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Buffaloes trample Turlock
Nichelson scores 6 TDs as Manteca moves to 4-0
Turlock-Manteca football
Manteca ball carrier Blake Nichelson (20) leaves Turlock’s Owen Miller (1) and Gage Pritt in the dust on the way to a big gain. - photo by Wayne Thallander


Turlock 0     22    0    0 — 22

Manteca14   21   6   18 — 59


First quarter

M – Blake Nichelson 3 run (Matt Kong kick), 6:21

M – Bryson Davis 4 run (Kong kick), 1:09


Second quarter

M – Nichelson 26 run (Kong kick), 10:44

T – Cole Gilbert 1 run (Matthew Lopez kick), 9:06

M – Davis 4 run (Kong kick), 6:17

T – JT Foreman II 67 run (Lopez kick), 6:02

M – Nichelson 2 run (Kong kick), 4:44

T – Foreman 18 pass from Gilbert (Vincent Gonzales run), 3:09


Third quarter

M – Nichelson 5 run (run failed), 8:38


Fourth quarter

M – Nichelson 61 run (pass failed), 11:50

M – Nichelson 9 run (kick failed), 9:52

M – Marco Ramos 6 run (pass failed), 5:10


It was the Blake Nichelson Show at Guss Schmiedt Field on Friday.

Manteca High’s senior running back rushed for 202 yards on 23 carries, scoring six times in the 59-22 non-league slugfest over Turlock High.

“He makes everyone’s job easy,” said Buffaloes coach Mark Varnum of the 6-2, 205-pound Nichelson.

His team improved to 4-0, with Bryson Davis adding two scores.

Manteca’s ground game also left Bulldog coach James Peterson in awe.

Turlock (1-3) continued to play a tough schedule early on, losing to the likes of Central Section powers Clovis West and Central High of Fresno.

“We’re a young team and we play that way,” said Peterson. “We have some dynamic players.

“We just need to be more consistent.”

Manteca jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Turlock (1-3) caught its big break when quarterback Cole Gilbert connected on 78-yard pass play to Peter Mello on a third and very long. Gilbert punched it in from a yard out.

The Buffaloes answered back, taking advantage of the short field and scoring on Davis touchdown run.

The Bulldogs responded with JT Foreman II taking advantage of a gaping hole up the middle, racing 67 yards to paydirt.

The seesaw battle continued through the second with Nichelson scoring on a short run and Foreman hooking up with Gilbert on 18-yard score. Vincent Gonzales’ PAT run made it 35-22 at the half.

Gilbert completed 13 of his 25 passes for 228 yards with one interception.

Mello caught four passes for 123 yards.

Manteca scored on its first seven possessions, including that opening drive consisting of 11 running plays capped off by the first of the Nichelson TDs.

The Bulldogs were hurt by penalties and plays such as a bad snap that hurt their initial drive.

Nichelson, on a halfback pass, connected with Diego Esparza on the following possession on a 45-yard play on third and long. Davis scored on a 4-yard TD run.

Nichelson appeared stopped early in the second quarter. He bounced off a defender and dashed 26 yards for the score. Matthew Kong’s kick made it 21-0.

In the second half, the Buffalo defense stepped in.

Aliyah Cota intercepted a pass, returning the ball to the Bulldog 14. Two plays later, Nichelson had touchdown No. 4.

Mason Gibson delivered on a big stop on fourth down. Moments later, Nichelson broke loose on a 61-yard score.

Ayden Marshall had his moment, coming up a big stop and following that up with a block punt and recovery to the Turlock 9.

Nichelson took it in from there.

The Buffaloes closed out the scoring with backup quarterback Marco Ramos adding the final touches with his 6-yard run.