Friday night, Nov. 24 The Corral was stuffed like the Thanksgiving turkey the day before. With nearly 4,000 people in attendance, the Oakdale Mustangs broke away from the visiting Patterson Tigers 63-27 to advance to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division III Section Championship game.
Senior fullback Joshua Jacobson had a record setting night in the team’s semifinal home win. Jacobson surpassed the school’s single game rushing record, previously held by Will Semone. During his historic night, Jacobson rushed the ball 29 times for 347 yards, eclipsing Semone’s 2016 record by 30 yards.
“Our offensive line led the charge tonight. They did their jobs and that allowed me to do my job,” Jacobson said modestly.
Jacobson’s 72-yard rushing touchdown got the Mustangs on the board on their opening drive to go up 7-0. With the game tied at seven, Jacobson found the end zone for a second time on an eight-yard carry with 11:54 left to play in the second quarter to give Oakdale a 13-7 advantage.
Oakdale’s ground attack was not the only thing that gave the Tigers problems. Quarterback Marc Dickson connected on three of his four passes including a 24-yard touchdown to Hunter Falconi to give Oakdale a 21-7 lead with 7:05 remaining in the half.
Patterson’s explosive offense pulled the game within a score following a Gabe Sanchez to Kendrick Bond 14-yard catch and run with 5:59 left in the half.
Not to be outdone, Oakdale’s Cameron Cherry had a huge night for the Mustangs. The senior running back blasted the Tigers defense with 221 rushing yards on 26 carries, giving the speedy back over 2,000 rushing yards on the season. Cherry also found the end zone twice. His first touchdown came on a 50-yard rush with 37 seconds left to play in the half. The Tigers answered with a Sanchez 25-yard rush as time expired sending the game to halftime with Oakdale up 28-20.
Less than one minute into the second half, Cherry broke free for a 64-yard rushing score to give Oakdale a 35-20 advantage.
“We came out aggressive. We felt we were the more aggressive team from the beginning but everything really started to go our way in the second half,” Cherry said.
Patterson responded with a three-yard touchdown by James Perez to close the gap to 35-27. That would be the final time the Tigers would score, however.
Jacobson scored for Oakdale for the third time on a 35-yard run to go up 41-27 with 5:42 left in the third.
Zac Campbell scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on an eight-yard run to start the fourth quarter. Jacobson found the end zone twice in the fourth to cap off his historic night, including a 79-yard touchdown run for the final score of the evening.
Oakdale’s defense held the number four seed Tigers to just 27 points after they entered the game averaging 51.5 per game in the postseason. The Mustangs defensive line overpowered the Tigers offensive line and got to quarterback Sanchez, forcing him to run. They also sacked him six times.
“All week of preparation helped us out this week. It was our season versus theirs and we did not want ours to end,” said Angel Asencion, who had two-and-a half sacks.
Also having sacks were Junior Rodin (1.5), Matt Kjeldgaard (0.5), Caleb Kuppens (0.5), Cameron Snow (0.5) and Levi Ichord (0.5).
The top seeded Mustangs will take on familiar Valley Oak League rival Manteca in the Section Finals on Friday night, Dec. 1 at Lincoln High School of Stockton. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.