rra High coach Jose Montes is rolling with a new formation that forces his players to play ball-control soccer on the attacking third rather than having one or two try to do it themselves.
Manteca High has been at its best in the second half of its big games this season, while Sierra tends to struggle over the final 24 minutes.
East Union High's Jordan Kron made a splash last year as a freshman athlete making big contributions for the school's varsity basketball and baseball teams.
The Valley Oak League's top girls golf team appears to be getting better.
Weston Ranch High has its first-ever Valley Oak League championship girls tennis team after the Cougars defeated Kimball 4-1at home Thursday.
Ripon High had the shots, but the only ones that matter are the ones that go in.
Co-head coach Brian Goulart was anxious to see how his East Union High girls golf team would perform in Wednesday's Sierra Invitational - the Lancers' first and last 18-hole event of the season before the Valley Oak League Championships.
Eric Reis couldn't wait to watch last week's epic East Union-Sierra rivalry game on film, perhaps more so as a football fan than as Manteca High's head coach scouting for strengths and weaknesses.
Manteca High coach Tim Horning sat at the end of the bench, head buried into his hands while his players settled into their seats on the other end of the court between the second and third games.
Ripon Christian's first stint through the Southern League has become as routine as bumping, setting and spiking.
In a wild back-and-forth battle, Harpreet Dhaliwal and the under-8 boys Lions prevailed 5-3 over the Sharks in Manteca Area Soccer League play Saturday at Woodward Park.
At the midway point of the Valley Oak League boys soccer season, one team has emerged from what was expected to be a crowded race for the title as the frontrunner.
The big-time players made some big-time plays, but an unlikely hero emerged in Sierra High's 30-28 heart-pumping and much-needed win over persistent East Union Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Weston Ranch mounted spirited comebacks in the first three games, but when intra-district host Sierra High attempted its own in the fourth the Cougars calmly put the finishing touches in their thrilling victory - 25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 25-19.
Manteca High still hasn't gotten over the hump, but coach Tim Horning saw some encouraging things out of his team in a three-game loss - 19-25, 12-25, 18-25 - to Valley Oak League defending champion Sonora Thursday at Winter Gym.
RIPON -Hilmar had the look of a team that had been there, done that in tight situations.
Weston Ranch clinched a second straight postseason berth with Monday's resounding 7-1 victory at Lathrop.
Jeff Harbison put his full trust in his players.
Sierra hasn't had a losing record since 2005, Jeff Harbison's first year as the school's head football coach, and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in five of the last six years.
That stunning loss to Orestimba appears to be in the rear-view mirror for Ripon Christian.
Ripon hadn't played a match away from familiar Stouffer Field in nearly three full weeks until it traveled to Hilmar on Thursday.
Ripon avenged a previous loss and put itself in a good position to return to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Tournament with Thursday's 164-174 win over Linden at Jack Tone Golf Course.
The Southern League race has quietly developed into an intriguing one.
Pay no mind to Lathrop's record.
East Union is showing signs of peaking at just the right time.
Ripon Christian was shut out in the second halves of its first two Southern League games - a closer-than-it-needed-to-be 21-20 win over Orestimba followed by a 15-14 heartbreaker at Le Grand.
Ripon Christian visited Delhi on Tuesday and avenged its only Southern League loss with a 1-0 victory that keeps the Knights atop the standings.
Ripon overcame serving errors and a game Hughson squad in a Trans-Valley League road match Wednesday.
The Manteca Jr. Timberwolves' novice football team rode the legs of Elijah Cota in Saturday's overtime 25-19 victory over their cross-town rival Chargers.
Escalon got one step closer to clinching the Valley Foothill League's North Division championship Tuesday after beating second-place Ripon 160-175 at Escalon Golf Course.