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Oakdale Rallies Late To Beat Manteca
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After pummeling their last three opponents by a combined 167-34 advantage, Oakdale High’s varsity football team seemed hungry for a challenge heading into Friday’s home contest against Valley Oak League contender, Manteca.They got the challenge — and they still got the win.Oakdale rallied from a 23-21 deficit in the fourth quarter with two impressive offensive drives to take the lead and seal a 35-23 win over Manteca at The Corral. The win was part of a Thursday to Saturday Oakdale sweep of Manteca, from the freshmen on Thursday to the JV and varsity on Friday, to four levels of Stampede youth football on Saturday.“The bottom line is that’s why we coach and that’s why our kids play — to be challenged,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “Yeah there are those games where you win big and everybody plays — and there is something to be said for that too — but that’s not why you play football.“You coach football to be in situations like this, being pushed and being challenged — that’s what it’s all about.”Manteca scored to take the lead with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter on a 5-yard run from Robert Ladiges. Oakdale bounced back when fullback Tim House (22 carries, 94 yards) bullied into the end zone from a yard out.Manteca rallied behind the sharp passing of back-up quarterback Matt Burrows after starter Matt Barber was knocked unconscious after colliding with Mustang linebacker Charlie Gilstrap on a failed fourth down attempt in the opening quarter.Burrows (13-of-19, 185 yards, passing TD, rushing TD), hit receiver Reggie Bell eight times for 124 yards, including a couple of dazzling tip-toe wonders near the Oakdale sideline.Chasing a five-point deficit, Manteca drove 61 yards to the Oakdale 9-yard line, where Marquis Miller’s string of successful runs (155 yards, 31 carries) came to crashing fourth-down halt. Miller’s fourth-down dive came inches short of a first down with 5:30 to play.Oakdale responded with a crushing blow to Manteca’s hopes of an upset, chewing up over four minutes of clock with consecutive doses of House and running backs Devin Brooks (115 yards, 14 carries), and Blake Raham (155 yards, 12 carries).Brooks had exploded for a 78-yard sprint-and-score in the second quarter, and House hit pay dirt to take the lead — but it was Raham who struck the Manteca defense hardest, with a demoralizing 58-yard wonder into Kyle Derby’s field-goal range with just over two minutes to play.House made it count with a 10-yard push into Manteca’s end zone with 1:10 remaining.The Oakdale offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and opened holes for 364 total yards of rushing. Six-foot, 200-pound guard Monty Monlux was a big part of that success.“It’s the best feeling in the world when you know you are down and you have to get back up,” Monlux said. “Our team, we just love each other and we know we are going to pull through no matter what.”The Oakdale defense bent under Manteca’s potent three headed attack of Miller, Burrows and Bell, but the unit was solid at the goal lines, and even forced a fumble at Manteca’s own 3-yard line that Russell Price picked up for an easy score with 5:39 remaining in the first.Oakdale’s defensive unit will be tested again this week when the team plays host to returning SJS Division IV playoff semifinal qualifier, Sierra. The Timberwolves were undefeated, including a 23-15 win over Manteca, until a 17-7 loss to Sonora two weeks ago.The team beat Ceres 34-0 last week, and is recovering from injuries to highly touted college running back prospect Jarrod Daniels (4.43 40-yard dash) and quarterback Jonathon Davis (200 yards, four touchdowns last week). Receiver Anthony Hall sees plenty of touches as well, and caught a pair of scores last week. Oakdale 35, Manteca 23 Manteca             0 10 13   0 — 23Oakdale             7 14   0 14 — 35 First quarterOakdale—Russell Price 3 fumble return (Kyle Derby kick), 5:39.Second quarterOakdale—Tim House 1 run (Derby kick), 10:31.Manteca—Adam DeCosta 8 pass from Matt Burrows (Bradley Hatfield kick), 7:54.Manteca—Hatfield 25 field goal, 1:51.Oakdale—Devin Brooks 78 run (Derby kick), 0:24.Third quarterManteca—Burrows 1 run (pass failed), 2:34.Manteca—Robert Ladiges 5 run (Hatfield kick), 1:34.Fourth quarterOakdale—House 1 run (Derby kick), 10:54.Oakdale—House 11 run (Derby kick), 1:10. Game stats Man       OakFirst Downs                           20           15 Total Net Yards                   392         36Rushing Yards                      183         364Passing Yards                       209         0Turnovers                              1              1Penalties-Yards                    8-40        4-28