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Three teams advancing to NYFL Super Bowl

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Manteca Cowboys varsity running back Kevin Cunningham breaks into the second level of the Modesto Jets' defense during the NYFL Northern Conference championship game at Manteca High Saturday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED November 16, 2010 2:34 a.m.
The Manteca Cowboys will defend their National Youth Football League varsity-level championship after winning the Northern Conference Saturday at Guss Schmiedt Field.

But it didn’t come easy.

Tested for the first time all season, Manteca squeaked out a 20-6 win over the Modesto Jets.

The Jets threatened to strike with the go-ahead touchdown with three minutes remaining and the score tied at 6, but they turned the ball over with a fumble on the Manteca 10-yard line.

Two plays later, Kevin Cunningham shook off several tackles en route to a dramatic 80-yard touchdown run with 1:40 left. Malik Lott pounded in the extra-point conversion.

Riding the momentum, Manteca forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered it. Lott then darted 30 yards for the game’s final touchdown.

Cunningham ended up with 92 rushing yards, with Lott chiming in with 63. Quarterback Chris Hocker ran for 60 and threw for 125 yards, 75 of which came on a touchdown to Donicio Samoy.

The defense, Manteca’s bread and butter all year, was led by LJ Alofaituli’s nine tackles and a fumble recovery. Adrian Bennett (7 tackles), Kashon Andrews (6 tackles, fumble recovery) and Lott (3 tackles, interception) also keyed the defense.

John Robertson, Brody Kasinger and Lott recorded four tackles apiece.

The Cowboys, now 12-0, will face the Central Valley Panthers at East Union this Saturday starting at 8 p.m. for the Super Bowl.

Junior varsity
Cowboys 22, Jets 0
With a balanced attack and stout defensive effort, the Cowboys will make a return trip to the Super Bowl and will square off with the Modesto Raiders starting at 6 p.m. for an attempt at a second straight NYFL championship.

Seuseu Alofaituli (36-yard pass from Joseph Macias), Marcus Panelo (19-yard run) and Anthony Ochoa (22-yard run) each scored a touchdown for the Cowboys. Macias also nailed two conversion kicks while completing six passes for 117 yards.

Alofaituli was especially stellar on the defensive end, as he came up with five quarterback sacks.

Other defensive standouts were: Alejandro Loaiza (7 tackles), Steven Jasper (fumble recovery), Jake Larkin (interception), Baily Simons (interception), Gabriel Francisco (fumble recovery), Jereicho Taamu (6 tackles, sack), Parker Caston (5 tackles, sack), Ochoa (7 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, interception) and Panelo (forced fumble).

Cowboys 13, Jets 6
Presley DeMello accounted for both of Manteca’s touchdowns, carrying it five times for 33 yards while leading the defense with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Logan Harries rushed for 43 yards on nine carries. Zack Taamu contributed seven tackles on defense, and Nicco Cedolini posted six stops to go with a sack.

Manteca will lock up with the Central Valley Panthers at 2 p.m. Saturday at East Union.
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