The Kimball High football team established itself at the top of the Valley Oak League standings on Friday, defeating the Oakdale Mustangs 63-56 in Kimball High’s homecoming game.
Friday’s showdown at Don Nicholson Stadium saw two teams determined to take advantage of their opportunities. By the end of the second half both teams managed to come through on crucial plays until, in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, the Jaguars denied Oakdale’s last chance to score a winning touchdown when Kimball senior Mason Rivera grabbed an interception in the end zone to finish the game.
“I saw the quarterback. He was scrambling, rolling out,” Rivera said. “They were going deep for a Hail Mary last-second play. We just put our guys in the end zone and my friend Willie (Clifton), the corner, he tipped it up to me and I was able to make the play on it. To end the game like that is a sweet way to win. Feels great on homecoming.”
The win puts the Jaguars (5-0, 2-0 VOL) at the top of the VOL. Oakdale (4-1, 1-1 VOL) is just the first traditional VOL powerhouse team that Kimball will have to get past.
Oakdale shared the league title with Central Catholic and Manteca in 2019. Central Catholic is 4-1 so far this year, its only loss to Bellarmine Prep of San Jose in pre-league play, and Manteca is also 5-0. Kimball faces Central Catholic on Oct. 8 following a bye week, and then Manteca on Oct. 22. Both games will be on the road for the Jaguars.
On Friday the only thing on senior quarterback Nicholas Coronado’s mind was getting the win against Oakdale.
“We knew deep down we were going to win this game. We knew coming into this,” he said. “We made some mistakes tonight, a lot of them, but I can’t say anything negative right now because we got the win, so I’m pretty happy right now.”
“I give all the props to my linemen,” he added. “They kept the blitz in front of them and just did their thing. I had time back there.”
Coronado broke the 500-yard passing mark for the second time this season, throwing the ball for 508 yards on 33 of 46 passes. He connected with senior Willie Clifton for 182 yards on 12 receptions and with Travis Marieiro for 189 yards on six passes.
Kimball opened with a 13-play, 63-yard drive with Coronado running the ball in from the 3-yard line for the touchdown and senior Jordan Claire making the point-after kick. Oakdale answered with 20-yard touchdown run for senior Yahir Ayala late in the first quarter on the first play after the Mustangs recovered a Kimball fumble.
The Jaguars scored at the start of the second quarter on a 5-yard pass from Coronado to senior Dylan Anderson. Marieiro recovered the short kick to put the ball back in Kimball’s hands, and over six plays the Jaguars drove 35 yards and scored on a 19-yard pass from Coronado to Anderson to make it a 19-6 game at the half.
Oakdale covered only 97 yards of offense in the first half, compared to 156 yards for Kimball. In the second half both the Jaguars and the Mustangs scored on each one of their possessions – six touchdowns in the third quarter and seven in the fourth -- with the exceptions of Kimball losing the ball on a fumble early in the third quarter and Oakdale’s final possession, which ended on Rivera’s interception.
The Mustangs ended up covering 423 total yards of offense Friday, including 333 yards rushing. Kimball totaled 710 yards of offense Friday. In addition to Coronado’s 508 passing yards, senior Zachary Lychak ran the ball 12 times for 115 yards, Coronado ran for 54 yards on 12 carries, and junior Sebastian Tate ran the ball eight times for 33 yards.
Even with the lead and Kimball’s early defensive success, the Jaguars knew that the real battle was going to be in the second half.
“I just knew I had to step up big time and get out of my head from the first quarter and the first half. I just applied everything from my coaches and my teammates helping me out, and I just had to do what I do,” Marieiro said. “They were down on us and we had to prove ourselves and show what we could do tonight.”
Clifton added that the Jaguars played with confidence that came from knowing what to expect from Oakdale.
“We just came prepared. We came in knowing we were going to win. We wanted to whup them,” he said. “We knew we had to come out here and perform each time we stepped on the field. Each drive we needed to score and that’s just what we did.”
Oakdale got the ball to open the second half, and Ayala scored on an 8-yard run on the Mustangs first possession of the third quarter. Kimball lost the ball on a fumble five plays after the Jaguars got the ball back, and Oakdale junior Rocky Richardson picked it up and ran it back 30 yards to the Kimball 9-yard line. Ayala ran it in from there to put Oakdale up 20-19. After that the Jaguars and Mustangs traded the lead back and forth with each possession, starting with a pass up the middle from Coronado to Marieiro on the first play after the kickoff, with Marieiro bringing it up the middle 84 yards for the score.
