Mustangs’ running back plows through the turf at Levi’s Stadium for six touchdowns as Oakdale handles league rival Manteca 42-21. It was part of a four-game series produced and promoted by the San Francisco 49ers called “Friday Night Lights.”
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It wasn’t the Friday night lights of the Corral at Oakdale High, but for senior fullback Frankie Trent the Saturday afternoon sunshine he felt at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will warm him up until he’s an old man.
Trent scored a whopping six touchdowns to lead Oakdale past Manteca 42-21 in a matchup of Valley Oak League rivals that was moved to the new NFL home of the San Francisco 49ers when Manteca’s scheduled matchup on Aug. 30 against Wilcox of Santa Clara had to be postponed due to turf conditions.
“All week long it never hit me that we were playing here, but when we first walked on the field I got so excited and so pumped up,” Trent said. “After the first snap is when it started to feel a little like a real game.”
With the win, Oakdale improved to 6-0 and will remain among the top four teams in next week’s Division II North bowl game rankings. The Mustangs beat a Manteca team that was No. 8 in the same rankings and lost in last year’s NorCal D2 bowl game to Enterprise of Redding.
Oakdale won’t have much time to celebrate, either. Sierra of Manteca, the next opponent, also is 6-0, has climbed to No. 7 in the D2 North rankings and already has a win over Central Catholic of Modesto.
While at times before the fourth quarter it looked like Oakdale had the capability of blowing out the Buffaloes, big plays kept Manteca (4-2) in it and possibly stealing a win.
After Oakdale scored first on a one-yard plunge by Trent, the Buffaloes tied it up on a 50-yard fumble recovery by senior Luis Reyes. On the play, teammate Dakarai Charles had run 19 yards down the field but then was hit and fumbled. The ball squirted to Charles’ left but Reyes was there to scoop it and ran untouched down the field.
“I just followed the play,” Reyes said. “The ball was there and it was a chance I couldn’t resist.”
Oakdale didn’t let the strange play deter it on its next series. The Mustangs drove 69 yards in eight plays – aided by a 35-yard pass from QB Adam Olsen to Austin Burke – and cashed in on a seven-yard run by Trent.
But Charles and Reyes still had more magic for Manteca. On a third-and-five play from the 33-yard line, Charles scrambled in different directions before launching a pass toward Reyes. He made the catch in stride down the left sideline and raced for a 67-yard score.
The two teams also were tied 21-21 at halftime, but in the second half Oakdale’s defense didn’t give up any more big plays while the Oakdale offense continued to roll down the field.
Early in the fourth quarter with a 28-21 lead, it looked like Manteca still might be able to come back after an interception by Tyler Flores stopped Oakdale from scoring. The Manteca offense, however, was stopped at that point, which led to a short punt.
Trent’s next-to-last touchdown with 6:33 left on a nine-yard run finally gave the Mustangs a two-score lead. He then added a 15-yard touchdown just 1:16 later that was set up when Manteca was stopped on a fourth-down play at the 15-yard line.
“Our line was just doing the same thing over and over,” said Trent, who also finished with 220 yards on 32 carries. “Both guards pulled on a couple of those touchdowns and I wasn’t even touched. We had some troubles early in the year, but everyone was great today.”
Still, the experience of playing on the same field in which the 49ers are now calling home and the same field in which Super Bowl 50 will be played will be forever etched in the memories of Trent and the rest of the players from both schools.
“The whole experience was just great,” Reyes said. “Just unbelievable to see yourself on that screen. It just would have been much better if we won.”