By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
A 100th TO REMEMBER: Buffs stumble early, stampede past Oakdale
Trabron Russell scores record 7 rushing TDs
Bulletin football 2019
Trabron Russell reaches for the end zone to score one of his seven touchdowns for Manteca as Oakdale defender Gage McFee (11) tries to bring him down. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler

OAKDALE — It was the Trabron Russell Show Friday night at The Corral.
With two touchdowns already in the bag and Manteca trailing Oakdale by a score at the half, Russell had a talk with his lead blocker that would turn out to be prescient.
Russell would add five more rushing touchdowns to set a single-game program record in the Buffaloes’ shocking 55-37 rout of the Mustangs. Manteca (1-1, 4-2 overall) trailed the anticipated Valley Oak League match-up 20-0 early in the second quarter.
“Angel (Garay, Manteca fullback) came up to me at halftime and told me, ‘Nobody is going to touch you,’” Russell said. “The blocking was there, and I just had to find the lane and that’s what I did.
“This is something that you dream about in a game this big — seven touchdowns, all in one game? This just shows that when you leave it all in the hands of God, anything can happen.”
While Manteca struggled to find any offensive traction early on in the contest, punting on its first possession and botching a punt on its second to give Oakdale prime field position to score the game’s first touchdown on 7-yard counter run, the one constant began to emerge as Russell slowly started to put together chunks of yardage.
Nine yards here, 4 yards there.
With big-play ability — Russell would break a 74-yard scamper in the second quarter that put Manteca on the board and jump-started the offense —  it was a matter of time, and touches, before the workhorse back found his stride, pulling piles of Mustang players for 2, 3 and 4 additional yards one every carry.
The result was exactly what Manteca head coach Mark Varnum was hoping for but came in a way that he didn’t expect in this 100th all-time meeting between the longtime rivals. Oakdale remains in the lead, 52-44-4.
“To come to The Corral and play a game like that, we just never quit,” Varnum said. “We told him (Russell) that we were going to go to him — to ride the horse — and we just kept feeding him.
“We just kept giving him the ball, and he did what he did, and I’m so proud of him and the boys up front that made it all happen tonight.”
Oakdale (2-1, 4-3) traded touchdowns with Manteca during the second half in a back-and-forth affair that was not typical of the smashmouth, grinding style of the VOL, which caught both coaching staffs off guard since it has historically been the defense that have made these rivalry showdowns nail-biters.
But Manteca made the stops when it mattered most, specifically Oakdale’s opening drive of the second half which allowed for Russell to grind his way to a game-tying touchdown and erase the 20-point deficit that seemed at one point insurmountable.
“I think it’s a testament to how hard they worked tonight, and how they were able to make those things happen,” Varnum said. “You give coach (defensive coordinator Rick) James two weeks to plan for a game and he’s going to put something together for you.
“As a defense, I don’t think Coach James is going to be happy with the number, but he’s going to be happy with the result. They kept grinding, made huge plays, and made the stops when we needed them and that was critical.”
Russell finished the game with 240 yards on 19 carries and seven touchdowns, distancing himself from the record of five that he tied last year. Alex Laurel, Eddie Smith and Gino Campiotti shared the record.
Containing the shifty and equally bruising back proved to be difficult for Oakdale, but head coach Trent Merzon said he was proud of his guys for bringing what they did – even if it didn’t unfold the way that anybody expected it to.
“It was a weird game — I’m going to watch the film to figure out exactly what this was all about,” Merzon said. “They stayed in it, they showed up tonight and they stayed in it and you can’t let a team like that stay in a game this long.
“I’m proud of the effort that our guys put into the game tonight, they balled out, and I think if you ask those guys over there they’ll tell you that we hit them as hard as anybody has this season. They made mistakes tonight, and we made mistakes tonight — there were just a lot of mistakes at the wrong times.”

Manteca 0   13     14    28 — 55
Oakdale 13     7      7     10 — 37

First quarter
O—Dom McDonald 7 run (McDonald kick), 7:25.
O—Rylan Kerr 18 pass from Jackson Holt (McDonald kick), 4:24.

Second quarter
O—Kerr 21 run (McDonald kick), 10:31. 
M—Trabron Russell 74 run (Kevin Thornburg kick), 9:27.
M—Russell 5 run (Thornburg kick failed), 7:10.

Third quarter
M—Russell 14 run (Thornburg kick), 10:05.
O—Leo Ayala 16 run (McDonald kick), 5:29. 
M—Russell 9 run (Thornburg kick), 5:13.

Fourth quarter
O—McDonald 4 run (McDonald kick), 11:57.
M—Russell 1 run (Russell conversion run good), 10:29.
O—McDonald 37 field goal, 8:50.
M—Russell 7 run (conversion run failed), 6:10.
M—Russell 43 run (conversion pass good), 4:27.
M—Nicolas Evans 30 fumble return (conversion pass failed), 3:58.