TRACY — Manteca needed just five plays on its opening drive to score the first points of its Valley Oak League tilt at Kimball’s Don Nicholson Stadium on Friday.
The Buffaloes did it efficiently and with multiple weapons in 1 minute, 46 seconds. Head coach Mark Varnum greeted players back to the sideline, yelling out, “Everybody gets some!”
Although Manteca wasn’t always as sharp as it would have liked, there were several contributors who keyed the lopsided 41-13 win.
The usual standouts did their thing for the Buffaloes (2-1 Valley Oak League, 4-3 overall).
Jacob DeJesus racked up 78 receiving yards on four catches, three of which went for touchdowns. He also had eight rushes for 46 yards and another score. Trabron Russell, in his second game back from an ankle injury, rambled for 142 yards on 20 carries, and Ryan Ward completed his final six passes and finished 11 of 16 for 137 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Multi-position threat Miguel Sequiera scored twice after taking snaps behind center, first with an 8-yard burst from the Wildcat formation and later with a 34-yard dash on a read-option play. He ended with 68 yards on eight attempts, and fullback Chris Ortiz grinded his way to 59 yards on 10 touches.
“They’ve always been factors, we just hadn’t been applying them as much,” DeJesus said. “This game was all about giving the ball to everybody and seeing what they can do, and today I think we did.”
Manteca amassed 368 yards on the ground and 505 total while limiting the Jaguars (1-3, 3-5) to 189.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing after taking the early lead, however.
On the Buffaloes’ second drive, Ward underthrew Jorge Cedano (four receptions, 50 yards) on a deep pass, allowing Kimball cornerback Cam Sims to pick it off and return it 65 yards. A penalty on the return helped the Jaguars advance it to the Manteca 8-yard line, but they turned it over on downs as they threatened to tie it up.
Manteca committed 11 penalties in all, including a holding infraction that negated a highlight-worthy 33-yard catch from Cedano in the end zone. The Buffaloes did not end up scoring on that third quarter drive and took a 34-7 lead into the fourth.
They also had a forced turnover wiped away in the fourth quarter when linebacker Tyler Brintley knocked the ball free from Kimball receiver Kaleo Ballungay with the biggest hit of the game. Brintley was flagged for a hit-to-the-head penalty, though it appeared to be a clean shot.
Varnum encouraged his team to “sharpen the knife” after the game.
“More than anything, we just have to get out of our own way,” he said. “Penalties have been our bug a boo. If we clean that stuff up and played with a little more discipline the game is not as close. When we were rolling there wasn’t much they could do to stop us.
“I’m happy to get the win, but for the most part I think it was a B-minus effort. If we want to get to where we want to go, we have to bring our ‘A’ game every single week.”
Mateo Decoite (11 of 22, 87 yards; 40 yards rushing) connected with Jaxen North and Sims on fourth-down plays for Kimball’s touchdowns, which covered 24 and 9 yards, respectively. Louie Pacheco rushed 14 times for 68 yards.
Despite the defeat, the game had special meaning for first-year Kimball coach Mike Kuhnlenz, a 2006 Manteca High alumnus who was part of the Buffaloes’ 2005 Sac-Joaquin Section championship team. Last week, he led the Jaguars to a 41-13 win at Weston Ranch, where he previously served as assistant coach. And the week before that, Kimball lost 39-27 at East Union, where Kuhnlenz works as a campus monitor.
“It’s different, very different,” Kuhnlenz said. “Tonight, it was definitely weird. You always want to beat your alma mater, and I know all of those coaches. Coach (Rick) James coached me on defense when I played there, and I’m the offensive coordinator on our side. He’s forgotten more football than I’ll ever know.
“I have a huge amount of respect for those guys and how they run the program. That’s where I’m trying to get my guys.”
Manteca 7 21 6 7 — 41
Kimball 0 7 0 6 — 13
M—Jacob DeJesus 4 pass from Ryan Ward (Kyle Thornburg kick), 6:31.
M—DeJesus 56 pass from Ward (Thornburg kick), 11:33.
K—Jaxen North 24 pass from Mateo Decoite (Jonathan Cordero kick), 8:48.
M—Miguel Sequeira 8 run (Thornburg kick), 6:07.
M—DeJesus 9 pass from Ward (Thornburg kick), 0:18.2.
M—DeJesus 18 run (run failed), 8:25.
M—Sequeira 34 run (Thornburg), 6:39.
K—Cam Sims 9 pass from Decoite (pass failed), 3:25.