It came down to the last possession Friday night, April 9 but Manteca came up with a big defensive stop late in the fourth quarter to prevent any last-minute Oakdale heroics as the Buffaloes downed the visiting Mustangs 26-23 in Valley Oak League action at Guss Schmiedt Field.
“I thought our kids played their butts off,” Oakdale head coach Trent Merzon said. “We talked about coming out here and playing with energy and toughness and I thought we did. It was a great football game between two great football teams. I thought their kids played great and I thought our kids played great. It was a heck of a football game.”
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Mustangs (3-1 VOL) battled back to take a 10-7 halftime lead behind a 7-yard touchdown run from Yahir Ayala (10 carries, 77 yards) and a 26-yard field goal by Kevin Camelin.
Jackson Holt and Nick Jeffery combined for two fourth-quarter Oakdale scores with Holt throwing touchdown passes of 11 and 37 yards to Jeffery. Lyon Colon (19 carries, 301 yards) scored two of his four touchdowns for Manteca (4-0) in the third quarter and another in the fourth.
Following Jeffery’s second touchdown catch in the fourth quarter with 5:57 left in the game, the Buffaloes tried to run out the clock but were stymied after nine plays, giving the Mustangs the ball back inside of three minutes remaining on their own 20-yard line. Three incomplete passes and a sack ended the Oakdale threat.
“It always comes down to that with Oakdale,” Buffaloes coach Mark Varnum said. “They’re going to have the ball and we are going to have to come up with the big stop and we came through. We were hitting and we were flying around and we did our job on defense and we have just one more to finish.”
Camelin led the ground attack for the Mustangs with 94 yards on 18 carries and Ayala added 64 yards on 11 carries.
This battle marked the 101st meeting between these two storied programs with Oakdale still leading the series, 52-45-4.
Wrapping up the season this week, Oakdale will have Senior Night festivities prior to the varsity kickoff with Ripon, April 16 in The Corral.