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Mustangs Hit Practice Field To Start Title Defense
Returning kicker Nathan Richardson warms up on the sideline during practice. Leader Photos By Dennis D. Cruz


On a crisp and breezy summer night, the Oakdale varsity football Mustangs hit the practice field with an eye toward defending their Section and State titles.

Friday night, Aug. 4 the boys wrapped up their first week of practice. Along with returning veterans, new players donned their black and gold practice jerseys.

“Some of the guys that came up from the junior varsity level have stepped up during practice and have shown signs of toughness,” senior Josh Jacobson said of his new teammates. “They want to be a part of our team and so far have shown that in practice. These guys are hungry and are showing promise.”

With over one dozen seniors returning to the team, the defending state champions will have plenty of leadership on both sides of the ball.

“Everybody has a role on this team, and they are expected to do their best at it. We have high expectations for ourselves,” senior Corey Hinojosa said.

Oakdale’s offense is anchored by a tough and unforgiving offensive line. The big bodies up front open the lanes for a talented, fast and experienced backfield. Seniors Cameron Cherry, Bronson Harmon and Josh Jacobson are expected to be the workhorses in Coach Trent Merzon’s backfield.

“I think it is going pretty good. I played fullback at the junior varsity level, but the varsity level is much different. I just want to do the position justice and help my team any way I can,” Jacobson said of his new role as fullback.

The Mustangs also welcome back starting quarterback Marc Dickson.

“A lot of the guys on the team are returning and that helps. That familiarity will help me develop as a passer,” Dickson said. “Also, I grew up playing with some of the new guys too so even though this is their first year at the varsity level I have that history with them, too.”

Oakdale opens the season at Sonora on Friday, Aug. 25.