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Manteca now hitting on all cylinders

Buffs pitch second straight shutout in VOL opener

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Manteca now hitting on all cylinders

Manteca High running back Marquis Miller scored three TDs while rushing for 96 yards against Weston Ranch.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED October 3, 2009 2:40 a.m.
WESTON RANCH – As a team, the Buffaloes are a work in progress.

Unfortunately, that turned out to be bad news for Weston Ranch High. On Friday, the Cougars were blanked by visiting Manteca in the Valley Oak League opener, 44-0.

During the past eight quarters, the Buffaloes have outscored opponents 99-0 while racking up back-to-back shutout victories.

Eric Reis came away pleased with his team’s effort.

“We played four good quarters of football,” the Manteca coach said.

Weston Ranch’s game plan was to limit the Buffaloes from making big plays. But the task was tough to execute as Manteca took the opening kickoff to its 43, with Marquis Miller capping the seven-play drive with a 28-yard scoring burst.

It was the first of three touchdowns for the Buffalo running back.

Down 10-0 in the second quarter – Manteca tacked on three more on Bradley Hatfield’s 20-yard field goal – the Cougars had the Buffaloes pinned down on their 10 thanks to a punt by Nate Moises.

But with just one stroke, Manteca’s offensive line sprung Robert Ladiges loose on a 90-yard touchdown run.

Suddenly, Weston Ranch was down 17-0.

The Buffaloes relied on their defense to set up the next score.

Linebacker Dewey Ueker, who earlier broke up a passing play and also came up with an interception, recovered a fumble at the Cougar 10. The turnover led to quarterback Matt Barber connecting with Hatfield on a 12-yard scoring strike shortly before half.

“We showed that we could compete early on,” said Weston Ranch coach Mike Hale. “But we were hurt by mistakes and big plays.”

Manteca continued to build on its first-half momentum, scoring twice in the third quarter. Miller was the benefactor both times, scoring on runs of 5 and 2 yards.

On defense, the Buffaloes limited Weston Ranch to 69 yards on the ground and 48 yards in passing.

The Cougars had a chance to score late in the second half but missed a field goal try.

Offensively, Deon Eley led Weston Ranch with 49 total yards.

“This is the first league game,” Hale said. “We can’t afford to dwell on this loss.”

His task now is to look for the best fit for his team while working with a depleted roster.

“We’re going to have to find a way to get the job done,” Hale added.

Weston Ranch (0-1, 1-3) will take on East Union at next week’s homecoming game.

Manteca (1-0, 4-1), meanwhile, can now focus its attention to avenging last year’s loss to cross-town rival Sierra.
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