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Big-play Buffaloes surge to victory in battle of unbeatens
Cameron Harvey breaks off a big gain for Manteca High at Stagg Friday. To view additional photos visit - photo by Photo by CHRIS LEONARD

STOCKTON — The Manteca High varsity football squad closed out the preseason Friday with a rather impressive 32-12 win at Stagg.

The Buffaloes did it with a couple of big plays, some trickery, and turnovers.

“Entering this game, we were terrified of (the Delta Kings), especially with their passing game,” Manteca coach Eric Reis said.

The Buffaloes (3-0) fell behind early on. True to form, Stagg’s senior quarterback Brian Wood put the early fear in Manteca, driving his team on a seven-play, 54-yard drive capped by a 17-yard scoring toss to his favorite target, Ryan Wood.

The Buffaloes answered back with some razzle dazzle. Quarterback Alex Martinez pitched a lateral pass to T.J. Galdos, who delivered the option pass to a wide-open Eric Ceja.

Ceja raced past the defense, scoring on the 53-yard pass play. Matt Kuhnlenz’s PAT kick put Manteca ahead, 7-6.

The Buffalo defense enjoyed some shining moments. Evan Fisk and Anthony Hernandez converged on a quarterback sack on third down, and Devin Cooper came up with an interception that led to Manteca’s next score.

Enter Cameron Harvey, who brought in a change-of-pace running style to that of Danny Gouveia.

“I saw a hole to my left, but then I looked to the other side,” he recalled.

There, he saw a lane and made a strong cutback run. Harvey raced past the defense on the 42-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Buffaloes took advantage of good field position, going nine plays while settling on Kuhnlenz’s 22-yard goal.

Stagg kept pace, with Ryan Wood hauling in Brian Wood’s 28-yard tochdown strike.

Harvey, who finished with a game-high 99 rushing yards, scooted 51 yards. Martinez connected with Gouveia on the two-point conversion, making it 25-12, Manteca.

Eddie Smith delivered the final blow, intercepting a pass at his own 40 and going 60 yards to paydirt.

“I was proud of the way our guys played,” Reis said. “They played a clean game.

“Everybody chipped in — we have plenty of guys tonight who earned game balls.”