STOCKTON - If all goes as planned, the Valley Oak League will remain an eight-team league with all five Manteca Unified schools still in the mix.
The anticipated fireworks show started later than expected.
SONORA - Statement made.
RIPON - They were expecting one opponent.
East Union split a pair of duals to open up Valley Oak League action Wednesday night, collecting an impressive win over Central Valley, 51-28, before taking its lumps against the perennial powerhouse Oakdale, 69-12.
The Manteca High sophomore basketball team raced out to a 24-6 first-quarter lead Wednesday night at Winter Gym and never looked back, thumping Central Valley, 73-39.
Andy Vandergraft capitalized on his opportunity to redeem himself.
Sonora point guard Kelli Keefe wears No. 3 for good reason.
CERES - Undefeated East Union got its wake-up call early.
LINDEN - As much as Ripon junior Matt Ratto was struggling with his 3-point shot, the Linden Lions made sure that he wasn't the one to beat them during a closer-than-expected non-league contest Tuesday.
Lathrop High's first-year wrestling team split its junior varsity matches to open Valley Oak League action Tuesday, losing to Weston Ranch 55-22 before beating host Manteca, 78-6.
It took East Union seven minutes and 19 seconds to score its first field goal Tuesday night in a 47-30 win over Grace Davis at the Dalben Center.
It started a little over four years ago, the summer before Krysta Clark's freshman year at East Union.
The outmanned Sierra High sophomore boys basketball team was not outplayed in its 48-38 win over visiting Modesto Tuesday.
And with 6 minutes, 41 seconds left in the game, Christian Williams rested.
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.
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.
Weston Ranch beat East Union at its own game in a duel between the Valley Oak League's hottest teams Monday at Dino Cunial Field.
Coming off a tough five-game loss to rival Escalon, Ripon bounced back nicely with Monday's 25-13, 25-10, 25-23 sweep at Modesto Christian.
East Union's Edmi Lopez is a Timberwolf slayer.
Ripon Christian's boys soccer team overcame a halftime deficit, and Andrew Manes nailed the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute to knock off host Le Grand 2-1 on Thursday.
The Manteca and East Union volleyball teams split their first two sets Wednesday before the visiting Lancers atoned for an earlier season sweep and pulled away to win the next two for a 25-21, 24-26, 25-22, 25-17 win in Valley Oak League action at Winter Gymnasium.
East Union co-head coaches Brian Goulart and Dennis Wells figured this was the year that the Lancers' run of championships in the Sierra Invitational would end.
The hardest part of the schedule is over for Ripon's football team.