When the Manteca and Oakdale football teams get together, it seems like it always comes down to defense. And although Lyon Colon shredded the Mustangs defense for four touchdowns and more than 300 yards Friday night at Guss Schmiedt Field, it still came down to defense.
Oakdale took possession at its own 20-yard line inside of 3 minutes remaining in the game with no timeouts left. Following three incomplete passes, Dominic Alvarez and Blake Nichelson surrounded Mustangs quarterback Jackson Holt with Alvarez delivering the knockout blow to preserve the Buffaloes’ 26-23 Valley Oak League victory.
“We were flexed out and I saw him fake the play action and not hand the ball off, creeping to the outside,” Alvarez said. “So that’s when I crashed down and wrapped him up and my teammates came in to help.”
“We wanted this game so bad, and when I wrapped him up I knew we had just won the game.”
Alvarez and Nichelson had a big sack on Oakdale’s first drive, which led to the Mustangs (3-1) turning the ball over on downs. Nichelson added three more sacks.
“They were coming at me full speed and sometimes triple-teaming me,” Nichelson said. “But I just fought through it to get the sack. I was just doing my work.”
Manteca (4-0) limited the Mustangs to 49 yards passing.
“Coach (defensive coordinator Rick) James came up with a great game plan and they delivered today,” Buffaloes coach Mark Varnum said. “And it always comes down to that with Oakdale. They’re going to have the ball and we are going to have to come up with the big stop and we came through. We were hitting and we were flying around and we did our job on defense and we have just one more to finish.
“We knew that if we could slow their run down they would have to throw. And if they had to throw that meant we would have two guys coming off the edge and Dom (Alvarez) and Blake (Nichelson) had great games. They are so athletic off that edge — one they are hard for any lineman to block and two if you don’t get rid of that ball quick they are going to come get you and tonight they finished it off for us.”
Colon was doing all he could to help his defense out. With 301 yards on 19 carries and touchdown runs of 22, 25, 69 and 74 yards, he was a force that Oakdale had problems reckoning with.
“I just balled out today,” Colon said. “But I have to give it to the linemen — they were blocking hard. And then I had my fullback (Alijah) Cota blocking for me too.”
A lot of Colon’s yardage came on second-, third- and fourth-effort runs, running into a scrum and squirting out the other side for big yardage.
“We didn’t play great up front tonight,” Varnum said. “But when you have a special athlete like Colon he will take a little and will make a lot out of it.
“He did that tonight multiple times and had his best game as a Buff by far. I am just looking forward to future and things to come with him.”
Colon’s final touchdown was his 69-yard scamper in the fourth quarter, and that was set up when
Cota got 1 tough yard on the previous play for a first down on fourth down.
The marked the 101st battle between these two storied programs with the Mustangs still leading the series, 52-45-4.
“It was a great football game between two great football teams,” Oakdale coach Trent Merzon said. “I thought their kids played great and I thought our kids played great.
“It was a heck of a football game.”
Oakdale 0 10 0 13 — 23
Manteca 7 0 13 6 — 26
M — Lyon Colon 74 run (Khalid Robinson run), 11:43
O — Yahir Ayala 7 run (Kevin Camelin kick), 10:18
O –—Camelin 26 field goal, 0:29
M — Colon 22 run (run fail), 7:29
M — Colon 25 run (kick fail), 4:07
O — Nick Jeffery 11 pass from Jackson Holt (kick fail), 11:46
M — Colon 69 run (run fail), 9:07
O — Jeffery 37 pass from Jackson (Camelin kick), 5:57