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Mustangs Gallop Past Whitney, 24-7
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It was a match up of the past two Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Football championship programs and the Oakdale Mustangs were the force to be reckoned with in a 24-7 win over Whitney High at the Corral.Oakdale came away as the team to beat in its bracket of postseason play running their non-league record to a perfect 3-0 as if they played Delhi, Gustine and Enochs instead of Turlock, Novato and defending section champion Whitney.The Mustangs were battle tested early as the Wildcats raced down and scored, taking a 7-0 lead before the Mustangs were able to get things clicking. Oakdale responded with their first touchdown of the evening and never looked back.Oakdale relied on its formula for success, letting bruising running backs Tim House and Devin Brooks punish the Whitney defense, while fleet-footed senior Blake Raham had his way outside the tackles.Oakdale has been brilliant running the football and that fact will be its guiding force as the squad will eliminate as much pressure as possible from the shoulders of starting quarterback Robert Stout.Stout has been seemingly unfazed by his new status as the Mustangs’ signal caller, thriving in his role as the offensive unit’s leader. Oakdale scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters and added a field goal from kicker Kyle Derby before closing out the scoring with a beautiful 21-yard touchdown gallop from Brooks. Defensively, Oakdale had another inspired effort led by linebacker Charlie Gilstrap and defensive back Daniel Gazdik. Gazdik made his way around the entire field, causing a pair of fumbles and hitting the jackpot as another fumble decided to find a home in his lap.Anthony Salazar also stepped in as one of the Mustangs’ leading forces on defense, making eye-popping hits and keeping his unit fired up with a tenacious attitude that the unit fed off for four quarters.Salazar and teammate Russell Price did a phenomenal job keeping Whitney quarterback Jake Rodrigues in check. The Whitney signal-caller was a task to deal with, making play after play with his legs until the punishment the Mustangs were dishing out became too much. His sharp turns up the field became hesitant and that was the only sign the Oakdale defense needed to see.Oakdale nearly rushed for 300 yards, again, leaving no doubt as to their weapon of choice. House’s two scores and Brooks’ 21-yard score will be enough of a task for defenses, making Stout’s job a tad-bit easier and in turn, more effective.Naysayers assumed the table would be turning when Oakdale’s returning starting quarterback Tanner Combs went down with a devastating ankle injury, but the team has obviously rallied around their newfound leader in Stout.The Valley Oak League season will open up for the Mustangs as they travel to Ceres to take on the Central Valley Hawks this Friday, Oct. 2. It will be Oakdale’s first road game of the season as well as the squad’s first contest that they are going to be expected to win easily.Central Valley will be poised to knock off the Mustangs, though, giving Oakdale the best punch they have, as will every team the club faces from this point on. Oakdale cannot look past the Hawks who closed their non-league schedule 2-1 with their only loss coming to the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division V champions from Hilmar.Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.