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Mustangs, Colts Run Over Sierra For Homecoming Victories
Running back Jace Rau is focused as he puts on a burst of speed during a Valley Oak League varsity football contest against visiting Sierra. It was Homecoming night for the Mustangs and they dumped the Timberwolves, 56-16. Jeff Kettering/The Leader

The dictionary defines the term “juggernaut” as “a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution.” If one wants to see a true juggernaut up close and personal, one need only head out to an evening of Oakdale Mustang and Colt football.

The Sierra Timberwolves learned that fact in spades at the Mustang Homecoming games on Friday, Sept. 30, as the Mustangs (5-1) and Colts (6-0) dazzled the Corral crowd with overwhelming power. At the end of the evening the varsity Mustangs had earned a 56-16 win while the Colts prevailed 41-6.

On the evening, the Mustangs amassed 506 yards on 47 carries (10.8 yards per carry).

“I’m thrilled,” said head coach Trent Merzon. “We are averaging over 45-points a game and have gained probably 2,500 yards rushing over six games, which is close to a school record.”

Defensively, the swarming and stingy Mustang defense held the Timberwolves to less than half of the Mustang output: 231 yards in total offense (72 yards rushing on 37 carries (1.9 yards per carry) and 18 for 29 passing for 159 yards. Indeed, the Mustang defensive line and linebackers amassed several sacks on the evening, with the Sierra quarterback accounting for -25 yards rushing during the game. Senior Garrison Gerber was in on five of those sacks.

“We had a great team win,” said Gerber. “Every day at practice we grind real hard and when we get out here we know what we want to do. It was a great team win and I’m glad I was part of that.”

Gerber also accounted for 78 yards out of the 506 yards rushing, 58 of which came on a carry up the middle in the fourth quarter. The Mustang line dominated the Sierra defense and blew open gaping holes for the swift Mustang runners. Leading the way rushing was junior Cameron Guthrie (152 yards on 13 carries) who scored two touchdowns of 24 and 15 yards respectively and had a 36-yard carry to set up another touchdown by fellow junior Kayden Anderson (59 yards on five carries.) Complementing Gerber, Guthrie and Anderson were senior mainstays running back Gabe McDonald (77 yards on eight carries), do-it-all quarterback Mick Merzon (71 yards on 11 carries), and wing back Jace Rau who accounted for 69 yards on five carries including touchdowns of 42 and 5 yards respectively.

English teachers will tell you that early in every novel there is a foreshadowing of the plot. The varsity game certainly had a foreshadowing of the plot on the first series of downs. Taking the opening kickoff, the Mustangs needed only three plays and 42 seconds to get on the scoreboard with McDonald making another of his now patented up-the-middle power runs for 59 yards and a score, which electrified the Homecoming crowd. On their next series, the Mustangs needed only six plays to cover the 64-yards to the end zone, as Guthrie, who in the track and field season is one of the Valley Oak League’s top high hurdlers, went around left end for a 24-yard touchdown run. The blocking was so prolific on that play that from the press box it appeared that Guthrie had a wide-open field, devoid of Sierra players, ahead of him. Rau scored next on a second quarter 42-yard run around right end, using an outstanding open field block by senior Mason Ahm, completing an 8-play, 85-yard drive. Rau would score again on a 5-yard run in the waning moments of the first half, as the Mustangs took a 28-10 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, the Mustangs took advantage of fumble recoveries by senior Alex Jones and sophomore Jacob Kendrick to get running touchdowns from Guthrie, his second on the evening, and Mick Merzon. The latter touchdown followed a drive of 95-yards on just five plays, with the highlight of the drive being the aforementioned 58-yard run by Gerber. The gritty Anderson accounted for the Mustangs’ other score on the evening with a 6-yard plunge in which he carried Sierra would-be tacklers into the end zone with him. Kicker Brock Osmundson was perfect in the point-after-touchdown parade, scoring on all eight attempts.

The performance of the Mustangs against Sierra was dominant. The Mustang juggernaut now goes on the road for two weeks playing at East Union (3-3) on Friday, Oct. 7 and then at Central Catholic (2-4) on Oct. 14.

“We are going to keep doing our thing,” said Coach Merzon after the game. “Nothing but celebratory stuff. I’m pumped.”

During the Homecoming festivities at halftime of the varsity game, sophomore Jayci Volonte was crowned Homecoming Princess while senior Trista French earned the title of 2022 Fall Homecoming Queen. The King and Prince crowns will be presented during the Powder Puff game.



In the Junior Varsity game, the juggernaut theme held true as the Colts (6-0) ran up 41 unanswered points against Sierra, amassing during the game 346 total yards (309 rushing and 37 passing) in stark contrast to the 203 total yards (105 rushing and 98 passing) gained by the Timberwolves in the 41-6 Oakdale win. Leading the offensive charge for the Colts of head coach Matt Miranda was freshman Chase Lopez who gained 106 total yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns. Joining in the offensive rushing onslaught were Jackson Gilton, who ripped off an 82-yard touchdown run on his only carry of the game, freshman Ricky Torres who gained 58 yards on nine carries including a 29-yard second half touchdown run, and Joseph Delte (56 yards on six carries). The defense, for the sixth time this season, was dominant with hard-hitting tackles, complemented by a pass interception by Spence Ballard. The special teams also chimed in for a score when, late in the first half, Wes Burford blocked a punt attempt then scooped up the loose ball and rumbled into the end zone for a touchdown. Burford also recorded six extra points place kicking on yet another dominant evening for the Colts.

After six games, the Colts have outscored opposing teams 256 points to 24 points, underscoring the label of juggernaut. The Colts will next travel to Manteca to play the East Union Lancers.

JV torres
Scoring a touchdown on Friday night in the JV contest was freshman Ricky Torres, who had nine carries for 58 yards in a solid 41-6 victory over the visiting Sierra Timberwolves. Jeff Kettering/The Leader