Mustangs keep it on the ground

By: Staff Report
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Oakdale High’s running game the key to its success There’s a running joke this season in Oakdale that the only thing that runs more than the Mustangs is the clock. That’s because in Oakdale’s 13 games, the Mustangs’ running game has helped the team invoke the 35-point running clock mercy rule on opponents 11 times this season. If you’re looking for a top flight, potent offensive attack in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, you don’t have to go much farther than the Mustangs, who chew up big chunks of yards on the ground and in the air. “They have a ton of weapons offensively that we’ll have to deal with,” said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor. The Del Oro Golden Eagles will face the Mustangs Friday at California State University, Sacramento in the CIF Div. III Sac-Joaquin Section championship game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, at Hornet Stadium. Ticket booths will open at 4 p.m. and gates open at 6 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens, age 60 and over. Parking is $5. Oakdale is the home team and will seat on the west side of the stadium, while Del Oro is the visitor and will sit on the east side. The Golden Eagles, 12-1, figure to have their hands full against a rugged Oakdale offensive unit that closed Valley Oak League play by rushing for 284 yards against Sonora, and 440 against Manteca. The Mustangs ran for 408 yards against Vista del Lago in their second playoff game. Oakdale, 13-0, runs a traditional wing-t on offense, but this year, to take advantage of quarterback Spencer Thomas’ running ability, the Mustangs will line-up in a spread look to keep defenses off balance. Thomas, who has thrown for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns, ran for touchdowns of 60 and 32 yards against Manteca, and also had two running scores in last week’s 42-23 semi-final rout of Casa Roble. “He’s a threat to take off every time he rolls out,’ said Taylor. “He gives them another option back there.” Thomas is joined in the backfield by 6-1 190-pound senior Marcus Hernandez, who rushed for 183 yards in the 49-7 second-round playoff win over Vista del Lago, and junior halfback Marcus Northcutt. Both have gone over the 1,000-yard mark this season. Oakdale is averaging 46 points a game on offense, but also has a strong defense – allowing just 15 points an outing – that is led by Nick Ryan and the Arpoika twins, Hondo and Miko. A year ago, the Golden Eagles and Mustangs played in the rain for the Div. III title, with Del Oro winning, 21-0. “They have a lot of players back from last year,” said Taylor. “We know that we’re in for a very tough game.” ~ Staff report