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Evening Of Remembrance Sets Stage For Football Win
Varsity Grounds Comets
Proudly presenting the colors of our country, Jacob Tietjen carries the United States flag to midfield prior to Friday nights kickoff. Dennis D. Cruz/The Leader

The past is in the past. Last week’s varsity football road loss to Sonora made it seem to some like “The sky is falling.” But on Friday night, Sept. 2 Oakdale put to rest some concerns around town with a dominating 48-13 home win over the visitors out of Oregon, the Crater High Comets.

Prior to kick off, the voice of the Mustangs, Pete Simoncini, honored the late Cecil Muniain. Oakdale’s “Number one fan” passed away in January 2016 at the age of 92. Muniain played for the Mustangs in the late 1930s and played in the first game held in the stadium 79 years ago. At his favorite spot in the house, right in front of the press box, a special memorial was placed upon his seat as the Mustangs number one fan. A banner was also placed above the press box honoring the World War II veteran.

In terms of the game itself, Oakdale literally ran away with the victory, as the team rushed for 380 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns on the evening.

“We were motivated. We are all on the same page, losing doesn’t taste good. We were violent tonight, and that’s what we are, we are a violent team,” said senior running back Will Semone. “Those dudes up front (the offensive line), they work hard. They give us (running backs) lanes and holes to go through and they deserve all the praise.”

Semone finished with 163 rushing yards on 22 carries, and added two touchdowns in his home debut.

The first quarter saw only one score and that was provided off the foot of Mustangs kicker Collin Harrity on a field goal from 33 yards out to give Oakdale a 3-0 lead with 3:17 left in the first quarter. Harrity also connected on a 27 yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Both team’s offenses stepped up in the second quarter as Oakdale advanced their lead to 10-0 following Semone’s first touchdown from three yards out with 10:47 left in the half. Crater, the first out of state team to play in The Corral and who traveled over seven hours for the contest, got on the board for the first time on a 32 yard touchdown pass to trim the lead to 10-7 with 9:14 left in the half.

The Mustangs defense had a big night as they applied pressure to the Crater quarterback as Matt Kjeldgaard came away with two sacks, Levi Ichord also came away with a sack and Jace Krick got a first half interception. However it was two-way player Joshua Jacobson who helped power the defense to the big win. Just before halftime, Jacobson rushed from three yards out for the touchdown to give Oakdale a 17-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, Jacobson found himself at the right place at the right time when he intercepted the ball at the five yard line and returned it 95 yards the other way for a pick six.

“I made my drop in coverage and luckily for me my defensive line tipped the ball and I came away with it,” Jacobson explained. “I had some big blocks along the way too. Those guys deserve the real credit.”

The Mustangs scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, both via the run. Bronson Harmon, a wrestling standout, rushed for a 19 yard touchdown to give Oakdale a 24-7 lead with 7:16 remaining in the quarter and Semone scored his second touchdown on a 12 yard rush. In the fourth quarter, Wes Leijten found his way into the game and into the end zone from one yard out with 8:20 left for the team’s final score of the evening. Crater scored on a two yard rush with 1:34 left in the game.

“It was a good game, a game we needed to win. We went into the Sonora game thinking it was going to be easy. We will never overlook a team again,” said junior running back and corner Cameron Cherry. “Tonight Crater was just the first win. We got our confidence back and this win feels great. We have the week off and will turn our attention to Campolindo.”

The Mustangs head to Moraga to take on Campolindo following the bye week. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday night Sept. 16.