Week one of the Valley Oak League season kicked off this past Friday night, Sept. 14. Oakdale High School opened the season on the road by taking on East Union at Dino Cunial Field. Despite turning the ball over four times, the Mustangs escaped with a 35-26 win over the host Lancers.
“Four turnovers in a road game, in the Valley Oak League, man you won’t come out on top very often,” said Mustangs head coach Trent Merzon.
A slow start for Oakdale in the first quarter resulted in a 3-0 deficit after the 12 minutes of play. In the second quarter the Mustangs trailed 6-0 but took the lead on a 19-yard rushing touchdown from fullback Max Moore with 11:12 remaining in the half. Midway through the second quarter East Union regained the lead on a 20-yard catch and run by Jojo Espinosa resulting in a 13-7 Lancer lead. Ninety seconds later Moore found the end zone for a second time when he plowed his way through the Lancers front line from a yard out to take a 14-13 lead and send the Mustangs into the halftime break with the one-point advantage.
In the third quarter, the Mustangs came out aggressively as Leo Ayala ran down the sideline and into the end zone from 42 yards out to go up 21-13 with 7:14 left in the quarter. The Lancers answered with a 55-yard run by quarterback Eric Morales with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter. Oakdale’s rushing attack continued to punish the Lancers in the third quarter, though, when Moore scored from the one yard line with 1:20 left. Moore finished the day with 190 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 33 carries.
East Union did not go down quietly as they scored the first points of the fourth quarter when Raylen Carter burned the Mustangs secondary for a 29-yard catch and run with less than eight minutes to play, making it 28-26. The Lancers lined up for a two point conversion attempt to tie the game; however, Oakdale’s defense stood tall and denied the attempt.
Some 17seconds later, Oakdale silenced the home team’s fans in the stands when sophomore Zeke Saffar slashed his way past the defense for an electrifying 80-yard touchdown sending the visitor side stands into a frenzy.
Although the Mustangs defense struggled during the contest, they made key plays to help Oakdale win the opener. When given the opportunity the defense did apply pressure with success. Bo Osmundson got a sack and Leo Ayala got a sack. The Mustangs also intercepted the ball twice, once by Cameron Burke and the other by Oscar Ramos.
This Friday night, Sept. 21, Oakdale hosts Weston Ranch inside The Corral. Weston Ranch is coming off a 63-7 loss to Gregori in non-conference play.