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Saturday Scrimmage Paves Way For Season Opener
Oakdale varsity quarterback, Adam Olsen, sheds off Tracys middle linebacker and completes the pass for a short gain during the Mustangs and Bulldogs scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 23 at The Corral. - photo by DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

The long awaited Oakdale High School football 2014 season is under way. After spring and summer workouts, two-a-days once practices could officially begin earlier this month, and team meetings, the Mustangs hosted a home scrimmage against the Tracy Bulldogs on Saturday, Aug. 23.

You wouldn’t have guessed that it was a scrimmage, as the Mustang faithful filled the bleachers, cow bells and all, to support their team.

Donning their red helmets and black scrimmage jerseys, the Oakdale shirts had positive and encouraging messages across the front, including words like “FAITH” LOYALTY” “PASSION” that describe the team’s work ethic and love for the game.

The two teams began their scrimmage at 11 a.m. and closed it out after two hours under the sun. The scrimmage was run like an NFL preseason game, only without kickoffs and each team beginning each drive from their own 40-yard line. No score was kept and each team worked out all three units in preparation for their season openers, set for Friday night.

“Scrimmage is a learning tool to see where we are at, prior to our regular season,” said Oakdale starting quarterback Adam Olsen. “We realize that we need to come out fast and set the tempo for each game this season.”

Head coach Trent Merzon also spoke about scrimmage and where he feels the team is at as they get ready for a true home opener on Aug. 29.

“Tracy is a really good team. They came prepared, and we needed to focus and be a little more confident. As the game went on, we started to play our type of physical football,” Merzon explained. “Had this been a real game, I think we would have worn them down. It’s a long season, and we need to take it one day at a time.”

The varsity football Mustangs open up the regular season with a home game against former division rival Sonora, which is no longer in the Valley Oak League. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a meaningful game.

“It’s still a big deal. They may have moved to a different league but they’re still a school that’s not too far from us. They are a talented club and we’re going to do our best to grind them out physically and hopefully get a win to start the year off,” Olsen said.

“There is still a lot of hype building up for Sonora coming to town, but when the whistle blows and it’s time for kickoff, the hype goes away and we realize that it’s time for Mustangs football,” added Merzon.

The 2014 regular season begins when the junior varsity squad takes the field at 5 p.m. Friday with the varsity team to follow, with an approximate kickoff time of 7 p.m. at The Corral.