In the inaugural Friday Night Lights high school football series at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, two of the premier Valley Oak League contenders clashed on Saturday, Oct. 11 as the Oakdale Mustangs battled it out with the Manteca Buffaloes. Not only did the Mustangs win, the victory saw a record-setting effort, as Mustang senior Frankie Trent scored six touchdowns and rushed for over 200 yards, setting a Levi’s Stadium record.
In front of a crowd of 8,906 the Mustangs remained undefeated as they doubled up the Buffaloes, 42-21, under the Bay Area afternoon sun, improving to 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Valley Oak league play. It is a game that players, fans and the community will remember – and talk about – for years to come.
Oakdale’s defense made an early statement as Tyler Flores recovered a fumble to put a halt to Manteca’s opening drive in the red zone. Quarterback Adam Olsen and the high powered offense then took the field for the first time, and did not disappoint. The Mustangs mustered up a 12-play, 67- yard drive as fullback Frankie Trent found the end zone on a 2-yard carry to give Oakdale a 7-0 lead with 2:58 remaining in the opening quarter. Trent would go on to score a total of six touchdowns and rush for 223 yards for the Mustangs.
“The offensive line was incredible today. They opened up big lanes for all three of us, Darus (Nelson), Brock (Whiting), and myself,” Trent said in praising his teammates. “They have done that for us all season and they work hard every day at practice and game time it really shows.”
Trent was also honored as Black Bear Diner’s Player of the Game. His scoring runs came on carries of 2, 7, 5, 16, 10 and 15 yards and he rushed the ball 33 times in all, accounting for almost as much offense by himself as the entire Manteca team. C.J. Backman sent four extra-point kicks through the uprights, one kick failed, and Brock Whiting added an extra point as well.
The Buffaloes would not go down quietly, though, as they answered Oakdale’s first touchdown with a score of their own to tie it up 7-7 in the first quarter. More back and forth action and four more touchdowns before halftime saw the teams head to their respective locker rooms tied at 21-21.
Adjustments were made during the break and the Oakdale team had a renewed sense of purpose when they returned.
With the first half behind them, the Mustangs came out firing in the second half. Olsen and company chewed up nearly five minutes of the game clock on 12 plays, going 80 yards in the third quarter, regaining the lead 28-21. That was a lead that the Mustangs would not give up, but in fact build on, as they outscored the Buffaloes 21-0 in the second half.
“This is our style of football. Manteca is a tough, respectable team, a classy bunch of players and veteran coaching staff. Halftime we spoke about how we needed to come out and play and not do little things that tripped us up in the first half,” Oakdale head coach Trent Merzon said.
He was pleased to see his team take the message to heart, shutting down their opponent while finding the end zone three more times to seal the deal.
“The team answered that challenge,” Merzon said.
Oakdale (6-0 overall and 3-0 in league play) will now be faced with another big challenge, when they travel to face Sierra on short rest for a Friday night, Oct. 17 contest. Sierra is also undefeated and currently sits at the top of the VOL standings along with the Mustangs.
“Sierra is a good team, we know that we will be on short rest, but we will be ready Friday,” said Olsen about the upcoming showdown.