If a football-shaped UFO had landed at Don Nicholson Stadium during Oakdale High’s 44-14 win over host Kimball, it wouldn’t have made Friday night’s Valley Oak League varsity football game any more bizarre. Oakdale was flagged for 16 of 28 total penalties, had trouble with a trash-talking chain-gang, listened to unruly shouts from the Mustang cheering section, watched a Kimball player get ejected for punching, forced the Jaguars to kick off from their own five-yard line and allowed consecutive delay of game calls on fourth down in the final quarter in an attempt to expire the running clock.
Kimball coaches responded by calling timeout with less than three minutes to play for a good chance at the final possession, but reserve running back Josh Watts exploded for a 36-yard first down on the ensuing play and Oakdale ran out the clock.
“We were going to take delay of game penalties to end the game but (Kimball) wanted to see another play,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “So we gave them another play.
“I wish (Watts) would have taken it to the house.”
The game was bitter and violent at times, but Oakdale players didn’t let emotions force them into many mistakes. The team led 44-0 after three quarters and didn’t surrender points until a fourth down Kimball pass from quarterback Zack Johnson connected low for a questionable score at the goal line with eight minutes to play, Kimball recovered a surprise onside on the ensuing kickoff and Johnson found the end zone two plays later against Oakdale’s second string defense, but 11 consecutive snaps to Oakdale second string quarterback (Eddie Machado) ended the game. The Watts run to Kimball’s 12-yard line was the perfect finishing blow.
“Just before that run I heard Kimball players saying that Oakdale was just going to give the ball to No. 21 (Watt’s number),” Watts said. “I got the ball but I didn’t go down and I just kept moving.”
Both teams were flagged for multiple personal fouls, including a big one with just over a minute to play in the first half when a Kimball linebacker threw a punch to the head of Oakdale runner Marcus Hernandez after a routine tackle.
Three plays later starting quarterback Spencer Thomas gave Oakdale a 35-0 lead before the break by running 20 yards to pay dirt.
“We are the wrong team to pick a fight with,” Coach Merzon said. “Part of that Oakdale thing is that we never back down.”
Oakdale ran for 323 yards on 43 carries and saw three runners nearly reach the 100-yard mark. Marcus Northcutt (touchdown) took nine carries for 95 yards while Marcus Hernandez (two touchdowns) ran 12 times for 94 yards. Watts, who broke his hand during the season opener on Sept. 9, ran 12 times for 86 yards in the second half. He had his club-like cast removed for good after the game. Thomas ended with 26 rushing yards and connected on 3 of 7 passes for 93 yards. All three of his completions went to junior standout Austin Jones, who hauled in a 38-yard score. Thomas would have thrown for more, if it were not for drops on two well thrown passes to start his line.
Kimball was held to 165 total yards and gave Oakdale two points on a safety when a botched punt return squirted into the end zone. Kimball committed two fouls on the ensuing kick and was forced to boot the ball from its own five-yard line with over nine minutes to play in the third quarter. Oakdale’s Thomas Angarole scored from 12 yards out just three snaps later.
The Mustangs (5-0) are currently ranked No. 9 in ESPN’s calhisports.com Division III state bowl rankings and host Lathrop (1-4) for Mustang Homecoming on Friday, Oct. 7.