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Freshman ignites Manteca attack in varsity debut
Buffaloes get back on track with running-clock win at Lodi
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Manteca 14 20 7 7– 48

Lodi    0 0 0 6 – 6


First quarter

M — Nikko Juarez 28 run (Matthew Kong kick), 5:20

M — Matthew Tialavea 2 run (Kong kick), 2:44


Second quarter

M — Ruben Moreno 45 pass from Garrison Reis (Kong kick), 11:41

M — K.P. MacDannald 33 run (Kong kick), 5:10

M – Quinn Martinez 48 pass from Juarez (kick fail), 4:54


Third quarter

M — Juarez 65 kickoff return (Kong kick), 11:47


Fourth quarter

M — Jhadis Luckey 27 run (Kong kick), 10:06

L — Jackson Handel 12 run (no attempt), :36

LODI — Next man up.

With Manteca standout running back Bryson Davis still on the shelf due to injury, Buffaloes coach Mark Varnum brought up freshman Nikko Juarez from the junior varsity squad for Friday night’s non-league tilt against Lodi at the Grape Bowl.

Juarez’s first carry was for 12 yards off tackle and by the time the final buzzer sounded in Manteca’s 48-6 running-clock win, Juarez had rushed for one touchdown, threw for another and returned a kickoff for a third.

“Our best dude is out,” Manteca coach Mark Varnum said. “Bryson Davis should be back next week. Our best lineman and cornerback did not play tonight either.

“Obviously, the freshman (Juarez) came in and he is who we thought he was. He got his opportunities and he made the most of it.”

Juarez totaled 171 yards on 11 carries, scoring the first touchdown for the Buffaloes (3-2) on a 28-yard, first-quarter run. He added a 48-yard yard touchdown pass to sophomore Quinn Martinez in the second period and returned the second-half kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown.

“This was an experience,” Juarez said. “A lot of new things. I am glad that I am up here and contributing, having fun and scoring.”

Garrison Reis directed the Manteca offense, going 6 of 10 passing for 105 yards with a 45-yard scoring pass to Ruben Moreno.

“It was great to finally get our offense working,” Reis said. “We are putting everything together.”

Jhadis Luckey came off the bench in the second half for the Buffaloes, carrying the ball four times for 60 yards with a 27-yard scoring run. Manteca’s Matthew Tialavea added a 2-yard scoring plunge and K.P. MacDannald scampered 33 yards for the other Buffaloes score.

Tommy Perea led the Manteca defense that held Lodi to negative yardage in the first half with 11 tackles. Isaiah White added eight stops, MacDannald five and Chris Chavez four. Nick Garcia recovered a fumble.

“I felt amazing out there tonight,” Perea said. “This was much needed. We really needed this win tonight.”

Jackson Handel got the Flames (2-3) on the board on the game’s final play from scrimmage on a 12-yard run.

A member of the Buffaloes coaching staff for the last five years, Lodi coach Joe Rohles knew the brand of football Manteca played.

“All week we let our kids know what Manteca brings to the table,” Rohles said. “We challenged our guys to be physical and we couldn’t get the job done.

“That is a good Manteca team.”

The Buffaloes kick off the Valley Oak League campaign next Friday hosting Kimball at 7 p.m.