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Buffs hope to avoid letdown after Week 0 win
FB--Week 1 Preview file pic
Manteca head coach Eric Reis instructs his team from the sidelines during the Buffaloes 22-20 win over visiting Valley Christian last Friday at Guss Schmiedt Field. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Manteca’s 2017 opener — a thrilling 22-20 win over Valley Christian last Friday — had been talked about for months leading up to it.

Head coach Eric Reis didn’t have to worry about the Buffaloes getting up for that one. Before the parochial power from San Jose even visited Guss Schmiedt Field, Reis pointed to his team’s Week 1 rematch with Christian Brothers as a possible trap game following the much-anticipated zero-week encounter.

Christian Brothers seeks revenge from a lopsided 39-6 loss to Manteca this Friday at Sacramento City College’s historic Hughes Stadium. Highly-touted quarterback Tyler Vander Waal could not get on track in his first game for the Falcons. He sat out his entire junior season after transferring from Elk Grove. He had since signed with Wyoming and led Christian Brothers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game.

“We were a little bit lucky last year,” Reis said in an interview with the Bulletin two weeks ago. “We were coming off a win against Buhach Colony, and for them it was their first game with a new quarterback. They just got better and better as the season went on.

“With all the hype from the Valley Christian game, we have to be careful with that one. They have a new coach with another highly-ranked quarterback, and this year we go up there to play them.”

Tyler Almond has taken over head coaching duties for Daniel Carmazzi at Christian Brothers. Almond previously served as an assistant for Sacramento State under Marshall Sperbeck and Jody Sears.

The Falcons, who finished 11-3 last year, have another accomplished transfer filling in at the quarterback position. Gunnor Faulk, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior, comes from Pace Academy in Atlanta, Ga., which he spearheaded to a state championship during his sophomore season (1,715 yards, 18 touchdowns). 

He has a big target in 6-6, 232-pound tight end Spencer Webb (660 yards, five TDs), who has committed to Oregon. Manteca quarterback Gino Campiotti is well acquainted with Webb, as the two teamed up with TMP Elite’s 7-on-7 squad in the offseason.

Christian Brothers also brings back 6-1, 215-pound linebacker Jake Regino (94 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles), defensive lineman Daniel Simoes (63 tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles) and junior defensive back Tyler Green, whose 12 interceptions ranked him second in the state in 2016.

Here’s a closer look at other Week 1 contests in the area:

Ceres (1-0) at

East Union (0-0)

East Union’s young defense will get its first test against Ceres sophomore Dalton Durossette, who torched Weston Ranch for 245 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-19 passing in last week’s 48-42 win.

David Nichols, a 6-foot, 200-pound receiver, had seven receptions go for 140 yards and a score. Andrew Gibson (208 yards, three TDs) and Felipe Martinez (70 yards, TD) were highly productive in the rushing attack, and the Bulldogs amassed 522 yards from scrimmage.

Sierra (0-1) at

Central Valley (1-0)

Both teams are coming off low-scoring affairs and will meet for a second straight season at Ceres High.

Sierra staged a late comeback last year to win 28-26. It was just one of two losses for the Hawks, who went 11-2 in their best season in school history.

Senior RB/DB Estevan Barragan (95 rushing yards, TD; four catches, 36 yards; 15 tackles) starred in Central Valley’s 12-9 win over Atwater last week. Meanwhile, Sierra was done in by special-teams mistakes that led to a 19-7 loss to Ripon. 

Lathrop (1-0) at

Hilmar (1-0)

The Spartans will look to avenge their heartbreaking 16-14 loss to Hilmar, which went on to claim the Trans-Valley League title.

The Yellowjackets struggled offensively on Friday but had touchdowns from three different rushers to escape Beyer with a 21-14 victory. Michael Ramos rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in Lathrop’s 33-16 win over West.

Weston Ranch (0-1) at

Edison (0-0)

With some tough Valley Oak League contests lined up down the road, Weston Ranch is already in a must-win situation after last week’s loss to Ceres. 

The Cougars crushed Edison 20-0 in the 2016 showdown between South Stockton rivals. The Vikings appear poised for a turnaround from the 2-8 finish in Booker Guyton’s return as head coach. They have a dynamite all-around athlete in Hassani Zackery back along with size up front.

Galt (0-0) at Ripon (1-0)

Ripon will try to build momentum from its 19-7 win at Sierra with its home opener Friday. The Indians trounced Galt 40-7 last year.

It has been a trying offseason for Galt, which went 5-5 but had to forfeit all of its 2016 victories after self-reporting the use of an illegal player after the season ended. The Warriors will go into their first 2017 contest with just 26 players, and several key players are working through injuries. 

Ripon Christian (1-0) at Stone Ridge Christian (1-0)

A fun rivalry has developed between these small schools in recent years. This past spring, Ripon Christian defeated Stone Ridge of Merced for its first-ever SJS softball title.

On the football field, Ripon Christian holds a 5-2 series lead but lost the 2016 showdown, 14-13. Stone Ridge ended up 9-3 and reached the SJS Division VII final. Both teams are coming off blowout wins, with Stone Ridge hammering Fresno Christian, 37-8.