Oakdale High defensive back/wide receiver Vince Thompson spent the first three weeks of the football season pacing the sidelines with an angry grimace, sporting the impatient look of a senior hungry for the first football game of his final prep season in pads.
He returned to eligibility this past week and by Friday’s Valley Oak League opener between 2009 co-champions Sierra and Oakdale, Thompson was a lit fuse ready to blow — and that he did.
Thompson hauled in three passes for 97 yards, intercepted a throw in Oakdale’s own end zone and made a diving swat to prevent a score with a minute to play in the first half. His big plays led Oakdale to a 33-15 throttling of the program that landed a 44-42 win at The Corral just one year ago.
“Last year was pretty heartbreaking, and nothing can take away what happened, but this was a great start to VOL,” Thompson said after Friday’s win. “I just came out and did my thing, helped my teammates.”
Thompson’s teammates, namely Marcus Hernandez (22 rushes, 126 yards), A.C. Brown (12-71), Marcus Northcutt (7-33), Spencer Thomas (2-31) and Daniel Linder (10-22) pounded the Sierra defense for 292 rushing yards.
Thomas was brilliant behind center, completing six of eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. After Thompson’s deflection in the end zone, Thomas found Northcutt on a sharp 41-yard pass to pay dirt with only 26 seconds remaining in the first half.
The play, coupled with an earlier five-yard scoring strike to Northcutt and Justin Martin’s 22-yard field goal, gave Oakdale a 17-7 lead at the break in hostile territory.
In the second half, Oakdale chewed up game time with 40 plays to host Sierra’s 17. The Mustangs mounted a 90-yard drive-and-score to open the third (Brown’s three-yard TD), before Martin’s 33-yard field goal and an 18-yard Brown scamper could add the finishing touches.
The Mustang defense played a spectacular game to hold Sierra to just 195 total yards of offense. Thompson, Bastian Jimenez, Justin McDonnell and Braydon Stephens all pulled down interceptions from Sierra quarterback Adrian Valencia while Brown and Blake Thompson helped hold Sierra runners to only 54 rushing yards.
“Coach (Hondo Arpoika) did one hell of a job with our defense tonight,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “That bye week gave us a chance to get our bearings straight in the secondary, and our defense really bought into what coach Arpoika was telling them.”
Oakdale High’s JV program turned the corner with an impressive 40-22 rout of Sierra on Friday. Oakdale led 34-16 at the half and improved upon a 34-22 lead in the fourth with a big Nick Garza interception and Jordan Miller score in the game’s waning moments.
Eddie Machado delivered passing touchdowns to both Garza and Joshua Watts in the win. Watts ran for two more touchdowns on the ground, and saw a huge game from running back, Miller.
“We just started clicking and doing a lot better,” Oakdale coach Ben Cortez said. “That’s what happens when you work hard and take care of assignments.”
This Friday night will be a busy one at the Corral, with Homecoming festivities a part of the package, including the selection of Mustang royalty. Action begins with the JV game at 5:15 p.m. as the football squads host Kimball.