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Manteca spoils Sierra homecoming with dominant run game
Bulletin sports fall 2021
Lyon Colon turns upfield after getting the toss from Manteca quarterback Garrison Reis during the Buffaloes’ 65-0 blowout win Friday at Sierra. - photo by Wayne Thallander


Manteca 28 29  0   7 — 65

Sierra       0   0   0  0 — 0


First quarter

M — Lyon Colon 4 run (Eduardo Zambrano), 11:22.

M — Zion Allen 36 pass from Garrison Reis (Zambrano kick), 8:05.

M — Blake Nichelson 23 run (Zambrano kick), 7:03.

M — Nichelson 24 run (Zambrano kick), 4:43.


Second quarter

M — Nichelson 70 run (Zambrano kick), 10:53.

M — Colon 46 run (Zambrano kick), 9:41.

M — Nichelson 71 run (Nichelson run), 5:56.

M — Colon 49 run (Zambrano kick), 2:10.


Fourth quarter

M — Manuel Gutierrez 1 run (Colton Stonum run), 11:53.

The Buffaloes are going to have a three-day weekend.

Manteca head coach Mark Varnum rewarded the team for its 5-0 start to the season with an extra, and needed, break for the upcoming bye week. The Buffs kicked off the Valley Oak League with a 65-0 rout Friday on rival Sierra’s homecoming. They’ll look to spoil another homecoming Oct. 1 when they visit their other intra-city foe East Union.

“Next week is all about us and getting healthy,” Varnum said.

His first stringers made the most of their short time on the field at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium on Friday. Among them was standout running back Lyon Colon, who returned to action after miss Manteca’s win at Turlock last week with a fractured finger.

“It feels good being back with my brothers,” Colon said.

Colon ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. Blake Nichelson scored four times on his five carries, amassing 192 yards. He also had a 30-yard reception.

Manteca tallied 416 yards of offense in the first half and scored on five one-play drives. The defense, meanwhile, held the Timberwolves (0-5) to minus 8 yards. The lead was at 57-0 at halftime with Colon and Nichelson doing much of the damage.

“We have the two-headed monster back,” Varnum said. You’re going to have a hard time finding a better backfield duo in the entire (Sac-Joaquin) Section. It’s huge for us getting him healthy.”

They were unstoppable in the second quarter when Sierra’s defense failed to record a tackle from scrimmage. Manteca ran just four plays in the period and scored on all of them — a 70-yard run from Nichelson, 46-yard run from Colon, 71-yard run from Nichelson and 49-yard run from Colon.

“It’s the explosiveness of Blake and Lyon,” Varnum said. “If we give them a little space they’re going to handle the rest. Our big boys up front, they start it up for us but when you have two guys like that when you give them a little bit they’re going to take a lot.”

Zion Allen, the VOL’s reigning 100- and 200-meter events for track, also got to show off his big-play ability. He took a short pass from Garrison Reis (2 of 5, 66 yards) and zipped down the sideline untouched for a 36-yard score to make it 14-0 first quarter.

Things continued to snowball for Sierra on the ensuing kickoff, when the ball skipped past a returner and was recovered by Manteca’s Dylan Deprater on the 13. Nichelson then scored on a 23-yard sweep, giving the Buffs a three-score lead with still 7:03 left in the opening period.

The reserves took over for the entire second half and kept the intensity of the starters.

Manuel Gutierrez (nine rushes, 40 yards) recorded the lone touchdown of the second half from a yard out 7 seconds into the fourth quarter. He had a 45-yard touchdown scamper get called back by a holding penalty on his first carry. 

Sierra fared a little better in the second half but still didn’t threaten to score. The Timberwolves converted their only two first downs of the game when promising sophomore RB Anthony Grady had 22- and 15-yard runs. He wound up with 35 yards on 22 carries after blowing up for 270 yards and three touchdowns at Stagg last week.

Overall, Sierra was limited to 16 yards of offense while Manteca finished with 537.

“It’s the leadership,” Colon said of the reserves’ second-half effort. “We expect our guys to give 100 percent, even in practice. It all starts at practice. Coach V expects everyone to bring 100 percent, so the second string is ready to step up when they play.”