RED ON THE ROAD
The stands at Sonora High School were full as the Oakdale faithful made the trip up the hill in their red and gold Mustang attire on Friday, Aug. 25. The fans carried signs, chanted and were energetic throughout the non-league football contest, with the defending state champion Mustangs nailing down a decisive 47-13 victory in the season opener. See story, additional photos in Sports,
While 2016 was a memorable season for the Oakdale Mustangs varsity football team – ultimately winning the CIF State Championship – the season started off on an alarming 27-13 loss to rival Sonora in the 100th meeting between the two schools. Fast forward to this past Friday night and the Mustangs did more than return the favor; they silenced any doubters that they had during the offseason. Using brilliant blocking by their offensive line, a ruthless running game and a determined defense, the Mustangs walked out of Sonora with a 47-13 road win in hand to kick off the new campaign.
Oakdale struck first on a 51-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marc Dickson to Bronson Harmon on the team’s opening drive. Sonora countered with a 77 yard touchdown of their own to tie the game at seven with 8:25 remaining in the first quarter. For Sonora, that was as close as the game got as Oakdale rattled off four unanswered touchdowns to pull away from the host Wildcats. Oakdale capitalized on a five-yard rushing touchdown by fullback Josh Jacobson, and three straight scores by Cameron Cherry. Oakdale went into the half up 35-13.
The Mustangs scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter, Cherry’s fourth touchdown of the game came on a six-yard rush with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter and Harmon scored his second touchdown on a 50-yard run with 1:47 left in the third. Cherry finished the day with 244 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and did not see the field in the fourth quarter. Harmon finished with 110 total yards and two touchdowns on just four touches. Jacobson also had an impressive season opener with 134 yards rushing.
“I knew we were the better team. We went into the night with the attitude that we were not going to lose and they had the attitude that they were going to lose and that was the difference tonight,” Harmon said following the game.
The reliable offensive line stood its ground, keeping quarterback Dickson out of harm’s way during the night and allowing the running game to take over.
“Everyone had to do their jobs. For those of us that were on this team last year we remember the way it felt walking off this field and the bus ride home,” said senior center Jorge Barajas. “We did not want that history to repeat itself. Bottom line is everyone did their jobs tonight and did it well.”
Oakdale’s defense shut down the Wildcats offense, allowing only a total of 13 points on the board, and no scores for the host team in the second half. Led by Zac Campbell, Jace Krick, Matt Kjeldgaard and Junior Rodin, the Mustang defense combined for two turnovers, three sacks, and plenty of big hits.
“It was definitely a team effort tonight. Everyone who stepped out on the field tonight contributed. It’s like coach says you have your right, you have your left, you have your back but it’s about what’s in front of you,” Rodin said.
This Friday night, Oakdale hosts El Capitan at the newlook Corral. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Oakdale’s defense pitched a shutout in the second half in the road win over Sonora. Shown is a gang tackle led by Jon Singleton (24), Junior Rodin (21) Levi Ichord (52) and Jace Krick (9).
Fullback Josh Jacobson rushes up the middle for this touchdown. Jacobson capitalized on the big blocking by his offensive line.
On an island all alone on his way to the end zone is Bronson Harmon, scoring on a 51 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Quarterback Marc Dickson talks to head coach Trent Merzon during a timeout in Friday’s season opener on the road at Sonora.