OAKDALE – it wasn’t the slow and steady plod that Oakdale is famous for that killed Sierra High at The Corral on Friday night.
It was “the big play.”
Of the eight touchdowns that The Mustangs scored en route to a 54-14 victory on the opening week of Valley Oak League action, six of them were from distances of more than 25-yards away from the goal line.
And Sierra actually led the game. Twice.
After Oakdale opened with a touchdown, the Timberwolves – who finished last season as VOL co-champions with Central Catholic – answered with a quick score of their own managed to grab the lead by converting the point-after attempt that the Mustangs had failed on.
Another quick Oakdale score was answered in kind, and this time Sierra’s conversion after a failed Mustang conversion run gave them a 14-12 lead.
But that was, to a large extent, the culmination of their success.
“They controlled all faces of the game tonight – running the ball, passing the ball, kicking the ball,” Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison said. “Oakdale got it done tonight and we definitely did not.”
While Oakdale has traditionally been known as a team that runs a variation of the Wing-T and relies on a balanced backfield to get the job done, it was the arm of quarterback Adam Olsen a stable of receivers that proved to be Sierra’s undoing.
Olsen passed for 322 and six touchdowns – including strikes from 80-yards, 71-yards and 51-yards that all helped blow the game wide open and lead to a running clock in the game’s final minutes. Oakdale didn’t eclipse a lead of more than 35 points until just over two minutes were left in the contest.
The Timberwolves (2-2, 0-1 VOL) used a healthy helping of one of the most prolific scorers in the state, Mark Paule Jr. in its offensive game plan. Paule Jr., who finished the season with 45 touchdowns last year, finished with 110 yards on 18 carries and found the end zone once. The other Sierra score came on a Mark Vicente dash where he turned the corner and beat the entire Oakdale defense to the flag.
Sierra will take on intracity rival East Union next week on the road. Oakdale (4-0, 1-0) will travel to Tracy next week to take on Kimball High School, who were beaten 62-0 by the Manteca Buffaloes on Friday night.