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Trojans can't stop Mustangs in 48-20 loss

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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At halftime with the game tied at 14, it looked as though Oak Ridge and Monterey Trail were two evenly matched teams and the game would be decided late in the fourth quarter.

Wrong.

Monterey Trail scored on five straight possessions, while the Oak Ridge offense only managed one more touchdown, as the Mustangs defeated the Trojans, 48-20. With the win, the Mustangs (12-0) will face Folsom (11-1) at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Sacramento State for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game.

The  Mustangs ran the ball all night long and while Oak Ridge defenders many times found themselves in positions to make tackles, failed to do so on many occasions, as the Mustangs scored six touchdowns on the ground. Jehiel Budgett scored four touchdowns, while Thaddeus Hills Jr. and quarterback Zach Larrier had the others. Larrier also threw a touchdown pass to Andre Crump.

Budgett had a monster game, as he ran it both inside and out with his speed causing all kinds of trouble for the Oak Ridge defense. Viktor Oliver didn’t score, but he did most of his damage running hard between the tackles. It’s rare when the Trojans can’t stop the run, but tonight was one of those nights.

“Monterey Trail is a great team,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “We’ve had trouble against teams with speed this season and Monterey Trail is a very fast team. Our guys knew their assignments defensively, but we knew we couldn’t simulate Monterey Trail’s speed in practice. Their running backs were able to hit the holes before we could get there and are very physical runners. Their speed was the difference.”

On the other side of the ball, Oak Ridge’s offense couldn’t put drives together, as they couldn’t run nor pass the ball consistently. They managed three scores; a 12-yard pass from Matt Jenner to Avant Jacobs, a one-yard run by Jacobs, and a 24-yard pass from Jenner to Tyler Jeppesen.

“Monterey  Trail was physical with our receivers and took away a lot of our short passing game,” Cavaliere said. “They’re a tough bunch and well-disciplined.”

In the end, the Mustangs dominated the Trojans, but at halftime the game was tied. After scoring on the game’s opening drive, moving the ball 80 yards on 17 plays and taking 6 minutes and 59 seconds off the clock, Monterey Trail only scored once more in the half. The Trojans had stopped the Mustangs right before halftime and it looked as though they had their act together.

The third quarter, however, was a disaster. The Trojans gained 13 yards on their first two plays, but a bad snap put them in a bad situation and the drive ended in a fake punt that wasn’t called by the coaching staff. It only took five plays for the Mustangs to score on a run by Hills Jr., and take a 21-14 lead.

The Trojans went three-and-out on their next drive, and this time it only took four plays for the Mustangs to score on a 58-yard TD run by Budgett.

Oak Ridge’s third and final drive of the third quarter ended with another punt, and the Mustangs, now moving the ball at will, capitalized again on a 29-yard run from Budgett to take a 35-14 lead early in the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.