Learning their identities, unbeatens Grand Lake, Oakdale will find out where they stand

Published 11:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2022

The 2022 high school season has gone well for Grand Lake and Oakdale, as both are undefeated.

With district play nearing, each wants to keep the momentum rolling and find out what they are made of.

“I still can’t put my finger on this team,” Oakdale head coach Destin Dieterich said. “I don’t know quite where we stand yet. I am pretty sure we will figure it out (tonight).

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“I think Grand Lake is the same. They are going to find out who they are too this week. It is all about execution, and I think they probably feel the same way. We just have to execute better than they do and not turn the ball over.”

The two will meet at 7 p.m. at Grand Lake High School.

Grand Lake is 3-0 for a fourth consecutive season and ranked No. 21 in the Division IV nonselect power ratings, while Oakdale is fifth.

“I think every year you have to stay healthy, get better and find out who you are,” Grand Lake head coach Jeff Wainwright said. “You get set up for these games that, on paper, you have big games at this point in the season.

“My whole goal as a coach is to not get into a must-win situation in Week 10 to get into the playoffs. Right now, we are focused on moving along week to week and improving on what we are doing. So far so good.

“Yeah, it is a big game for us. Here on out moving into district, it is that time of the year that you need to play good and need to be healthy.”

The game could be a high-scoring ground battle as both teams seldom take to the air and average more than 48 points a game.

Oakdale (2-0) is led by senior running back Cedric Allison. After opening the season with 301 yards and four touchdowns against Oberlin, Allison is up to 492 yards and seven touchdowns on 30 carries, averaging 16.4 yards per carry.

“Oakdale brings a lot to the table,” Wainwright said. “They have a very strong run game. Their running back is real elusive, and the quarterback is effective in the passing game.

“On defense, they run to the ball real well. I think for us there are a lot of things we have to do good to be in the ballgame with them.”

Grand Lake averages 405 rushing yards per game and has three backs who have topped 100 yards in a game this season in Ian Vigo (490 yards, 10 TDs), Brent Hardesty (238 yards, 3 TDs) and Brycen Guillory (248 yards, 3 TDs).

“(It may take) another 12th or 13th man,” Dieterich said. “I don’t know. No one has been able to do it yet. I am hoping that we have a little better idea of what to do.

“A short week doesn’t help to defend that kind of offense and how productive they have been. We are going to give it a shot. We need to have a good day (in practice) to clean up a few things we have seen on film.”