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.

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