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First Downs, Then The World - OHS Gridders Must Stop Dual-Threat QB
8-28 OAK FB1
Tracy defenders rally to the ball as Oakdales Brock Whiting hauls in a pass on Saturday. Whiting and the Mustangs play Turlock on Friday to open the season. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Before Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Collin Kaepernick were befuddling NFL defenders with the read-option, Turlock High quarterback Sean Downs was doing it perfectly at THS.

The three-year varsity player, now a senior, is difficult to track in Turlock’s spread offense, and nearly impossible to corral once he breaks into the open field.

When Oakdale visits Turlock on Friday to open the 2013 football season, the dual-threat QB will represent the first big test for an Oakdale High squad that graduated 20 of the 22 starters from a 14-2 Valley Oak League, Sac-Joaquin Section and NorCal Championship team.

And Downs won’t be stopping to apply ointment to Oakdale’s growing pains. The Mustangs held him to just 47 yards on 15 carries last year, while limiting him to just two completions for 12 yards. He hit only six of his 22 targets against Oakdale as a sophomore and has played in games with a combined 54-14 tally in Oakdale’s favor.

Oakdale delivered two of the top defensive units in school history in 2011 and 2012, but lost nearly every piece of that pie to the 2013 graduation. Turlock graduated 26 of the 59 varsity players from 2012, but returns Downs and Player To Watch Patrick Green (senior tight end).

Downs’ best highlight reels come from sudden bursts from the Turlock backfield after one or two runners flash before his outstretched arms.

As the offense pushes one direction to lead the runner, Downs will break the opposite way, beyond the tackle-box in a mere second. It’s a play that can propel him downfield before linebackers notice the deception.

Green, a 6 foot, 4 inch, 233-pound athlete, is tenacious on both sides of the ball for Turlock, and should remain one of Downs’ favorite offensive targets.

To prepare for Downs, Green and the rest of the Bulldogs, Oakdale put talents on display during an Aug. 24 scrimmage with host Tracy High.

Also the Bulldogs, Tracy is a former Valley Oak League foe that went 4-1 in the Division I San Joaquin Athletic Association last year. The team returns four of their top-five in all-purpose yards.

It was a good test for an Oakdale team that will square off with another dangerous D1 stalwart on Friday.