Oakdale High’s varsity football team overcame a quiet first quarter with a balanced offensive attack on Friday to put the finishing touches on a complete program sweep of Weston Ranch. Between varsity, junior varsity and freshman scores, the Mustangs outscored the Cougars by a collective 135-36 score.
With just over a minute remaining in the third quarter, Oakdale defensive end Nikk Ryan broke into the Weston Ranch backfield and crushed Cougar quarterback James Simerly with a bone-jarring hit as he let the ball loose for an incompletion.
One play later, Simerly connected with running back Alex Esan on a screen play, but Oakdale’s Bastian Jimenez read the play perfectly and crumpled Esan to the grass with a ferocious collision at the line of scrimmage.
Both Ryan and Jimenez reached down to help their opposing varsity counterparts to their feet after the plays, because three quarters of hard fought football had earned Weston Ranch some respect.
The Cougars held Oakdale’s potent offense to just one first quarter possession and limited the Mustangs to a one-score lead for all but three minutes of the first half. Oakdale broke loose for a 24-6 half time lead and claimed a 51-14 final advantage, but it didn’t come easy.
“I thought (Weston Ranch) played real hard. They have big, strong kids that are very athletic and they looked good on tape,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “Maybe our kids didn’t know it early, but that’s a good football team and we had to grind it out a little bit against them.
“I told our kids at halftime that this is healthy and if you don’t enjoy this then you are playing the wrong sport.”
After three consecutive contests against the bottom three teams in the Valley Oak League standings (Kimball, Lathrop, and East Union) that sport a combined 4-20 record, Oakdale was desperate for some adversity, and saw plenty from a Cougar squad that allowed only three Mustang rushes over 15 yards.
Oakdale still ran for 300 yards, but did so on 46 carries and capitalized on a six for 14 effort from quarterback Spencer Thomas (150 yards, touchdown). Thomas hit Austin Jones (four catches, 91 yards) on a thrilling 61-yard pass and score in the third quarter.
Marcus Hernandez ran for a 30-yard touchdown and finished with 106 yards and two touchdowns on 15 touches. Marcus Northcutt scampered for the game’s first score and ended with 58 yards on 11 carries. Justin Martin (three carries, 60 yards) landed the longest touchdown run on a 47-yard breakaway and also booted a 22-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half. Josh Watts scored twice and ended with 54 yards on 11 second-half carries.
The Oakdale defense surrendered only 203 yards to the Weston Ranch offense, 90 of those represented by a five-play scoring drive against Oakdale reserves with just over five minutes left in the game.
Ryan was a constant presence in the Cougar backfield.
“I was pretty much just faking inside then going outside around the tackle,” Ryan said afterwards. “It kept working so I kept doing it.”
Oakdale improved to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in Valley Oak League play with a 42-14 win over Weston Ranch.
“The offensive line played real well,” Oakdale coach Tim Meyer said. “They all hustled and made plays, and everyone got into the game.”
Tanner Morgan returned a punt for a touchdown and Kyle Osborn took an interception to the house as well. Bailey Dryden broke loose for a 60-yard score to lead the Mustang offense.
“All the linemen made the blocks and I just followed them,” Dryden said. “It felt good to get back on the winning side for two straight weeks.”
Oakdale’s first team defense didn’t surrender a single first down during a 42-8 blowout over the Cougars on Thursday at The Corral.
Max Stevens ran for two touchdowns and caught a third score from Dylan Farquar. Farquar also hit Christian Domingo on a touchdown pass and broke into the end zone on a 2-point conversion.
Brock Whiting and Kevin Corral also ran for touchdowns while C.J. Backman booted three of four extra points.