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Buffs win sets up VOL showdown against Oakdale
Manteca Buffaloes Jessie Smith hauls in a pass during the Buffaloes’ VOL win over the Lathrop Spartans Friday. To view additional photos visit - photo by Photo by CHRIS LEONARD
Manteca High has a clear understanding of what it needs to accomplish to finish the Valley Oak League season with a league title, and the Buffaloes continued along that path with a one-sided 47-19 win over the Lathrop Spartans Friday.

Manteca (5-0 VOL, 8-0 overall) raced out to a lightning-quick 41-6 halftime lead, filtering in the reserve units throughout the entire second half. Manteca very easily could have looked past the Spartans in anticipation to its upcoming contest with Oakdale, but that obviously was not the case.

“These guys are competitors, they want to go out there each week and see what kind of game they can throw out there,” Manteca offensive coordinator Neil MacDannald said. “Lathrop has some quality players and we know that. That is how you respect a team; you go out there and try to play your best.

“Sometimes the scores can get a little lopsided, but our guys just want to play their best.”

Brian Culpepper helped Manteca get going, scoring on the Buffaloes’ first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Matt Burrows (5-of-9, 151 yards, two TDs) hit Culpepper on a 52-yard strike to get the Buffaloes on the scoreboard in the game’s first minutes.

Robert Ladiges controlled the ground game, racing to a 63-yard touchdown just a few plays after Culpepper’s strike. Ladiges would finish with a pair of touchdowns, as did Culpepper who hauled in another Burrows score from 36-yards out.

The Buffaloes will be hosting the VOL contest of the week as the Oakdale Mustangs come to town Friday. Both clubs rest atop the VOL standings with perfect 5-0 records, and by Friday night that will not be the case.

“We mentioned it of course,” MacDannald said of the VOL clash. “The winner is going to have at least a share of the league title; that is always special to play for. Our kids are excited to play against them. I think we are all excited. We’re glad we have it home.

“It should be a packed house and a really good football game.”