Saturday night, Sept. 12 was “Mini Mustangs” night but the varsity football team’s margin of victory was anything but mini. The Mustangs hosted Menlo-Atherton in front of a near capacity crowd under the lights. Oakdale’s fierce defense and swift offense downed the Bears 61-7 in the team’s final preseason game of 2015.
Oakdale jumped out to a 7-0 lead when senior running back Darus Nelson found the end zone on a one yard rush with 7:36 left in the first quarter, capping off a 60-yard, 10-play drive. Menlo-Atherton’s lone score came on their opening drive on a 43-yard rushing score with 4:26 remaining in the first quarter. Nelson finished with nine carries for 48 yards and a touchdown.
The Mustangs answered the visitors score with a six play, 80 yard drive that took 90 seconds off the clock. Fresh off his three touchdown efforts against Turlock, senior fullback Brad Aquino plowed his way through the Bears defensive line into pay dirt from three yards out to give Oakdale a 13-7 lead.
Ten seconds into the second quarter, Oakdale’s special teams got into the act when Robby Bagley launched himself forward and stretched his fingertips just enough to block the punt. With the ball rolling toward the end zone, Oakdale’s Hunter LaCrosse scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for the score from 17 yards out. The Mustangs lined up for a two point conversion attempt after LaCrosse’s touchdown. Quarterback Adam Olsen rushed in for the two point conversion, to advance the Mustang lead to 21-7.
“I was thinking I need to do my job. Bagley did his part and I just used my instincts. I saw the ball rolling and I scooped it up. We practiced scooping and scoring, so when we can use it in a game, that’s a good night,” said LaCrosse.
Oakdale continued to pull away from the visitors when Aquino scored on another short one yard touchdown to give the Mustangs a commanding 27-7 lead with 5:31 left in the half.
Olsen and wide receiver Logan Hall displayed their chemistry as the duo connected on a pair of second quarter touchdowns to give Oakdale a 40-7 halftime lead. Olsen, who only played the first half under center, threw for 88 yards and had two touchdowns for the Mustangs.
Oakdale’s defense continued to give the Bears offense fits throughout the second half of the game. Sophomore Matt Kjeldgaard, who had two sacks and three tackles in the game, also made his presence felt on special teams. With 9:41 in the third the Bears were deep in their own territory and were forced to punt. Much like his teammate Bagley did in the first half, Kjeldgaard put his hand out and swatted the ball sending it to the ground. LaCrosse scooped it up for the second time and returned it for the score.
“I was just looking for the ball. Once it was on the ground I saw him (LaCrosse) pick it up. I followed him into the end zone to congratulate him. It’s a team effort. Tonight we all came together,” Kjeldgaard praised of his teammates.
Oakdale finished the game with a pair of rushing touchdowns from Wes Leijten and Vincent Albertoni.
Oakdale will be off this week, but when they return to action on Friday, Sept. 25 the Mustangs are set to slug it out in a home game against the defending co-champs of the Valley Oak League, the Sierra Timberwolves.