It took just a minute and four seconds for Oakdale High’s varsity football team to give their new black playoff jerseys that special pay dirt tint.
Marcus Hernandez blitzed into the Christian Brothers end zone from just six yards out for the first tally in a 56-21 Oakdale blowout at The Corral during the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs on Friday.
Oakdale led 28-14 at the half, and added four unanswered touchdowns before the Falcons could find a fourth quarter score against the Mustang second-team unit.
“Our kids play at a strange level, with an unbelievable amount of passion,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “They truly care about each other, and are playing really well right now.”
Oakdale runners found success throughout behind devastating blocks from a boisterous offensive line. The team rolled to a season high 611 rushing yards, which Merzon said may even represent a new program high.
Hernandez, Daniel Linder and quarterback Spencer Thomas traded off touchdown runs in the first two quarters after scoring rushes of six, 40, seven and 16 yards. Linder ran 17 times for 257 yards and two TDs while Hernandez scored four times on 26 rushes for 163 yards.
“I just saw holes the entire game, and that’s all I’ve been seeing,” Hernandez said. “The line made some good blocks.”
Merzon went for fourth down conversions on his own 38-yard line and even his 27 yard-line during the first half of play. The latter, with 4:53 remaining in the first half, was amidst a 10-play, 92-yard drive to take a 28-7 lead.
“That one was just silly,” Merzon admitted later. “It was not a good decision, but it worked at a time when I thought (Christian Brothers) was starting to get going.”
A Vince Thompson interception and long Gino Valente scamper set up Linder for his second touchdown with 46 seconds to play in the third quarter.
He watched Valente, Dustyn Schmidt, Chris Sulhoff and Jeff Donnelly run the remaining moments off the clock in the final period of play, Schmidt scored a three-yard touchdown and broke free for a big first down along the Oakdale sideline with just 2:52 to play.
Oakdale’s defensive unit played a key role, handing Christian Brothers their biggest loss in a season that had seen them nail down a 321-275 scoring advantage against all other opponents.
Oakdale is at Placer on Friday at 7 p.m. to continue the SJS playoffs.