Ayala scored again for the Mustangs on an 8-yard run and Kimball answered with Lychak’s 52-yard touchdown run up the middle. Oakdale junior Jace Rau scored on a 7-yard run. Oakdale senior Kevin Camilen made four of four point-after kicks in the third quarter, and the Jaguars had two failed 2-point conversion attempts.
Kimball opened the fourth quarter on an eight-play 65-yard drive, finishing with Coronado’s 36-yard pass to Marieiro, surrounded by heavy Oakdale coverage, in the end zone. Coronado passed to Rivera for the 2-point conversion. Oakdale’s Ayala scored next on a 10-yard run and Camilen made the kick. Coronado then connected with Rivera, who side-stepped past Oakdale’s defenders for a 25-yard touchdown, and Coronado passed to Marieiro for the 2-point conversion.
Oakdale’s next touchdown was a 43-yard run for Camilen, which tied the game up at 47-47, and Camilen’s kick put the Mustangs up 48-47. The Jaguars then covered 71 yards in four plays, including a 27-yard touchdown pass from Coronado to Clifton, followed by a pass to Rivera for the conversion. Oakdale needed just three plays to cover 62 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jackson Holt to Camilen and a 2-point conversion run for Ayala to make it a 1-point game again, with Oakdale up 56-55.
The Jaguars had 2:24 left on the clock to score again. After a penalty they were at fourth-and-9 on their own 38-yard line. That’s when Coronado connected with Clifton for a 32-yard pass to get the Jaguars to the Oakdale 30-yard line, and on the next play Coronado hit Marieiro in the end zone. A 2-point conversion pass to senior Eric Gordon made it a 63-56 game.
The Mustangs had 1:06 to cover 81 yards. Twice they converted on fourth down, with Holt spiking the ball to stop the clock both times. That got them to Kimball 37-yard line with 5 seconds left. The final play of the game was Holt’s pass to the right side of the end zone, where Rivera grabbed the interception to end the game.
Oakdale won the junior varsity game 42-16.
Tracy 38, Laguna Creek 7
The Bulldogs (3-2) wasted no time in taking control of their home game against Laguna Creek (2-3) of Elk Grove Friday at Wayne Schneider Stadium, finishing with a 38-7 win.
The Bulldogs scored on their first two possessions, included a 2-yard touchdown run for senior Austin Ho-Sy and a 5-yard touchdown run for senior Dwayne Thomas. Thomas scored again on a 77-yard run at the end of the first quarter to put Tracy up 21-0. Tracy scored on senior Kyle Wright’s 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and Thomas ran in another touchdown from the 2-yard line to make it a 31-0 game.
Ho-Sy ran in a touchdown from the 5-yard line in the third quarter to put Tracy up 38-0. Laguna Creek scored on a 28-yard pass at the start of the fourth quarter to make it a 38-0 game.
The Bulldogs totaled 319 yards of offense, including 282 yards rushing with Thomas leading the way with119 yards on six carries, and Ho-Sy ran the ball 11 times for 82 yards. Junior quarterback Cameron Ross-Escobar completed three of seven passes for 37 yards and ran the ball 10 times for 42 yards. Wright made all five of his point-after kicks. Tracy’s defense held Laguna Creek to 117 yards of offense.
Millennium 20, Encina Prep 14
The Falcons (3-2) and Encina Prep (0-2) of Sacramento both scored in the first quarter and held a 6-6 tie into the third quarter, when Millennium scored two touchdowns to take a 20-6 lead. Encina Prep scored on a touchdown and conversion in the fourth quarter to cut the Falcons’ lead to 20-14 at the end.
Millennium senior quarterback Shalin Ratna passed for 94 yards on five of 11 passes, including a 33-yard touchdown pass to senior Kyle Fisher. The Falcons ran the ball for 133 yards, including 68 yards on 10 carries for senior Nate Washington and 42 yards on four carries for Ratna. Junior Ethan Dargin ran the ball four times for 21 yards, including a touchdown run, and he ran in a 2-point conversion, and junior Christian Lavagetto also ran in a touchdown.
Valley Christian 12, Delta Charter 7
The Delta Charter Dragons (0-4) hosted Valley Christian of Roseville on Saturday, with Valley Christian scoring in the second and third quarter and the Dragons scoring their lone touchdown in the third.
Also on Friday, Mountain House High got its first win of the season 26-7, at Johansen High in Modesto.