It was as if the varsity Oakdale Mustangs never missed a beat this offseason. The defending state champions opened up the regular season campaign with a convincing 42-6 road win over East Union on Friday night. Oakdale scored 35 unanswered points in the first half to help pave the way to a 1-0 start in the Valley Oak League.
The Mustangs used the running game behind their brutal front line to pull away from the home team. Midway through the first quarter fullback Josh Jacobson rushed up the middle to score the first points of the game on a one yard score, with the point after attempt good, to make it 7-0. Less than five minutes later Jacobson cashed in on a two yard rushing touchdown, kick good, to make it 14-0.
In what is a true running back by committee for Oakdale, Bronson Harmon scored from six yards out to the right side with 10:33 remaining in the second quarter to give Oakdale a 21-0 advantage. Starting running back Cameron Cherry picked up where he left off during an impressive preseason and scored three touchdowns and rushed for 83 yards on 15 carries. Two of his touchdowns came in the second quarter from four yards and then a two yard score with 2:05 remaining in the half. The point after attempts were good on all touchdowns to give Oakdale a 35-0 halftime lead.
The Mustangs marched down the field to start the second half and scored on a one yard touchdown by Cherry to go up 42-0 with 9:57 left in the third. It would be the last possession for the starting unit for the Mustangs as head coach Trent Merzon called upon the second and third unit to play the rest of the game.
“I like what I saw from everyone tonight. The second and third guys came in and played well,” Merzon said. “This was a good opportunity to see what these juniors bring to the program.”
Oakdale’s defense slowed down the high scoring Lancers at Dino Cunial Field. Entering the game the Lancers scored a league high 136 points in three games. Led by Zac Campbell, Matt Kjeldgaard, Jace Krick and a cast of others, Oakdale applied pressure to the Lancers. Campbell finished the game with a big fumble recovery in the first half, a stop on fourth and two and delivered big hits throughout the night.
“It was a team effort tonight. It’s about doing your job and execution. Tonight everyone did that,” Campbell said.
His big night, however, did not start the way he or anyone on the visitor sideline had hoped as he fumbled on a punt return setting up the Lancers in Oakdale territory. However, three plays later, Campbell blitzed quarterback Joseph Espinosa on fourth-and-two, forcing him to throw the ball away.
The Mustangs (3-1, 1-0) will continue to play on the road with a visit to Weston Ranch (1-3, 0-1) this Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. following the junior varsity game.