Fourteen Sac-Joaquin Section playoff tickets have already been punched.
It's been a long time since the East Union-Manteca game, the oldest rivalry in the area, has meant something for all parties involved.
For Sierra it's for the right to continue its season.
Things were looking bleak for Ripon High's football team a month ago.
The Sierra High Timberwolves continued their winning ways Friday in a 34-7 Valley Oak League win over the Lathrop Spartans.
After just nine offensive plays Sierra had put up five touchdowns Thursday on the way to a 51-13 Valley Oak League freshman win over Lathrop at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
It was a game of inches (and pounds): Manteca High cornerback David Farrington, generously listed at 5-foot-7, 154 pounds, versus behemoth Oakdale fullback A.C. Brown - all 6-2, 215 pounds of him.
LATHROP - Trailing by two touchdowns with less than a minute remaining in the first half, Lathrop had an opportunity from the Sierra High 15-yard-line to pull within a score, but that opportunity passed by and so did the Spartans chance at victory in a 49-7 blowout.
Sonora High was coming off back-to-back Valley Oak League losses, and that was all the motivation the Wildcats would need in a 68-20 blowout of the visiting East Union Lancers Friday.
RIPON – Alex Gustin wanted to test his ailing leg.
WATERFORD – Ripon Christian had a game plan that keyed on containing Wildcat quarterback Wade Hawkins.
When was the last time all three Manteca schools were in the playoffs for football?
The future could be sooner rather than later for Kimball High.
East Union High kept hope alive on Friday.
Sierra High walked into the locker room during Friday's Valley Oak League showdown with Sonora clutching a 14-7 lead, but that lead would expand behind an impressive effort from quarterback Adrian Valencia for a Timberwolves 28-7 win over the visiting Wildcats.
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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