The tradition of gridiron greatness continues at The Corral as Oakdale punched its postseason ticket with a 49-14 victory over Lathrop. To cap off a busy Homecoming Week, the Mustangs (6-0; 3-0) dominated the visiting Spartans (3-3; 1-2).
Off to a sluggish start offensively, Oakdale found the end zone midway through the first quarter on a six yard run by senior fullback, Brad Aquino to give Oakdale a 7-0 lead with 6:22 remaining in the opening quarter. Oakdale’s offense went just over 15 minutes without scoring until scoring two touchdowns in the final 2:41 left in the half. Aquino crossed the goal line for the second time on a one yard burst up the middle to advance the Mustang lead to 14-0. Oakdale struck again on their next position on an Adam Olsen to Logan Hall 44-yard catch and run for the score with 1:10 left in the half to give Oakdale a 21-0 lead, a lead they would take into the break.
“We came out a little flat in the first half. We did turn it around late in the half with two quick scores to build momentum,” said senior quarterback Olsen. He went 6-for-10 for 144 yards on the night with two touchdowns. He also completed his final five pass attempts.
Oakdale came out the second half determined, as the team scored on their first possession of the half on a one yard run from junior running back Austin Burke, who finished with eight carries for 105 yards and a touchdown. Lathrop did not back down from the Mustangs as they scored their first touchdown on a 33 yard touchdown rush of their own with 7:59 left in the third quarter. Thirty seconds later, Oakdale responded with Aquino’s third rushing touchdown of the evening, as the senior followed his blockers and exploded down the sidelines for a 44-yard rush to give Oakdale a 35-7 lead with 6:29 to go in the third. Aquino finished with 154 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns, all three team highs for the night.
Lathrop tacked on their final score of the night on a three yard touchdown pass play with 2:18 left in the third. The action packed third quarter was capped off by a pair of Mustang touchdowns. Olsen tossed a 35 yard bomb to senior Bobby DePuy with 37 seconds remaining in the third. The Mustangs defense stood tall most of the night as the team accumulated two sacks, and forced two turnovers. Perhaps none bigger than newcomer to the team, Cullen Bearden’s scoop and score on a mishandled snap by the Spartans. Bearden recovered the fumble and returned it 23 yards back for what would be the final score of the evening with four seconds left in the third quarter.
“The quarterback bobbled the snap, and I saw it on the ground and picked it up. Our line came with the pressure too so that freed me up to get the ball,” said the junior, playing in his first game in a Mustangs uniform.
Bearden transferred from Waterford during the summer.
“This crowd is unreal. I walked out tonight (before kickoff) and looked at the stands and thought ‘wow this is Homecoming, my first game and there are a lot of people here tonight’ - I came from Waterford where there might have been 200 people or so, but tonight there are thousands in attendance,” Bearden added.
Although the season is only midway through, Oakdale earned the right to play this postseason as the team reached its sixth victory and clinched a playoff spot.
“We just beat a very good Lathrop team. They have a new coaching staff, new group of kids, tough kids. They came in with a 3-2 record and are hunting for a playoff berth of their own. We were just hoping that they would not take us out. Proud of our kids and the way they played tonight,” said Mustangs head coach Trent Merzon.
Oakdale will be on the road for two VOL games, as the Mustangs take on East Union (3-3; 0-3) this Friday night and clash with Weston Ranch (4-2; 1-2) on Friday night, Oct. 23.
Homecoming 2015 came to a close Friday night, but the junior varsity team got the large crowd roaring early with their 35-8 victory over Lathrop. Oakdale led 35-0 until Lathrop scored on a 20 yard touchdown run with 3:38 in the fourth quarter. Oakdale improved to 3-0 in league play.
The young Ponies saddled up and hit the road on Thursday night, Oct. 8 when the team traveled to Lathrop. Oakdale shutout the Spartans 28-0 and return to The Corral for a pair of home games. Thursday, Oct. 15 the team hosts East Union with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.