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Buffs feast on turnovers
Defense puts the squeeze on Enochs; ready for VOL test
FB--Enochs-Manteca pic
Manteca linebacker Lechi Nkwocha drags down Enochs quarterback Shawn Munoz as he grasps for a ball that slipped out of his hands early in the Buffaloes 49-14 thrashing of the Eagles. The Manteca defense forced five turnovers in the contest. - photo by Photo courtesy of CHRIS LEONARD/

The Manteca High defense rarely had a chance to see the field in the first quarter of Friday’s game against Enochs High School at Guss Schmiedt Field.

That’s what happens when you force turnovers each time your opponent has the ball.

While the Eagles gave Central California Conference juggernaut Buhach Colony fits during their game last week, the Buffaloes had no problems in taking the ball away from the typically potent offense – forcing fumbles deep in Enochs territory on the team’s first two drives – in order to trot their offense onto the field.

It turned out to be a recipe for a 49-14 steamrolling for the team’s third win heading into a bye week before starting the Valley Oak League season against Central Catholic.

“It’s a different beast for this year because last season we had this offensive juggernaut and now we’re getting back to good ol’ Manteca defense,” head coach Eric Reis said. “We knew coming into this game that it was going to be a huge test because of the team that they are, and the turnovers just kept coming – we just kept stacking those and capitalizing on those.

“The whole point of preseason is to prepare you for league and there were a lot of good things tonight that we can look at. We’ve got a bye next week to get healthy before we start a tough league schedule, but we feel good right now.”

It was Manteca’s workhorse back, Hector Soto, who had scored on the team’s opening drive, that got the defensive ball rolling by coming up with a loose ball that came out when Manteca’s entire left side collapsed on scrambling quarterback Shawn Munoz.

By the time the final whistle blew, Munoz would have two interceptions – one of which was batted into the air and caught by Javaun Dunn at the line of scrimmage – and the team ended up with another pair of fumble turnovers.

The Buffaloes scored on all five of the turnovers.

“I think that a game like this shows that we’re ready and we’re back,” said Soto. “It’s important to be able to capitalize on their mistakes and be able to force those mistakes, and we did a good job of that tonight.

“It’s all about getting better and this was a good game for that heading into league.”

Soto finished with 122 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns. Carl Chandler had 70 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown as well.