MANTECA -- Oakdale High was a team looking for an identity Friday and offensive tackle Marco Camacho helped the Mustangs find it.
"Watching film of our early games, we weren't hitting hard and there wasn't a lot of passion," the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder said. "Now that we're in league, we can't afford to play that same way."
Oakdale put its stamp on the game with two scoring drives -- one took 44 seconds, the other 10 minutes.
Those two touchdowns led the 10th-ranked Mustangs past No. 13 Sierra 33-15 in a Valley Oak League opener.
Both came in 1-2, and both needed this league opener if they were to remain optimistic about a playoff berth.
"You can tell them about the history of Oakdale football, and the program they are coming into, but they've got to figure it out for themselves," said Oakdale coach Trent Merzon, whose team tied Sierra for the VOL title a year ago. "The drive in the third quarter, that says a lot about where this team is."
Oakdale, up 17-7, received the second-half kickoff and didn't give up the ball until fullback A.C. Brown ran into the end zone from the 3 with 1:46 left on the clock.
Its Wing-T chugged downfield, picking up 3 yards here and 5 yards there. It wasn't fancy, but it was what Camacho wanted.
"If you're on defense, it's frustrating to see an offense picking up yards on every play," said Camacho, whose blocking helped Oakdale run 53 times for 285 yards.
"We started pushing them back on every play. Once we get that momentum going, it's a lot of fun being a lineman."
Junior Marcus Hernandez (18 carries, 115 yards), sophomore Marcus Northcutt (11 touches, 68 yards, two TDs) and Brown (nine carries, 62 yards, two TDs) found gaps in the defense and fought through tackles when defenders arrived.
"We played a lot like this versus Granite Bay," said Camacho, referring to a 31-28 loss to the highly touted team in Week 3. "We can grind it out if we need to."
Camacho and Tyler Daley (6-0, 240) anchored the lines, with Jason Peterson (5-11, 205) and Justin Armstrong (6-2, 220) at the guards and Carlos Deleon (6-0, 235) at center. They also gave sophomore quarterback Spencer Thomas plenty of time to look for his receivers.
That was crucial right before halftime. Oakdale took over on its 20 with 1:01 to play and Thomas hit Vince Thompson for a 43-yarder.
A few plays later, Thomas found Northcutt behind the defense on the left side. The pass hit Northcutt in stride for a 17-7 halftime lead.
Sierra was hurt by four passes Oakdale intercepted. Bastian Jimenez and Thompson had picks in the end zone in the first half.