It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Having said that, the Oakdale Mustangs started Friday night’s road game at Sonora slow but erupted following the first quarter. Oakdale defeated their over a century old rivals by a final of 41-7.
A scoreless first quarter for both teams, but it was smooth sailing for Oakdale the rest of the way. Running back Zeke Saffar scored 13 seconds into the second quarter on a 76-yard rushing touchdown to give the visitors a 7-0 advantage. Leo Ayala scored twice in the second quarter from six and three yards out. Saffar found the end zone for the second time in the quarter as he erupted for a 47-yard score with less than a minute to play in the half. As time was winding down, defensive end Peyton Bradford scooped up a fumble and returned it 52 yards the other way for a touchdown to give Oakdale a 34-0 halftime lead.
“I guess I was in the right place at the right time,” said Bradford.
Saffar, a junior, rushed the ball eight times (all in the first half) for a total of 133 yards and two touchdowns. Ayala also did most of his workload in the first half. Ayala, a junior, had nine carries for 96 yards and three touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Jackson Holt made his first varsity start. Holt went 4-for-4 for 57 passing yards.
“I was nervous, still am a little bit to be honest,” said Holt.
Head coach Trent Merzon was pleased with the performance but acknowledged that it’s only one game into the season.
“I thought the boys played well. It’s only one game into the season but overall they played well, for the most part.”
Merzon also commented on the importance of the rivalry that has stretched out over a century.
“Even though we are not in the same league anymore, it’s still an important game each year,” Merzon said.