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Varsity Football Mustangs Fall Hard to Turlock
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Normal 0 0 1 15 90 The Oakdale Leader 1 1 110 11.1287 0 0 0 Mustang Chris Sulhoff takes a kick return up field on Friday despite Turlock pressure. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER

Trailing 26-14 and on the cusp of overcoming a disastrous 20-0 deficit, Oakdale High’s varsity football team lined up a defensive formation at Turlock’s own 23 yard-line on third and nine, with intentions of getting the ball back to bring things within one score at four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

But talented Bulldog quarterback Kevin Kramer had other plans.

The six-foot, 195-pound senior scampered to his right and zigzagged to the left sideline 77 yards for a Turlock touchdown. His five-yard dive into the end zone a quarter later sealed Turlock’s 39-14 rout of the team that pummeled them 56-6 a year ago.

“Kramer is a great football player, and he made some big plays tonight,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “We made some silly mistakes and it cost us.”

Kramer ran for 122 yards and three scores with 68 yards through the air and a thrilling 60-yard flea-flicker reception touchdown from running back Ricky Fuentes.

Oakdale attempted to match his offensive output with attempts from seven different ball carriers and 236 total rushing yards, but couldn’t hit the outsides with Daniel Linder (10 rushes, 21 yards) like they did in a 56-20 rout of Modesto Christian last week.

Oakdale trailed by three scores until A.C. Brown could bully his way into the end zone with 7:07 to play in the first half. Turlock pressured to score late in the second quarter, but an illegal block and two Blake Thompson sacks forced a punt as time expired.

In the third, Oakdale appeared primed for a comeback when Ernie Hinojosa pounced on Kramer’s fumble on the first snap of the half, but a Spencer Thomas interception led to a nine play Turlock drive and a 42-yard Kramer touchdown pass.

The Mustangs bounced back when fullback Brown exploded up the left side for a 57-yard touchdown run, but Kramer’s long touchdown run took away all the momentum and quieted a then boisterous Oakdale crowd.

Brown’s two scores came after seven punishing rushes for 72 yards. He watched sophomore standout Marcus Northcutt carry six times for 105 yards (65 and 30 yard runs) as well.

“We just have to get better as a team,” Brown said after the loss. “Now it’s all about getting ready for next week.”

Oakdale certainly has its work cut out for them this week in Division II stalwart, Granite Bay, at Dublin High at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Grizzlies are a huge Sac-Joaquin Section power that posted a 56-0 shellacking of Sacramento in the first round of last year’s D-II playoffs.

The team fell 41-35 to state power, St. Mary’s, last week and saw 6-3 quarterback Brendan Keeney toss five touchdowns in a 42-24 rout of Reed in Week 1.