when linebacker Cullen Bearden came up with the loose ball. One play later Jacobson found the end zone on his second three yard rush to go up 14-0 with 40 seconds left in the opening quarter. Jacobson finished with 91 rushing yards and two touchdowns in just two quarters of work, as he and many other starters sat out the entire second half.
“I fumbled on the first drive but my teammates built me back up and helped regain my confidence. We don’t want to be a cocky team and we know we have a tough schedule ahead of us, starting next week at Lathrop,” Jacobson said.
Oakdale put things away in the second quarter as the Mustangs added on 26 unanswered points. Zac Campbell got the large crowd on hand at The Corral on their collective feet with his 51-yard rushing touchdown after breaking numerous tackles with 10:46 left in the half to go up 20-0. Mustangs head coach Trent Merzon reached into his bag of tricks, as backup quarterback Austin England, who hasn’t seen the field since the Sonora game in week one, fired a deep pass to wide receiver Joseph Lutz for a 49-yard touchdown with 9:28 left in the half.
Last week’s hero Cameron Cherry carried the ball 15 times in the first half resulting in 94 yards and one touchdown. Cherry’s touchdown came on a 23-yard run with 6:02 remaining in the half to expand the Mustangs lead to 34-0. Oakdale’s final score of the game came with four seconds left in the second quarter on a 15-yard run by Wes Leijten.
Oakdale’s first half dominance only allowed six yards passing and 18 yards rushing for a total of 24 first half yards for Kimball, and did not allow a first down in the half.
“Great first half for us, one of the better first halves we had this season. We needed this one too, not giving up a first down too, I think this was the first game of the season where both sides of the ball played extremely well,” Coach Merzon said. “We needed a big performance like this badly and the boys stepped up.”
Kimball scored a touchdown in both the third and fourth quarters to make the trip back to Tracy a little more pleasant. The Mustangs travel to Lathrop (1-4, 0-2) this Friday night.
“Lathrop is a very difficult place to play. We are going to have to tackle well, and make them one dimensional like we did with Kimball tonight,” Merzon said of the upcoming road game. “We expect it to be a loud place to play, it is their Homecoming so it’s going to be a tough night.”
The Colts fell to visiting Kimball Friday night 34-21. After falling behind 22-0 at the half, Oakdale outscored Kimball 21-12 in the second half. Oakdale’s Oscar Ramos got the team on the board with an explosive 31 yard rush with 8:08 left in the third quarter. Down 22-7, Oakdale’s Hayden Knittle found Caleb Kuppens in the end zone for a 32-yard score to cut the deficit down to 22-14 with 4:33 left to play in the third. Following a Kimball score in the fourth quarter, Oakdale found themselves in a 28-14 hole. With 4:16 remaining in the game, running back Justin Jericoff scored the Colts final touchdown of the evening to make it 28-21. Friday night the team heads to Lathrop to face the Spartans.
Thursday night the team went to Stockton to play Chavez in a non-league game. Oakdale won 42-19. No stats were reported to The Leader as of press time. Oakdale returns home Thursday night Oct. 6 to host Lathrop. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.