It was typical Del Oro tonight against Oakdale at Sacramento State in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III football championship game: Dominating defense combined with yardage-churning offense.
Brandon Monroe rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and Nick O'Sullivan rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries as the second-seeded Golden Eagles (13-1) beat the top-seeded Mustangs, 21-7. The win makes the Golden Eagles a strong candidate to play in the CIF D-II State Bowl Game Dec. 17.
Last season, Del Oro defeated Oakdale 21-0 in the very same D-III final in what was a turnaround season for a Golden Eagles team that started 2-4 before winning their last eight.
This year, Del Oro has been one of the state's top teams from the start.
Other than an overtime loss to unbeaten Southern California power Westlake, the Golden Eagles have defeated all comers in landing their eighth section football title.
Del Oro finished with 302 total yards on 57 plays behind its powerful and experienced line of Zach Heath, Kevin Love, Logan Lamb, Ashwin Cardenas, Dalton Hudec and tight end Alex Bertrando.
The defense was almost as dominant.
The Golden Eagles limited Oakdale, averaging nearly 49 points entering the game, to 184 total yards. O'Sullivan and Russell Smith also had fourth-quarter interceptions, and Hudec had a sack and two tackles for losses.
In a quickly played first half, Del Oro scored when O'Sullivan went untouched down the right sideline 25 yards with 3:49 to play in the second quarter. It capped an 11-play, 86-yard drive from an Oakdale punt.
Del Oro extended its lead to 21-0 on third-quarter touchdown runs of 29 and 26 yards by Monroe.
Oakdale scored on Marcus Hernandez' five-yard run with 10:36 to play in the fourth quarter, then recovered an onside kick. But Smith picked off Spencer Thomas' pass, intended for Justin Martin, in the end zone.
Oakdale missed a 46-yard field goal just before halftime and also had a 34-yard touchdown pass called back early in the second quarter on a blocking-below-the-waist penalty.