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Mustangs Upend Natomas In First Round Of Playoffs
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Oakdale High defensive back Daniel Gazdik intercepted a desperation pass with just over three minutes to play and rumbled 45 yards for the finishing touch on a 36-0 blowout of Natomas in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs on Friday at The Corral.The pass went awry after Oakdale defensive end Marcos Velasco crushed Natomas quarterback Jakori Ford just as he let loose. Gazdik pulled down the easy pick and crisscrossed the field behind solid blocks to slip into the end zone.“You just have to find a lane and hopefully the blockers are blocking for you,” Gazdik said after the win. “Everybody just blocked good and we got one in. It feels great.”Braydon Stephens also nabbed an interception (his second in two weeks) in a game that saw just 133 total yards from a Nighthawk offense that had scored 218 points this season.Oakdale’s first points of the game came from the first Nighthawk snap from scrimmage, when Gazdik and a host of Mustangs pounced on a quick sweep in the end zone for a safety with 8 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.“A lot of pressure was on our defense, but I think our defense played great tonight,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “They got loose a couple of times, but we rallied, tackled them and we did great against the run.”Oakdale rumbled to 399 yards on the backs of powerful runs from a pack of rushers. Tim House ran for touchdown runs of one and three yards with 126 ticks on 27 total carries. Devin Brooks added 127 yards and a 15-yard score on just 19 touches while Blake Raham (touchdown, 15 for 87) and Daniel Linder (7 for 48) also proved to be effective.With the win, Oakdale advances to play Vanden of Fairfield in the SJS D-III quarterfinals.“I’m proud of our kids, and if we never get to play in The Corral again this year I am happy for our seniors for ending it right,” Merzon said. “What a great tribute to them to come in here and play their butts off and get a shutout against a quality opponent.” Box ScoreOakdale                23 6 0 7 — 36Natomas               0 0 0 0 — 0 First quarterOakdale – Jakori Ford -1 run (safety), 8:22.Oakdale – Devin Brooks 15 run (Kyle Derby kick), 7:30.Oakdale - House 1 run (Derby kick), 3:02.Oakdale – Blake Raham 29 run (Derby kick), :08. Second quarterOakdale – House 3 run (kick failed), 2:26. Fourth quarterOakdale – Daniel Gazdik 45 interception return (Derby kick), 3:12. Game Stats Oak                        NatFirst Downs                           21                           6Total Net Yards                   399                         133Rushing Yards                      397                         112Passing Yards                       2                              21Turnovers                              1                              2