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Gunfire after a football game?
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The Ceres High School sophomore football team must have been terrified when shots started striking the windows of the school bus they were in as it drove away from Weston Ranch High School Friday night.
Six windows were shot – none of which allowed the projectile, be it a bullet or a pellet from an air gun, to go through – but it panicked the bus driver enough that they drove clear through to almost Lathrop before pulling over, calling 911 and filing the necessary reports.
Welcome to Weston Ranch ladies and gentlemen – come back anytime.
This is a big issue, and I hope that it isn’t something that Manteca Unified School District thinks that it can simply brush aside by claiming that it didn’t happen on campus, and they aren’t even sure where it took place.
In the best-case scenario – somebody who had no affiliation from the school thought it would be funny to shoot at a bus as it drove by – it’s still a cause for concern in a community that has its fair share of problems to deal with. Just read the crime reports from Weston Ranch sometime. I’m a member of a group of concerned Weston Ranch residents (I was added after I wrote a story about some of them) on Facebook and the information that is routinely posted is enough to scare just about anybody.
People being robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight. Houses being burglarized. Shootings becoming commonplace.
These are all issues that need to be taken into consideration when viewing this specific incident, and it begs the question about what Weston Ranch High School students face when they go off campus every single day. It doesn’t really matter how secure you make your isolated facility, sooner or later those students need to go home – and nobody thrives in an environment when their safety is called into question.
No, I’m not saying that Weston Ranch is the “ghetto” school as has been alleged by some in the community when bringing up issues before the Manteca Unified Board of Education. Crime happens everywhere, and no place is immune.
But as somebody who for two years worked in Weston Ranch at its lone grocery store while I was going to college – long before the economic downturn was even thought of – I can say that there were things that I saw that still raise the hair up on the back of my neck when I think about them.
If you were making decisions for Ceres Unified School District would you let your students return there? Fair or not, this is the reality of the situation, and it’s a situation that eschews the basic tenets of academic sportsmanship.
Isolated incident, perhaps? Possibly. But that doesn’t make it any less tragic for those 15-year-old kids who were just trying to go home – who spend what should have been the remainder of their Friday night at home on the side of the freeway waiting to be picked up and driven home, confused about why they were there in the first place.
Just something to consider.

Pigskin Prognosticators Part II
Chris Teicheira loves the East Union Lancers.
No, really – how else can you explain the fact that earlier this week he both purchased a brick honoring the Lancer Class of ’91 while also wearing the letterman’s jacket of a man who graduated the same year and still holds records on campus?
Ah, memories.
Like the good sport that he is, Teicheira settled his debts from being the worst of the four us when it comes to picking high school sports – but the best at picking up the dinner tab for us to enjoy steaks at String’s – and laid down an entirely new gauntlet for the upcoming Valley Oak League season and subsequent Manteca High School run to a State Championship.
No, I’m not blowing that out of proportion. I haven’t actually seen Manteca High play this year but considering they beat a team that was ranked only behind De La Salle in all of the Bay Area, the Buffaloes sent a statement on Friday night that resonated across the Northern California football landscape.
And good for them – it’s the 16th season for the man who is already the winningest coach in Manteca Unified history, and it only seems right that he able to put the trophy in the case of he Dr. Robert C. Winter Gymnasium before he rides off into the sunset and into the hearts of Manteca faithful far and wide.
Teicheira was supposed to pen 100 words to be included in this part of the column this week, but he’s been busy today dealing with his newly acquired 30-day suspension from Facebook because somebody didn’t like a relatively harmless joke about boxing his deaf puppy (that he treats like a pampered human child). So, in honor of Banshee, I’ll congratulate him on going 4-1 in what has become our picking preseason, and tip the cap to Wohle who also went 4-1 and deferred to his green-and-white friend since he was the one picking up the check for dinner and solidifying his name in the Lancer Circle of Honor.
In short, we’re going to have a lot of fun doing this, and I can only hope to be the one who gets to shave an “S” into the side of his head at the end of the season.
Oh – I almost forgot. I’m the champion after Condit and I settled our tie with an official coin flip, which is fitting since I received quite a bit of flak from the Manteca coaching staff about a decade ago for saying their chances at beating the Lancers in a weekly pick column came down to coin flip (they had the league MVP that season and won by many touchdowns but I hated predicting scores and it seemed provocative).
Here’s to another fine year prowling the sidelines.

Go away sun – we don’t
 want you anymore
Finally, it’s just too hot.
I saw last night that it’s supposed to be 111 degrees Saturday, and the only saving grace I can see in this early September scorcher is that hopefully the Indian Summer comes early this year so we can finally put all of these triple-digit days behind us and move into fall weather so I can don my daily uniform of jeans, a button-down shirt and a Columbia fleece jacket.
They’ve all been sitting in my closet hanging or folded neatly for months now, and I can almost hear them calling out my name when I pass by.
Soon cold weather clothes. Soon we will be together again at last.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call (209) 249-3544.