STOCKTON — Oakdale pretty much put on a clinic Friday night in its 63-22 Valley Oak League thumping of Weston Ranch, but the Cougars did have a bright spot in the dynamic play of Aaron Vickers.
Vickers got the Cougars (0-1 VOL, 1-3 overall) on the board in the second period with an electrifying 90-yard kickoff return.
“He’s something special to have on our team,” Reyes said of Vickers. “He motivates us and gets us going and it is awesome to have him on our team.
“The kids didn’t stop fighting. And that shows a lot especially for the small team that we have and I am proud of them.”
Vickers finished with 154 yards on nine carries with additional scoring runs of 51 and 70 yards, reversing field multiple times on each of those touchdown scampers.
“I didn’t make those runs by myself,” Vickers said. “We all work as a team on this field. “
The Mustangs (2-0, 4-2) employed a balanced attack with only two players scoring twice on offense — Zeke Saffer on runs of 20 and 31 yards and Donovan Walker on 5- and 22-yard runs. Rylan Kerr (5-yard touchdown run), Peyton Bradford (5-yard scoring pass from Dom McDonald) Leo Ayala (5-yard touchdown run) and Thomas Watson (1-yard scoring plunge) rounded out Oakdale’s offensive scoring.
McDonald — in addition to being 7 for 7 on conversion kicks — started the night off in high gear for Oakdale when he returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.
As bad as things went for Weston Ranch, they could have gone worse — much worse. The Mustangs scored only seven points in the second half and after Oakdale recovered a fumble inside the Cougars 5-yard line with less than three minutes to play, Mustangs coach Trent Merzon took a combination of delay-of-game penalties and downing the ball on the snap to keep from scoring again, turning the ball back over to Weston Ranch with 48 seconds left.
Despite his players’ requests to call a timeout, Reyes decided to let the clock run out.
“We needed this,” Merzon said. “We had kind of a tough non-league where we have been in a little bit of a funk, or we thought we were in a funk playing really good teams. Everything has been a grind.
“I thought our kids played well tonight. We wanted to come out and play well early and we did what we wanted to do. And now we’ve got Manteca next week.”
Next Friday, Oakdale hosts Manteca and Weston Ranch travels to Kimball.
Pacheco 32, Lathrop 18
LOS BANOS — Trailing 26-18 and driving late in the fourth quarter, the Spartans (1-1 Western Athletic Conference, 2-3) stalled at the Panthers 25-yard line and could not mount another attack in the WAC road loss.
“Our young team continues to show a lack of experience in this type of game,” Lathrop coach Joe Pirillo said. “Our young guys are playing hard, but the mental errors are piling up. They have to learn how to understand the flow of the game.
“But they fought all the way through. Our team is growing and gaining valuable experience which we hope will take us to the next level.”
Oakdale 28 28 7 0 — 63
W. Ranch 0 14 8 0 — 22
O—Dom McDonald 75 kickoff return (McDonald kick), 11:44
O—Zeke Saffar 31 run (McDonald kick), 9:17
O—Kerr 5 run (McDonald kick), 6:20
O—Peyton Bradford 5 pass from Jackson Holt (McDonald kick), 3:04
O—Leo Ayala 5 run (McDonald kick), 11:32
O—Saffar 20 run (McDonald kick), 9:00
O—Donovan Walker 5 run (McDonald kick), 8:07
W—Aaron Vickers 90 kickoff return (pass fail), 7:40
O—Thomas Watson 1 run (McDonald kick), 3:20
W—Vickers 51 run (Marcel Phillips run), 2:31
O—Walker 22 run (McDonald kick), 7:21
W—Vickers 70 run (Phillips run), 2:41