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Hall leads Sierra’s stunner with FGs

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POSTED November 7, 2009 2:32 a.m.
OAKDALE — Sierra came into The Corral battered and bruised and left in even worse shape.

But the Timberwolves had enough left in their legs to celebrate their wildly-entertaining 44-42 upset of previously undefeated Oakdale, and it was the legs of multi-talented Anthony Hall that made the difference.

Hall’s 40-yard field goal, which followed bombs from 50 and 45 out, with 1 minute, 21 seconds remaining was the game-winning score.

He also returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown during a torrid third-quarter flurry in which Sierra (5-1 Valley Oak League, 8-1 overall) scored 17 unanswered points to break away from a 21-all tie at halftime.

Kyle Derby had a chance to win it for Oakdale with 32 seconds left, but his 44-yard field goal settled well short of the goal post.

“I just had to focus, and I had a lot of faith in our line — they’ve done a great job all year of blocking,” Hall said. “I just did the best that I could. If I missed, I missed.”

The loss was Oakdale’s first at The Corral in conference play since 2000, when Sonora won on a last-second Hail Mary pass to claim the title.

It was also Sierra’s first-ever varsity win against Oakdale, which is gunning for its third straight league championship and sixth of the decade.

Sierra can clinch a share of its first VOL championship with a win against visiting Weston Ranch next week. Oakdale and Sonora — both 5-1 in league, 8-1 overall — will meet in the regular-season finale.

“We’re not done yet,” Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison said.

Sierra appeared to be done after a few heart-wrenching moments when key players exited the game with injuries.

Cornerback Aron Manuta and center Tony Ollivier were out going into the contest.

Starting linebacker Cody Dias (leg) and running back Jarrod Daniels (neck) were rushed out of the stadium by paramedics, and Chris Membrano (leg) hobbled toward the sideline early in the fourth quarter and had to watch the rest of the game.

Daniels, however, was in the game long enough to do his usual damage. The workhorse rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns before a helmet-to-helmet collision with 2:50 to go in the third quarter ended his night.
Daniels was responsive after the hit but was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons.

The rest was left up to quarterback Jonathan Davis to keep the offense moving. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown.

“There were times it could have been very easy of them to say ‘quit’ after getting beat up like we did, but they stuck with it and played football,” Harbison said. “They banged us up well. We were filling spots and doing the best we could, and the replacements came in and did a good job.”

Oakdale responded well to Sierra’s third-quarter spurt. Down 38-21, the Mustangs used just four plays to close in with Devin Brooks’ 13-yard touchdown run with 3:19 left.

Tim House later punched in his own 13-yard jaunt with 5:14 remaining in the game, and Derby’s ensuing point-after kick gave the Mustangs their last lead at 42-41.

House, a massive 6-foot-2, 220-pound fullback, bulldozed his way to 137 yards and two touchdowns (one receiving) on 25 carries. Brooks, who was held to just 7 first-half yards, ended up with 91 on 18 attempts.

Oakdale amassed 505 total yards of offense in the defeat, but nearly half of that came from quarterback Robert Stout.

Stout, who threw just two passes — both incompletions — in Oakdale’s thrilling 35-23 win over visiting Manteca last week, was 10-of-17 for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Nate Madsen caught five passes for 144 yards and two scores.

“If someone has seen a better game than that let me know,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “Last week’s game was unbelievable, but tonight’s game was amazing.”
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