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Spartans start strong but can’t keep up with Oakdale

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POSTED October 6, 2012 1:19 a.m.

LATHROP – In what would have been a Lathrop High School Homecoming miracle, the Spartans did their best to pull off the unthinkable but couldn’t come close in a 42-0 Valley Oak League loss Friday to the Oakdale Mustangs.

The Mustangs remainsundefeated thus far in VOL play, defusing an intense Lathrop effort that had them in a scoreless first quarter tie. Oakdale would respond by blocking a Lathrop field goal, scoring 28 unanswered and pulling away for good with a backup quarterback Adam Olsen led scoring drive to open the third.

“I thought they came out and did a good job,” Oakdale head coach Trent Merzon said. “They came out early and they played well. They played hard; they were prepared well and they had the ball the whole first quarter.”

Lathrop’s efforts through the first quarter couldn’t sustain through two. Once Oakdale pushed across its first points with a 10-play, 67 yard drive, urgency immediately set in on the Spartans. Lathrop got a first down on a Preston Rizo completion to Chuckie Garcia, but his next pass would be tipped into the hands of Dewayne Finney and a jazzy 53-yard interception return for six would begin the downward spiral.

“Early on I was thinking that I really wish we would have gotten that three,” Lathrop head coach Jesse Rodriguez said of a first quarter opportunity. “Just to get some points on the board. It would have made a big difference I think on our whole psyche.

“But the kids played really hard that first quarter, we just didn’t sustain it.”

Oakdale would get another interception on the ensuing drive and within two minutes Lathrop was down three scores. Marcus Northcutt’s second score of the quarter would put Oakdale up 28-0 with 1:27 in the half.

Lathrop (0-3, 0-6) will have a more feasible opportunity at a victory when they meet up with Weston Ranch Cougars who are coming off a 12-7 win over East Union. If the Spartans are able to extend their effort and execution beyond the opening period, leaving Weston Ranch with their first win could be a reality.

“They’re a good team,” Lathrop’s Rizo said. “They work hard and they execute. Early I felt we could definitely compete with them, but we just have to learn to keep our composure and keep fighting.”

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