SACRAMENTO - The loss wasn't what hurt. The taxing physical struggle with the stout Pride of Bradshaw Christian wasn't the cause of the pain.
RIPON – There was little doubt as to who was the superior team after Ripon Christian's crushing 60-26 victory over Sierra Ridge Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff opener. Just as there was little doubt as to who was the game's most dominant player.
Manteca High's Guss Schmiedt Field was a sloppy, slippery mess Friday, and the cold wind made for even harsher conditions.
RIPON – It all came down to a single drive.
Home-field advantage hasn't been advantageous for Manteca High's football team the last two years.
Manteca High's committee approach has worked wonders.
The junior varsity squad of the Ripon Chiefs was crowned Super Bowl champions last Sunday.
Eleven 5-5 teams qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in the Division I-IV brackets.
The Manteca Buffaloes sophomore football team had one objective when they came into their season-ending contest with the East Union Lancers. Handling the Lancers 30-19 completed the objective and earned Manteca a piece of the Valley Oak League title.
Closing out a season with a Valley Oak League championship is difficult enough, but doing so and remaining perfect along the way is even more so. The Manteca Buffaloes freshman football team was able to do just that after closing the season with a 47-6 win over host East Union High.
Scoring 14 unanswered points to begin the second half not only lifted the East Union Lancers into a 14-14 tie with host Manteca, it raised some similar feelings Buffalo faithful experienced a season ago.
Just two days before Sierra's Valley Oak League finale against visiting Weston Ranch Friday, star running back Anthony Cota was in street clothes at practice with a cast protecting his left forearm.
LATHROP – Andrew Aquino wasn't about to mail it in and take the last game of his high school football career off.
Andrew Brown left nothing to chance Friday night.
RIPON - The Ripon High Indians took care of business in Friday's Trans Valley League finale at Stouffer Field, disposing of Orestimba, 41-14.
There is domination and then there is Ripon High sophomore football domination.
RIPON – For months, Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison and offensive coordinator Jeff Abrew have been inside the laboratory, retooling one of the area's most explosive offenses.
TRACY – The Lathrop High Spartans opened the season with a hard-fought 20-7 non-league loss to West Friday at Steve Lopez Stadium.
SANTA CLARA - Maybe it was a good thing that Friday's Manteca-Wilcox football game did not take place at Levi's Stadium as originally planned.
MODESTO – They did what they were supposed to do.
Victor Polanco stood on the sidelines, a sun hat pulled low on his brow.
The last day to purchase tickets for the Manteca High football team's rooters' buses is Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Lathrop Jr. Spartans president Jaime Hernandez has a vision.
LATHROP - To borrow a phrase from John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High," the Lathrop Lions are coming home to a place they have never been before.
So, how does Sierra replace one of the Sac-Joaquin Section's most prolific passers of 2013?
Keith Jackson is picking up where he left off last fall, when he rallied generations of Manteca High alumni to cheer the Buffaloes' historic postseason run.
Second-year Lathrop coach Steven Wichman has a better idea of what his team can do with pads on this time around.
The Sac-Joaquin Section's preseason Dead Period doesn't begin until Monday.
Weston Ranch's football players weren't the only ones hard at work this offseason.
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