Turlock rolls past Oakdale in first game at new Debely Stadium

September 4, 2010 

TURLOCK -- Kevin Kramer was a very talented shortstop learning to play quarterback a year ago, and his on-the-job training was a painful experience.

"I spent a lot of time with USA Baseball a year ago, and it gave me just two weeks to get ready for football," the Turlock High senior said. "It showed by the way I played ... the interceptions. I had three interceptions last year against Oakdale."

That 50-point loss was but the first during Turlock's 0-10 season -- the first 0-10 season in the program's 90-year history.

Given an extra two weeks to get ready this fall, and a year's experience, Kramer and the Bulldogs are a different team.

Kramer accounted for 248 yards and five touchdowns as seventh-ranked Turlock upset No. 2 Oakdale 39-14 Friday in the Bulldogs' first game on the artificial turf at renovated Joe Debely Stadium.

"I owed it to everyone to make sure I was ready this season, so I pulled back on baseball a bit and got two more weeks of practice this season," Kramer said.

The extra work was apparent, as Kramer had a hand in three big plays that had inexperienced Oakdale (1-1) reeling:

He caught a 60-yard TD pass from halfback Ricky Fuentes -- who faked a sweep before pulling up and firing a long pass across the field -- for a 14-0 lead.

On third-and-2 early in the third quarter, Kramer dodged a couple of defenders in the pocket and threw a rocket down the middle to Tyler Cook for a 42-yard score to give Turlock a 26-7 lead.

On third-and-8, just minutes later, Oakdale appeared to trap Kramer in the backfield. He sliced between two defenders, though, and outran the rest of the Mustangs' defense for a 64-yard TD run.

"It's a good offense, and better if you have a quarterback who is mobile," said Kramer, who has a verbal commitment to play baseball at UCLA. "It's quite different than last year. We're 2-0 and we're on our game."

Oakdale couldn't match that efficiency.

Its five sophomore starters include quarterback Spencer Thomas. He was 0-for-6 and and the interception he threw in the second half eventually led to Cook's TD.

The Mustangs repeatedly hurt themselves with penalties (nine for 72 yards) and were unable to get their sweep going.

Three plays -- a 57-yard TD run by fullback A.C. Brown and runs of 64 and 37 yards by sophomore Marcus Northcutt -- accounted for 158 of their 245 yards.

Brown showed his speed on the long run, his second TD, running away from defenders as he dashed down the left side to make it 26-14 with 5:38 left in the third quarter.

That was the last such play Turlock's defense would surrender, though, as the unit continued its fine play this season after giving up 45 points a game just one year ago.

It helps that the offense is not only controlling the ball with a potent running game, but also eliminating the turnovers that proved to be so costly last season.

"We've got three who are good with the ball and the defense never knows which of use will get it," said Fuentes (13 carries, 96 yards, TD). "We're all good once that ball is put into our hands. Kevin, though, he's the guy who makes this offense work so well."

The third wheel is Brandon Esquivel, the change-of-pace runner who had five carries for 45 yards and an 18-yard catch. He helped Turlock total 426 yards offense, including 298 rushing yards on 47 carries.

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