Six-foot senior quarterback Ryan Bohnet of Benicia High’s varsity football team was a bit like Superman on Friday.
He completed his first nine passes, led the Panthers to a 7-0 lead deep into the first quarter and ended 25 of 38 for 253 yards and two scores.
His only kryptonite was donned in black with the number seven etched across his chest.
Oakdale defensive back Nik Garza intercepted Bohnet passes on Benicia’s first and last drives of the second half, effectively dooming Bohnet’s heroic effort in a 35-12 Oakdale win in the quarterfinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
“I can’t imagine facing a better quarterback than what we just saw,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said afterwards. “I can’t imagine a kid with a stronger arm, a kid more accurate.”
Bohnet had Oakdale reeling after a three-and-out from the Mustang offense gave Benicia the opportunity for an eight-play drive and score with under four minutes to play in the first period.
Oakdale fired back with seven straight runs from Marcus Northcutt (18 carries, 103 yards) and Nikk Ryan (17-83), ultimately scoring on Ryan’s four-yard jaunt up the middle.
Mustang quarterback Spencer Thomas extended the lead with a 10-yard sprint to open the second quarter, ultimately delivering his own special performance from the helm with 109 rushing yards (two scores) and a sterling 10 for 11, 115-yard (passing TD) aerial performance. His only incompletion went through the hands of a wide open Miko Arpoika on the second play of the game.
Benicia closed to 14-12 midway through the second period after a six-yard scoring strike by Bohnet, but Oakdale chewed up over six minutes of clock time with a 16-play drive spanning 80 yards and culminating with a Ryan touchdown with 12 seconds left in the half.
Thomas bolted for a seven-yard score to open the third period, later connecting with Dewayne Finney in the end zone on a 23-yard jump ball after Garza’s first interception retained Oakdale possession.
The Panthers gained some momentum when Mustang freshman Adam Olsen struggled in a fourth-quarter spread formation (he threw an interception and fumbled on his first two plays), but Garza’s second interception with 2:50 to play ended Benicia’s final possession.
“Those plays were a switch of momentum I think,” Garza said afterwards. “When they got the ball in the second half and got picked, it kind of shut them down.
“It’s exciting to be able to do that.”
Oakdale finished with 434 yards of offense, and limited Benicia to just 270 despite the potent passing attack. The Panthers ran 10 times for just 17 yards and failed to stop six total Oakdale ball carriers from rumbling to 319 yards. Austin Jones caught five passes for 53 yards to lead Mustang receivers.
Bastian Jimenez had 15 tackles (10 solo, one for loss) to lead the Oakdale defense. Tanner Morgan had 10 tackles (eight solo). Garza ended with seven tackles, one a brilliant tackle deep in the Benicia backfield to stop a Panther sweep near the end zone. Ryan recorded a sack for the Mustangs as well.