In a battle of two high-powered offenses, it was the defenses that shined Thursday when Manteca High’s freshman football team hosted intra-city foe Sierra.
Manteca held on to win 14-8 with a late goal-line stand on Sierra’s final drive of the contest.
The Timberwolves (1-2 Valley Oak League, 4-2 overall) were in position to post the winning touchdown on first and goal at the 4 but was backed up by penalties and Manteca’s clutch defense. They turned the ball over on downs.
The Buffaloes (3-0, 6-0) did well to limit Sierra to just 8 points after giving up 335 yards of offense.
“You can throw out all the stats in a game like this, and the only numbers that matter at the end of a great game like this is the ones that are on the scoreboard,” Manteca coach Jon Shaefer said. “The ‘blue school’ has nothing to hang their heads about, as they are a very good football team. But in big games, mistakes kill you.”
Sierra was plagued by penalties all game and lost the turnover battle, 3-0.
“This was a tough loss because we truly beat Manteca on the field,” said Sierra coach Jim Anderson. “We won the battle hands down but literally beat ourselves with interceptions and penalties.”
It had the makings of a shootout at the start. Sierra struck in the first quarter on quarterback Jared Silveira’s 1-yard pass to Devin Nunez. But Isaiah Carrillo’s run on the conversion try represented Sierra’s final points.
Manteca’s defense picked it up in the second quarter, notching the first of three interceptions that led to its first touchdown.
Sierra penetrated Manteca’s 10-yard line, but the Buffalo DB Chad Ott picked off a pass and returned it to the Sierra 24. That set up Lechi Nkwocha’s 9-yard TD reception from Dominick Pisano on fourth-and-goal. The two-point conversion attempt failed to keep the Timberwolves ahead.
The Buffaloes took the lead for good in the third quarter when Hector Soto scored on a 6-yard run, with Pisano tacking on 2 more points on the conversion. The scoring drive was set up by yet another interception, this one from Jose Soria.
Silveira was 14 of 27 for 180 yards passing and also rushed 10 times for 104 yards. Hunter Johnson caught four passes for 71 yards, and Ryan Vazquez added three for 46.
Bobby Guillen led the Sierra defense with seven tackles. Jacob Stevinson (five tackles), John Cibelli (six tackles), Trevon McCray (six tackles) and Joseph Valenzuela each had a sack.
“I am very proud of our football team, as this was the first time this year that they were behind at the half,” Shaefer said. “We challenged them at halftime to find out what kind of football team they really were. I think that question was soundly answered by our players in the second half, and that’s why we are now 6-0 going into Week 7.”
East Union 22, Weston Ranch 12
The Pages (2-1, 3-2-1) racked up 327 yards of offense and did most of their damage on the ground.
Running back Lucas Garcia scored twice — once on a 76-yard jaunt — and ended up with 137 yards. Taariq Davis contributed 142 rushing yards, some of which came on a 58-yard score.
Isaac Danhoff hit paydirt on a 50-yard pass play on a key fourth-and-four play, and Adrian Rodriguez chimed in with a 40-yard field goal. Rodriguez also led the defense with eight tackles.