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Challenges ahead in Buffalos matchup against Enochs
Enochs standout running back Herbert Whitehurst blew up for 151 yards and four touchdowns in a Week Zero win at Sierra High. Manteca will try to contain him Friday at Johansen High in Modesto. - photo by Bulletin file photo


• WHAT: Manteca (2-0) vs. Enochs (2-1)
• WHEN: Friday
• WHERE: Johansen High School
• KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.
• DIRECTIONS: Highway 99 South; exit Standiford/Beckwith Rd. or Briggsmore Ave.; right on Claus Rd.;  School located on left-hand side at 641 Norseman Drive.

If the Manteca Buffalos are going to open the Valley Oak League season with an unblemished 3-0 mark they are going to have to stop a talented and proven Enochs High offensive unit.

Enochs (2-1) will come into the contest on the heels of an eye-opening performance against the Hilmar Yellowjackets, where Enochs rolled up nearly 500 total yards of offense and six touchdowns against a Hilmar defense that hadn’t surrendered six scores in two games.

The Buffalos (2-0) turned some heads as well in their last-second victory over Tracy last Friday. Manteca’s offensive unit was able to smile, racking up 460 yards of offense and seven touchdowns. Yet, the points the Buffaloes scored, or the victory didn’t stand out as much as the team’s costly four turnovers.

“As happy and euphoric as the win was for us, we just had so many mistakes,” Manteca head coach Eric Reis said. “We had like four or five turnovers in that game. So for us, we know the honeymoon’s over, we have to get this stuff cleaned up.

“We were fortunate against Tracy, but you can’t expect to beat quality teams like that.”

The Eagles would definitely have to be considered a quality team. The group opened the season with a thrilling come-from-behind win over the defending co-VOL champion Sierra Timberwolves. Enochs trailed Sierra 25-14 at the half, only to shut Sierra out the final two quarters and ride the services of senior running back Herbert Whitehurst to a 35-25 victory.

Whitehurst proved to be the difference, rushing for 168 yards on 28 carries, most of which came in the second half. Whitehurst’s talents have resorted back to their original form, as the former wide receiver hauled in four passes for 99 yards and a score in the win over Hilmar.

Enochs is heading into its fourth contest, whereas Manteca, who did not jump at a Week Zero contest, is taking the final steps to lead up to the VOL opener against Kimball Sept. 24 in game three.

“I like the extra week that we’ve had,” Reis said. “I like the way we set up to have two scrimmages. I thought with those two scrimmages it really worked out well for us. We saw some really good teams and good variety of teams.

“I definitely saw where that extra week improved us.”

Stopping the Enochs offense will be atop the Buffaloes agenda. Enochs is multi-dimensional – quarterback Christian Kahler was 16-of-19, 368 yards and four TDs at Hilmar – so containing Whitehurst will not be Manteca’s only task at hand.