Fans flocked to The Corral for the final time in the 2016 season with umbrellas in hand to witness the CIF Northern California Division III-A Regional Bowl game between Oakdale and Sutter on Saturday night, Dec. 10. The winner would earn the right to go on to the CIF III-A State Championship game in La Jolla this coming Saturday evening. For the first 36 minutes of action, that team looked like Sutter. Things changed in the fourth quarter, however, and the Mustangs punched their State Championship ticket with a thrilling 27-10 win. The home team reeled off 21 unanswered points to take the victory and set themselves up for the showdown against The Bishop’s School.
The Mustangs faced a 7-0 deficit after the first quarter but bounced back with a seven-yard touchdown run by Will Semone, but the missed point after touchdown attempt kept the Mustangs down 7-6 with 11:54 left in the second quarter. In a low scoring first half, Sutter added a 31-yard field goal with 5:36 left in the half to give Sutter a 10-6 advantage, a lead they would take into the locker room and into the fourth quarter following a scoreless third quarter.
Enter the fourth quarter: Sutter threatening to put a bow on the game, as they found themselves deep in Oakdale territory following a Cameron Cherry fumble due to the wet weather. On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Huskies quarterback Tyler Reynolds threw a pass that was intercepted by Oakdale’s Jace Krick. He turned the ball upfield and with big blocking by his teammates and utilizing his own speed, Krick outran the Huskies and the officials for a 78-yard interception return for the score with 11:47 left in the game to give Oakdale their first lead, 13-10.
“The ball just happened to be thrown to me. Our team needed a spark, and I wanted to be that guy,” Krick said of the momentum swing his pick-six gave the host team.
From there the Mustangs did what they do best: wear out the opposing defense by grinding it out on the ground. Semone scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game away. He carried the ball 38 times for a total of 303 yards on the ground.
However, the Oakdale defense was the true hero of the game. Along with Krick’s pick-six, the team did not allow a Sutter score for over 41 minutes and only allowed four first downs in the second half. The Mustangs defense got to Reynolds several times throughout the night including sacks by Zac Thomas, Cullen Bearden and Luke Ibarra.
“We just played physical and our kind of football tonight. We put our foot down and took over the game tonight. And that means get nasty and get physical,” Bearden said of the defensive effort of the team. “This team has handled adversity very well. We fought through it. When our backs are against the wall we find a way to come out on top. Don’t ever doubt the Mustangs.”
The Mustangs will take on Bishop’s at La Jolla High School, near San Diego, on Saturday evening, Dec. 17 with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.
Bishop’s is 14-0 this season and are ranked 40th in the state. Bishop’s defeated Valley Christian 28-9 in their regional bowl game this past weekend to advance to the 2016 CIF State Football Championship. This will be Oakdale’s second trip to the State Championship contest in five years; they fell to Serra by a 42-15 final in 2012.