Gino Campiotti spent most of the week studying film on Dixon.
For the Manteca High quarterback, those extra sessions paid off with a stellar performance Thursday in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
The Buffaloes (10-1) rolled past the Rams of the Golden Empire League with a convincing 42-13 victory.
“They’re a good team,” said Campiotti of Dixon.
He connected on 13 of 16 passes with no interceptions for 198 yards and four touchdowns.
“I saw some of their weaknesses on film,” said Campiotti, who also rushed for 86 yards on 11 carries and a score. “My (offensive) line gave me all the time in the world.”
But it was the Rams (6-5) who provided a scare to the highly-favored Buffaloes.
Tyler Boston gave his team a spark with a 59-yard gain on the third play of the game. Dixon quarterback Ben Nefzger then connected with Andrew Poarch, placing the ball at the Buffaloes 4.
From there, Cameron Garlick recovered the loose ball in the end zone, giving his team the early lead.
“The (Rams) surprised us, especially how well they the ball,” Manteca coach Eric Reis said.
The Buffaloes started their drive at midfield thanks to a strong return by Vincent Ferro. It didn’t take long before Campiotti found Jose Garcia for a 15-yard score.
Manteca surged ahead not long after punt returner Joel Olmos zigzagged his way to the Dixon 34. A few plays later, he and Campiotti connected on the 21-yard touchdown pass.
“I hurt my knee in that last game and was kept out of practice for most of this week,” Olmos said.
Meanwhile, the Buffaloes defense came around, with Ferrin Manuleleua coming up with a pair of quarterback sacks to keep the Rams in check.
Campiotti hit Garcia and Olmos on pass of 26- and 25- yards, respectively, and then hit Kameron Beamon on a 9-yard pass, advancing the ball inside of the Dixon 10.
Beamon capped off the drive with a 2-yard run.
Ferro and Matthew Ender both picked off passes while Beamon batted down a potential touchdown pass in the end zone to end the first half.
Andrew Thomas also had a first-half sack.
Campiotti came out of halftime by exhibiting some of his running ability. His 18-yard run to pay dirt helped pad his team’s lead, 27-7.
By the fourth quarter, he connected on seven straight passes, including a 32-yard score to Ender. Campiotti and Ender also teamed up for the two-point conversion.
“It’s huge getting that first game (of the playoffs) out of the way,” said Reis, who will now prepare his team to play the winner of El Dorado-Los Banos game next Friday at Guss Schmiedt Field.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.