It was a bye week for the varsity and junior varsity football teams, but the freshman Mustang Ponies saddled up this past Thursday night at The Corral. Oakdale welcomed in Tracy for the Sept. 14 non-conference battle. The Mustangs wasted little time getting on the board and handled Tracy 35-0.
Running back Zeke Saffar has been making a name for himself for Oakdale and by the end of the night, Tracy knew his name as well. On the team’s first play from scrimmage, Saffar exploded up field and broke through the Tracy defense and ran into the end zone from 58 yards out. With the point after good, Oakdale had a 7-0 lead just 50 seconds into the game. Following a Bulldogs turnover Saffar carried the ball and scored on a 62 yard rush that gave Oakdale a 14-0 lead with 7:18 remaining in the first quarter. With their backs against the wall early, Tracy was forced to try a fourth-and-two attempt from the Oakdale 37 with 3:40 left in the first quarter. The Ponies defense stopped Tracy shy of the first down for the turnover.
The next play Saffar was off to the races once more, this time from 61 yards out to build the lead to 21-0. Oakdale’s offense slowed down in the second quarter as they scored the only points of the quarter on a Donovan Walker rush up the middle from less than one yard out. Following a scoreless third quarter Saffar slammed the door shut on Tracy with a 38-yard rushing touchdown.
The freshman carried the ball 12 times for 306 yards and four touchdowns.
“Tonight was truly about the offensive line. Those guys provide the blocking and make the holes for us backs,” Saffar said. “They also give our quarterback (Jason Rawe) time to throw the ball as well.”
One of the linemen that sprung Saffar loose on the first two carries was Robert Silva.
As explosive as Oakdale’s offense was, it was just as exciting on the defensive side of the ball. The punishing defense gave up less than 150 yards of offense and came away with four turnovers in the win. Heavy hits by Rylan Kerr, Gannon Davis, Zachary Aloisio and Brandon Jeffrey kept the Bulldogs quiet throughout the night.
“We just do what coach tells us,” Jeffrey said following the game. “This is Oakdale football at every level. We want to do our job and do it the right way.”
The freshmen will be back in action on Thursday night inside The Corral when they welcome in East Union. This will be the Valley Oak League season opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.