Josh Watts made it a few yards past the line of scrimmage before the Oakdale High fullback was stopped in his tracks by several Turlock defenders. His momentum slowed for a moment as his feet began to chop like a sushi chef, then suddenly a wave of Oakdale linemen hit the pile, knocking defenders reeling as Watts continued chopping an extra six yards into the end zone for a 7-0 Oakdale lead in the first quarter on Friday night at The Corral.
In the battle of wills and toughness presented by Oakdale’s first football game of the season, the Mustangs prevailed via a 21-7 victory in the season opener.
Penalties and failed conversions stalled five Oakdale drives, but three jaunts to pay dirt proved to be all Oakdale needed against a valiant Bulldog effort that struggled to nab first downs against a tenacious Oakdale defense.
Turlock was held to just 113 total yards of offense, most accumulating on the team’s nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. Oakdale fired back six minutes later on a two-yard touchdown pass from Spencer Thomas to Watts with only 28 seconds remaining in the first half. The drive was set up by one of several long punt returns, this one a 28-yard show exhibited by Marcus Northcutt. Northcutt would later blitz into the end zone from five yards out on Oakdale’s first drive of the second half, and ended with 50 of Oakdale’s 160 rushing yards. Watts had a team high 19 rushes for 58 yards while Thomas passed for 74 yards (6 of 13) and ran for 37.
Thomas connected four times for 66 yards with senior wide out Austin Jones, who bullied over defenders on gains of 19, 20, 12 and 15 yards. He appeared to catch and run for a long score on Oakdale’s first possession, but the play was brought back on a penalty.
The Oakdale defense sacked Turlock quarterbacks five times and held the Bulldogs to just 38 plays on offense (Oakdale ran 70, 38 in the first half alone). Nikk Ryan (1.5 sacks), Hondo Arpoika (1.5), Miko Arpoika (1) and Tyler Williams (1) provided the key push into the Turlock backfield.
Bastian Jimenez paced the Mustang defense with nine tackles while Hondo Arpoika (5), Ryan (4.5) and Nik Garza (4) were also a constant harassment to Turlock runners.
Oakdale (1-0) is at Westlake High in Westlake Village on Friday to face Oceanside.
The thunder and lightning of fullback Frankie Trent and wingback C.J. Domingo proved too much of a storm for Turlock to handle in a 28-14 Mustang win.
Trent powered to 109 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries while Domingo carried nine times for 101 yards, including a 46-yard score. Michael Baskine also returned a fumble nine yards for a score.
“I think the main thing we did was practice all week to finish and we did a good job of that on Friday night,” Oakdale coach Dave Hill said. “The first win is always a good one.”
Oakdale created five turnovers on defense from fumbles and did well to avenge a narrow loss to the Turlock JV a season ago. Coach Hill said quarterback Dillon Farquhar completed two passes and did a great job limiting Oakdale’s mistakes and managed a terrific game from the helm.
Oakdale beat Turlock 40-7 on Friday.