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Solid Effort Brings Wins For JV, Freshman Football
Frosh RB
Freshman Chris Thomas, 33, ran wild on the Wildcats in the season opener for the Ponies in Sonora. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER
JV Sack
Oakdale’s Dalton Vargas, 34, brings down the Sonora quarterback for a sack with teammate Rocky Richardson, 3, there to assist if needed. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

Football season is back and for the Oakdale High School freshman and junior varsity squads, it’s off to an impressive start. Oakdale opened up the 2019 season against longtime rival Sonora this past week. Both the freshmen and JV teams made short work of the Wildcats.

Thursday, Aug. 22 the freshmen hosted Sonora and leaped out to an early 21-0 lead and did not look back. Oakdale won the season opener 56-0. Carlos Baez, Chris Thomas, Kimoni Ragland, Deegan Sweet and Devin Rowe led the charge on the ground and accounted for seven of the team’s eight touchdowns on the ground. Baez carried the ball four times in the first half and racked up 136 yards and had three touchdowns. Baez ripped off touchdown runs of 67, 33 and 27 yards. Thomas scored on a 12-yard run in the first half. Ragland rushed for 57 yards on five carries and scored a two-yard touchdown. Sweet had 55 yards on the ground on five carries and a touchdown.

Quarterback Mick Merzon connected with receiver Alex Jones early in the second quarter for four-yard touchdown. It was the only pass attempt for Merzon.

Defense and special teams helped the young Ponies in the victory. Garrison Gerber had a blocked punt in the first half to help set up a score. Brock Osmundson had a sack. Zachary Stott had a fumble recovery, Josh Gibson had a sack and Dominic Salvi had a fumble recovery late in the second half.

“These kids worked hard during the summer,” said head coach Rod Long. “They had a successful run in the Stampede level and tonight was their first action at the high school level. They played well.”

For the junior varsity, it was a rough start to their night as transportation issues on the way up to Sonora had the game delayed by nearly an hour. However, that and a malfunctioning scoreboard did not slow down Oakdale as they defeated the Wildcats 40-7. In the first quarter Yahir Ayala scored two touchdowns to give Oakdale a 13-0 advantage. He scored from 96 and seven yards out. In the third quarter Oakdale added to their lead. Jose Torres scored from three and four yards out. Dion Suarez also found the end zone on a 28-yard run to put Oakdale up 34-0 at halftime. No score change in the third quarter but Oakdale tacked on another score early in the fourth quarter on a Torres four yard rushing touchdown. Sonora scored late in the game to avoid the shutout.

“We have a few things to work on, obviously but the boys are working hard. Penalties and things like that are focus points moving forward,” said head coach Matt Miranda.

On the defensive side, leaders were Jake Kettering, who had two fumble recoveries, while Hunter Olsen also had a fumble recovery. Dalton Vargas had a sack and Rocky Richardson had an interception.