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T’Wolves defeat Manteca for second straight season

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Manteca quarterback Matt Barber squirts through the Sierra defense during his 63-yard touchdown scamper late in the third quarter.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED October 10, 2009 2:36 a.m.
Just moments before the opening kickoff at Sierra High’s Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium Friday, Manteca’s players took the field after busting through a large banner that read: “We run this town.”

Sierra’s response was a 23-15 victory — its second straight against the Buffaloes after dropping seven in a row. Manteca leads the all-time series, 10-5.

“Our players took notice of that (banner), and they took notice when Manteca’s players stomped our wolf (emblem at midfield) down,” Sierra coach Jeff Harbison said. “That gave them a whole lot of motivation, so we appreciate them going out and stomping on our wolf.

“That gave our kids something a little bit extra.”

Sierra (2-0, 5-0 overall), which scored the first 23 points of the contest and was in full command over the first 2 ½ quarters, joins Oakdale and Sonora as the remaining undefeated teams in the Valley Oak League through five weeks.

Sierra came into the contest tabbed the eighth best in Northern California on the California Interscholastic Federation Division II Bowl rankings. Oakdale is fourth, while both Manteca (1-1, 3-2) and Sonora are on the bubble.

“This is one rung on the ladder towards where we want to be,” Harbison said.

Sierra quarterback Jonathan Davis celebrated his 18th birthday in a big way, completing 17 of 22 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jarrod Daniels also shined, rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

Davis’ 30-yard scoring strike to Anthony Hall (10 receptions, 98 yards) was one for the highlight reel.

One play after linebacker Cody Dias recovered a fumble forced by John Perez, Davis floated it deep down the left sideline with Hall marked by Manteca cornerback Zack Vivit. Vivit had perfect coverage, but Hall was able to out-leap the defensive back vertically to come down with it in the end zone.

Hall’s ensuing point-after kick gave Sierra a 16-0 lead with 2:59 left in the first half.

“I just threw it up and there and he got it,” Davis said. “I have trust in him and he has trust in me.”

Manteca was able to make a game of it in the second half.

Matt Barber (2-for-12 passing, 33 yards) knifed his way through the heart of the Sierra defense on a 63-yard quarterback keeper, and his toss to Reggie Bell on the two-point conversion with 1:17 left in the third quarter closed the Buffaloes in, 23-8.

On the second play of the fourth, Bell picked up a punt off a bounce and ran it in from 57 yards out for the game’s final score.

Manteca was stopped on downs on its second-to-last drive, and the game ended after third-string quarterback Matt Burrows hit Bell for an 11-yard pass play.

“Our kids have some resiliency in them, and I was hoping they’d show that heart and they did,” Manteca coach Eric Reis said. “They’re a good football team; you can’t play two quarters and expect to win. Hats off to them, they played solid football and got it done.”

Reis was especially impressed by Sierra’s defense, which held Manteca’s star running back, Marquis Miller, to just 20 yards on 14 attempts. Barber’s long touchdown run made up a big chunk of the Buffaloes’ production (155 yards) from scrimmage.

Linebacker T.J. Sataua intercepted a pass, while linemen Chris Membrano and Jose Rodriguez each contributed a sack.

“There’s a lot of debate over who the best running back is in the area, and I think it’s a great debate,” Harbison said. “The defense wanted to show what No. 20 (Daniels) for Sierra can do.

“They wanted to assist him any way they could. Marquis is a great back. We keyed on him and we were able to shut him down.”
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