2016 was a roller coaster ride for the Oakdale Mustangs varsity football team. It seems like just yesterday Oakdale went to Sonora to face their former league rivals, and came up short to the Wildcats, 27-13. Veteran head coach Trent Merzon, with 17 years at the helm, and his staff did not panic but stayed the course. Oakdale then rattled off big non-league victories over Central Point, Oregon’s Crater and went to the Bay Area and defeated Campolindo 28-21. The Mustangs then went on to win their first five Valley Oak League games. Their run came to an end on Oct. 28 when they fell to Manteca on the road, 30-22. With their backs against the wall Oakdale handed Central Catholic a 34-21 loss in the season finale this past Friday night. With the win, Oakdale shares the 2016 Valley Oak League title along with Central Catholic and Manteca, each team with one league loss.
Now that the regular season is over, Merzon and the team turn their attention to the 2016 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs. Oakdale earned the top seed in the bracket. The field of 16 begins on Thursday, Nov. 10 and is scheduled to crown a champion on Friday night, Dec. 2 at Lincoln High School in Stockton.
Oakdale will host the No. 16 seed McNair Eagles on Thursday night. McNair (6-4, 4-1) were co-champs of the San Joaquin Athletic Association. McNair’s regular season came to a close as they won 31-18 over Bear Creek. McNair has won five of their last six games. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Others in the field of 16 in D-III include American Canyon, Christian Brothers, Del Campo, Merced, Benicia, Yuba City, Vista del Lago, Vanden, Lincoln of Lincoln, Burbank, Beyer, East Union, Cordova and El Camino. Central Catholic was moved into Division II, where they are the No. 5 seed, while Manteca was awarded the top seed in Division IV.