Cosumnes Oaks 0 7 7 6 — 19
Manteca 10 16 12 8 — 46
M — Safety, 5:34
M – Blake Nichelson 7 run (Alijah Cota run), 0:23
C — Omarie White 62 pass from Ranvir Malhi (Patrick Molinari kick), 11:08
M — Cota 11 pass from Garrison Reis (Cota run), 5:36
M — Cota 1 run (Nichelson run), 1:34
M — Nichelson 34 run (run failed), 8:40
C — Deonte Carter 14 pass from Malhi (kick failed), 6:20
M — Nichelson 26 pass from Reis (run failed), 2:46
M — Reis 6 run (Nichelson run), 6:36
C — Enrique Asevedo 2 pass from Malhi (pass failed), 3:35
There’s a reason why Manteca High loaded up the preseason with teams operating out of the spread offense.
“It’s to prepare us for November and December,” said Buffaloes coach Mark Varnum after his team dismantled Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove at Guss Schmiedt Field on Friday, 46-19.
He praised his big guys up front for controlling the line of scrimmage on both ends of the ball.
Offensively, the group consisting of the likes of Cole Ramsey, Jose Rios and others allowed Blake Nichelson and Alijah Cota to find enough daylight to account for the bulk of the scoring. Nichelson rushed for a pair of touchdowns and caught another for 26 yards.
The junior running back accounted for a game-high 153 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Cota scored twice, picking up 38 yards on seven carries.
But it was sophomore quarterback Garrison Reis who delivered one of his best games of the young season. He completed 3 of 5 passing with no interception, tossing touchdown passes to Cota for 11 yards shortly before halftime, and connecting with Nichelson on a 26-yard scoring strike in the third quarter.
Reis capped off the scoring for Manteca with a 6-yard run in the fourth.
“Around here, it’s always about the next man up,” he said, taking advantage of his opportunity to run the offense. Junior QB Hudson Wyatt is sitting out the first five weeks of the season because of Sac-Joaquin Section transfer rules.
Reis credited his line and the offensive weapons around him for his solid effort.
It was defense that got it started for the Buffaloes (3-0).
Cosumnes Oaks (0-3) was pinned down early on thanks to a punt by Cota on special teams coupled with Tommy Perea downing the ball at Wolf Pack 1-yard line.
On the next play, Nichelson and Cris Ray converged on the ball carrier in the end zone for the two-point safety.
The Buffaloes took the free kick, keeping the ball on the ground from there while marching 60 yards. Nichelson scored on the 7-yard run and Cota powered his way for the two-point conversion for the 10-0 lead first-quarter lead.
The Wolf Pack answered shortly after with Omarie White making a great sideline grab of a pass from quarterback Ranvi Malhi. He not only stayed in bound but raced into the end zone.
Manteca’s lead was trimmed, 10-7.
A quick series of events shortly before the intermission provided some breathing room.
After Cota capped a 65-yard drive following the Cosumnes Oaks’ score – Cota also ran the ball in for the conversion – Buffaloes cornerback Brock Gross came through with an interception, giving his team good field position on the turnover.
Manteca pounded the ball with the run game capped by Cota scoring from a yard out. His second conversion run made it 26-7 at the half.
Nichelson’s best run occurred early in the third. He appeared to be stop for a short gain only to spin around while shaking off defenders. He sprinted his way for a 34-yard score.
The Wolf Pack fought back with Malhi tossing a 14-yard touchdown to Deonte Carter. The Cosumnes Oaks quarterback later found Enrique Asevedo on a short toss for another score.
By then, the Buffaloes had the game all but wrapped up. Reis, who followed up his third-quarter scoring pass to Nichelson, ran bootleg to close out the scoring.
“This is the third spread (offense) team we’ve faced during preseason,” said Varnum, who is gearing up Manteca for another postseason run.