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Manteca-Sierra game breathes life into area football

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Marquis Miller and the Manteca Buffaloes were tripped up by Cody Dias (43) and Sierra 7-6 last year. The two will butt heads again this Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED October 8, 2009 1:34 a.m.
Victories over crosstown rival Sierra had been a rarity for Manteca High’s boys basketball team leading up to last year.

So the Buffaloes and their faithful understandably cherished their wildly-entertaining 75-59 win at Sierra’s home court in January after their squad dropped six of their last eight meetings with the Timberwolves.

But Sierra’s “Wolf Pack” had its ace in the hole at the ready. The student body took it as an opportunity to finally stick it to Manteca from the other end of the gym.

You see, “it” happens months before crosstown rivals meet on the hardwood every season. But for some reason, “it” still matters over the winter.

For the first time in a long time, the song was for the Timberwolves to sing.

“Foooootball! Foooootball! Foooootball!”

“It” was a stunning 7-6 victory at Manteca High’s Guss Schmiedt Field that came down to a botched point-after attempt in the fourth quarter.

“It” knocked Manteca, despite its impressive 8-2 overall record, out of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff hunt. “It” led to Sierra’s first-ever legitimate shot at winning a Valley Oak League championship, first-ever postseason trip and first-ever postseason victory.

“It” parlayed into school pride that reached unprecedented heights around the campus that bleeds blue.

And “it” still stings where the Buffaloes roam.

“They had the right to do it, they won the game,” said Manteca linebacker Adam DeCosta, who attended the basketball game and heard the chant. “It’s a part of bragging rights.

“We’ve been thinking about that game since the day it happened. This week in practice we’re doing everything we can to make sure it turns out differently.”

At last, citizens of Manteca, we have us a rivalry. More specifically, a football rivalry.

Manteca High’s Yankees have their Red Sox.

Surely, we’ve had our share of fun rivalries involving the three schools in town in other sports over the years.

There’s the Manteca-Sierra boys basketball rivalry. And there are the heated affairs between East Union and Sierra in baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer and, yes, even golf.

But nothing gets the community buzzing like a good old-fashioned high school football rivalry. To the east of us, Oakdale-Sonora means something every year.

When was the last time we could say the same here in Manteca?

In sports, every team has its foil. Every school has less-than-friendly feelings for another. Around these parts, some don’t even refer to the other schools in town by name, instead referencing them according to colors.

The resentment, both playful and otherwise, is there, but what gives a rivalry life is the competitive nature of the games between two teams, and there hadn’t been much of that on the local gridirons until last year.

Bragging rights in town have been under Manteca’s management since its last loss to Sierra in 2000. The Buffaloes haven’t been beaten by East Union since 1999. Last Friday’s 46-12 win over East Union was Sierra’s sixth straight against the Lancers, and ninth in 10 years.

From 2001-2007, Manteca was king, emperor and czar. That impressive stretch includes three VOL titles, six playoff appearances and three at the section level spanning three different divisions.

Manteca’s beef was with other traditional powerhouses from the league, namely Oakdale and Sonora. But on October 10, 2008 at Guss Schmiedt Field, Sierra joined the Big 3 at the dinner table for its piece.

During the first month of 2010, the song will again be sung loud and clear as always.

“Foooootball! Foooootball! Foooootball!”

Who will be doing the singing in a basketball gym will be determined Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
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