FAIR OAKS – In the first six minutes Friday night, Oakmont High School had bloodied the lip of Del Campo. Two early touchdowns set the tone for what the Vikings sought to accomplish.
Then the juggernaut that is the Cougars’ running game came alive as the Vikings struggled with self-inflicted wounds on both sides of the ball. Del Campo (5-2, 2-0 Capital Valley Conference) ran away to a 52-27 win over Oakmont (2-5, 0-2).
“We knew we had to match their physicality right off the bat and get on them and try and get them a little bit down,” Oakmont coach Tim Moore said. “That’s why we took some chances early.”
Oakmont marched down the field in the opening possession as it assembled a 14-play, 53-yard drive that was capped by a pass from kicker Joey Rosnack to Justin Holmes on a fake field goal. The Vikings, as they have all season, did the unexpected and recovered a pooch kick by Rosnack. Oakmont delivered another blow to the Cougars and took a 14-0 lead on a 49-yard strike from quarterback Taylor Laird to the emerging Isaac Thornton, who has only been eligible for two games this season.
The Cougars answered with a score, but the Vikings went right back to work and easily drove to the Cougars’ 21-yard line. That’s when the wheels on the upset wagon began to fall off, as the Vikings went backward on a false start penalty and then Laird missed on four consecutive passes, including a dropped ball that would have set up first and goal, and the Vikings turned over the ball on downs.
“We’re confident and we think we can do it all game and we basically do do it all game,” said Laird, who finished 13 of 23 for 242 yards and three touchdowns. “We dominate and dominate and dominate, and then we get down here and we can’t finish. It’s just a matter of finishing when you get close to the end zone.”
Oakmont held the Cougars to a field goal on the possession, but after the Vikings stalled on the next series Del Campo found the end zone again to grab its first lead at 16-14 with 3:58 to go in the second quarter after Austin Brown sprinted for a 47-yard touchdown.
The Vikings again failed to show the same offensive firepower on their next possession and were forced to punt. The signals got crossed and Paytn Countryman attempted a fake punt but came up short and gave the ball back to Del Campo at the Cougars’ 38-yard line with 50 seconds left in the first half. Del Campo scored two plays later as part of 31 unanswered points.
“When you play teams like Del Campo and Christian Brothers… You can’t hurt yourself,” Moore said. “Two weeks in a row, we’ve kind of hurt ourselves and it resulted in losses.”