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Freshman Football: Ponies Declaw Jags
Cornerback Caleb Kuppens was in the right place, at the right time twice on Thursday night. Kuppens made two clutch interceptions against visiting Kimball that led to 14 Oakdale points in the freshman teams 48-22 home win. Shown is Kuppens getting back to his feet after his first quarter interception. DENNIS D. CRUZ/The Leader


The freshman football Ponies earned a home victory over the Kimball Jaguars on Thursday, Oct. 1 at the Corral. Oakdale’s 48-22 win improved the team’s league record to 1-1.

Oakdale quarterback Max Moore was on point, as he completed seven of 12 passes for 188 yards while tossing four touchdowns and one interception. Moore and the Ponies’ first score came on a seven-yard pass to Tyler Batteate with 6:58 remaining in the first quarter. Oakdale’s defense made a statement Thursday night as the young unit forced four turnovers including a pair of interceptions by Caleb Kuppens. Kuppens’ first pick came on the Jaguars second possession of the game when he made a diving catch at midfield.

“His interceptions were huge. He got us the ball back and we scored on both of those drives and that made a big difference tonight,” head Coach Steve Jericoff said of his young cornerback’s effort.

Oakdale capitalized on Kuppens’ first quarter interception as running back A.J. Martinez ran the ball downfield and into the end zone on a 34-yard rush to give Oakdale a 12-0 lead. The Ponies found the end zone for a third time in the opening quarter to advance the lead to 18-0 on a Moore to Batteate 16-yard strike with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter. Batteate finished the night with six catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Kimball closed the gap to 18-14 in the second quarter, but Oakdale found the end zone late in the second quarter on a 70 yard touchdown strike from Moore to Martinez to give Oakdale a 26-14 halftime lead.

Oakdale shutout the Jags in the third quarter as Oakdale scored 15 more points on a 13-yard rush from Martinez and Justin Jericoff plowed his way to a one-yard score, following Kuppens’ second interception. Up 41-22 in the fourth quarter, Oakdale found the end zone for the final time on a Moore to Martinez connection, good from 47 yards out. Martinez finished his big night with seven rushes for 83 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. In the air, he added two catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

“We made adjustments at the half, and the guys followed through on their assignments. We had to play four strong quarters. These kids needed tonight to go their way, at home, and they put together four strong quarters and got the home win,” Jericoff said.

Thursday night, Oct. 8 the Ponies saddle up and hit the road to take on Lathrop.