Oakdale was yards away from defeating the defending CIF State Division I-AA Champions Friday night but Liberty stopped them near the goal-line and the Mustangs fell 19-14.
Trailing late in the game, the Mustangs’ defense forced a turnover and Oakdale moved the ball to the Lions’ 5-yard line with under a minute left.
Despite the loss, Oakdale football coach Trent Merzon was proud of his team’s effort.
“They were super physical and came up short.,” Merzon said.
Early on, the game was scoreless until Oakdale senior running back Leo Ayala scored on a 8-yard touchdown run with 11 minutes remaining in the half. After Liberty tied the game at 7, Mustangs senior running back Cameron Snow would score on a run and Oakdale would lead 14-7 at half.
Lions quarterback Jay Butterfield, who has committed to Oregon, threw two touchdowns in the second half, including a 58-yard screen pass to senior running back Darrion Bartley with a little over two minutes left in the third in what would be the game-deciding score.
“Watching us play in the first quarter, I knew we were a good football team,” Merzon said. “We don’t lack confidence and now I think we are a really good team.”
Oakdale is at Aptos next week.