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Spread offense nothing new to Manteca

Buffs preparing for rival Sierra’s explosive attack

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Spread offense nothing new to Manteca

Manteca quarterback Ryan Fox prepares for contact with a defender in last year’s rivalry showdown at Sierra.

HIME ROMERO/Bulletin File Photo

POSTED October 4, 2012 1:13 a.m.

Manteca High’s defense has already lined up against four different spread offenses.

The fifth may be the most challenging, yet one the Buffaloes are most familiar with.

Crosstown rival Sierra (1-1 Valley Oak League, 4-1 overall) visits Guss Schmiedt Field this Friday coming off its most emphatic victory of the season — a 63-7 homecoming shellacking of East Union. The Timberwolves rushed for 310 yards and had two quarterbacks combine for 245 on 15-of-17 passing.

Manteca (2-0, 3-2) has had mixed results against the spread so far.

The Buffaloes fared well in 34-6 wins over Edison and Weston Ranch but gave up over 400 passing yards to still-undefeated Stagg in a heartbreaking 51-47 loss. Then in their VOL opener against Kimball, Jaguar QB Zack Johnson threw for 177 yards and two scores while running for 201 yards and a touchdown. Manteca never trailed and won, 42-25

The difference between Sierra’s spread attack and all others Manteca has faced is Anthony Cota. The physical running back, who was out with a broken forearm in last year’s 28-7 loss to Manteca, provides some punch to balance out the offense. According to, Cota is the state’s 10th leading scorer with 102 points (17 touchdowns, 16 rushing) and has rumbled for 658 yards.

Sierra’s quarterback tandem of Guillermo Nunez and Jake Pruitt performed masterfully last week. Pruitt, in his first start of the season, completed 13 of 15 passes for 192 yards and a TD while also rushing four times for 80 yards. Nunez ran for 101 yards and two TDs while completing both of his passes for 53 yards and a score.

Sierra can have up to six receivers haul in a catch. Dakota Conners leads the way with 15 receptions, 202 yards and three touchdowns. Cota is also a threat in the passing game.

Manteca’s strength is in its power running game spearheaded by a big and physical line. Leading rusher Eddie Smith (750 yards, 13 touchdowns) is also Manteca’s top tackler from his inside linebacker position.  Sierra struggled with power runners in its 32-26 win over Tracy and 49-7 loss to Oakdale.

The Buffaloes also have two talented signal callers. Senior Ryan Fox (62% completion rate, 363 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT) is the usual starter and is capable of hurting defenses with his ability to run (240 yards, 3 TDs). Strong-armed junior Joe Menzel (64%, 226 yards, INT) is already proven; he set single-season school records as a sophomore at East Union last year and has been effective in limited action.

T.J. Galdos (18 receptions, 271 yards, 4 TDs) and tight end Matt Kuhnlenz (6-93-1) are Manteca’s most productive receivers so far.

Manteca leads the all-time series 12-5 and won nine of the last 11 meetings.

Weston Ranch at East Union

The Cougars (0-2, 2-3) have a chance to win their next two games and stay in the hunt for a postseason berth.

Coach Mike Hale felt his team had much to build on from last week’s 34-6 loss at Manteca. Weston Ranch’s offense showed some positive signs in the defeat, twice reaching the red zone before turning it over. The defense has been solid all season.

East Union (1-1, 1-4) looks to recover from a 63-7 loss against crosstown foe Sierra. The Lancers have had a brutal schedule so far, and things don’t get easier after this week with a road game against Oakdale around the corner.

Hughson at Ripon

Ripon (2-0 Trans-Valley League, 6-0 overall) is building off its stunning 52-0 trouncing of Modesto Christian. The win itself wasn’t so shocking, but the matter in which it the beatdown was administered was.

The Indians now have the target on their backs as Hughson takes aim for Friday’s battle.  Hughson (0-1, 3-2) looks to break a two-game losing streak to top small-school squads. On Sept. 21 the Huskies were edged out 35-34 by undefeated Summerville, and last week they gave defending TVL champ Escalon a scare in a 28-18 loss. Against Escalon, Hughson was down 14-12 heading into the fourth quarter.

Running back Tanner Duron hasn’t been stopped yet but faces a stiff Ripon defense. He is coming off back-to-back 200-yard performances and has 804 yards (12.4 per carry) and 14 touchdowns.

Ripon Christian at Turlock Christian

The Knights (2-0, 4-1) of RC continue their march toward a possible Southern League title at Hilmar High, where Turlock Christian (0-2, 2-3) hosts its games.

Ripon Christian has a good shot at stretching its win streak to four. Turlock Christian’s 56-8 Week 5 loss to Mariposa is telling, as RC beat Mariposa handily 35-14 in the league opener.

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