The awards continue to pour in for the Oakdale High School football program.
Fresh off the school’s first state championship, coach Trent Merzon has been named Cal-Hi Sports’ Medium Schools State Coach of the Year.
In his 17th season, Merzon led the Mustangs to new heights. Oakdale clinched a share of the Valley Oak League title with a victory over Central Catholic on the final Friday night of the regular season and never lost again.
The Mustangs won seven consecutive games to close the season, including a 47-0 victory over Bishop’s School of La Jolla in the CIF Division III-A State Bowl.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Modesto Bee
Oakdale finished 14-2, with its only losses to Sonora in the Mustangs’ season opener and Manteca, a Division IV section champion and Northern California finalist.
Along the way, Merzon was uniquely tested by a team loaded with juniors and unproven talent at the skill positions.
After a rocky start – a 27-13 loss at Sonora – Merzon shifted personnel and put his best athletes on the field, even if that meant playing them both ways. It resulted in a prolific rush attack and ball-hawking defense.
Running back Will Semone rushed for a Stanislaus District-record 2,851 yards despite missing nearly two games early in the season.
Linebackers Cullen Bearden, Jace Krick and Josh Jacobson returned interceptions for touchdowns in the postseason, and the defense allowed no points over the final five quarters.
Merzon, who is 176-43 for his career, is the second Valley Oak League coach to be named Medium Schools Coach of the Year, joining Eric Reis of Manteca (2006). Central Catholic’s Roger Canepa was the Small Schools Coach of the Year in 2015.
Waterford’s Silva a steal – Waterford junior guard Alyssa Silva ranks among the best defenders in the nation, according to statistics submitted to MaxPreps.
Silva ranks 10th in the nation with 8.8 steals per game and seventh with 123 total.
Silva was an All-District Small-School first-team selection last season when she averaged 9.6 points, 6.9 steals and 6.5 rebounds and led the Wildcats to the school’s first postseason berth.
This season, Silva has raised her play. Through 14 games, she’s averaging 17.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists to go along with her thievery on defense.
Local football offers – East Union quarterback Jack Weaver has received an offer from College of Idaho.
Former East Union and Modesto Junior College quarterback Teejay Gordon starred for the Coyotes in 2014 and 2015. Now a member of the Dodge City Law of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League, Gordon threw for 4,100 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Weaver was a three-year starter for East Union coach Willie Herrera, and this fall, he guided the program to its first postseason appearance since Gordon’s senior year in 2010.
▪ Downey wide receiver Calvin Grover has picked up an offer from Sacramento State.
Grover had 1,066 yards and 11 touchdowns on 76 catches, earning the Modesto Metro Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year award and a place on the All-District first team.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior is the second wide receiver from the area to receive an offer from Hornets coach Jody Sears, but Central Catholic all-around talent DaRon Bland projects as a defensive back.
Girls soccer heats up in winter – The Stanislaus District has eight of the top 25 girls soccer teams in MaxPreps’ latest Sac-Joaquin Section rankings.
Sierra is the highest-rated team at No. 4. Led by sophomore striker Jadyn Shinn, a Notre Dame verbal commit, the Timberwolves are 11-1 and 2-0 in Valley Oak League play.
Shinn has 20 goals and 11 assists for 51 points, the 10th-best total in the state.
Golden Valley (9-1-1) is No. 7, followed by No. 9 Enochs (7-1-1).
Three more are in the top 15: No. 11 Turlock (5-0-1), No. 12 Central Catholic (6-2-1), No. 14 Merced (9-1-2) and No. 15 Central Valley (8-1).
Manteca (7-2-1), the reigning VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion, is No. 23. Sierra, Central Catholic and Manteca are tied atop the VOL at 2-0.
The rankings could shift dramatically next week. Central Catholic will host Sierra on Thursday, and Turlock will host Central California Conference foe Golden Valley on Friday.