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Lathrop carries momentum into Manteca game
FB--Week 5 Preview file pic
Lathrop High head coach Joe Pirillo addresses his team after the Spartans rolled to a 36-18 homecoming win over Battle of I-5 rival Weston Ranch last Friday. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

It’s homecoming week at Manteca High, and former Buffalo Joe Pirillo will take part in the festivities as the opposing coach Friday at Guss Schmiedt Field.

The 2004 Manteca grad returns to his old stomping grounds as the third-year coach for Lathrop (1-0 Valley Oak League, 2-2 overall), which is coming off a 36-18 victory over Weston Ranch. It’s the fourth straight win for the Spartans in the Battle of I-5 series.

Lathrop did it with a dominant run game spearheaded by Michael Ramos, who amassed 378 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries. It’s another test for the Manteca defense, which was punished by Dauson Booker (228 yards, two TDs) and Central Catholic last week in a 31-14 loss for the Buffaloes.

Manteca (0-1, 3-1) was done in by penalties and momentum-killing turnovers — the Buffs had three drives end on two lost fumbles and an interception near the goal line. They also lost star lineman Justin Kakala to an early ejection, and he’ll sit out for the homecoming game.

Manteca was held to 87 rushing yards, 49 coming from quarterback Gino Campiotti. He was also 11-of-22 passing for 162 yards and a touchdown, while junior receiver Jorge Cedano caught six passes for 75 yards in a breakout effort.

The defeat knocked Manteca down to No. 15 from the 8 spot in the MaxPreps NorCal Top-25 rankings, and No. 44 from 31 in the Cal-Hi Sports top-50 state rankings. The Buffaloes have another big one coming up, with reigning CIF State Division III-A Oakdale hosting them next week. 

Manteca and Lathrop will meet for the final time as VOL opponents. Lathrop, which is 0-6 against the Buffaloes, is moving to the Western Athletic Conference next year.

Here is a look at other Week 5 matchups in the area:


East Union (3-1) at Kimball (0-4):  East Union and Manteca were the area’s only teams with undefeated records going into Week 4. The Lancers’ first loss in 2017 was also its 23rd consecutive defeat to Oakdale, which rolled 42-6 at Dino Cunial Field.

East Union has a good bounce-back opportunity in Tracy where it takes on winless Kimball. The Jaguars are averaging six points per game and struggled to find their groove in a 27-7 loss at Sierra. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Gibson helped Kimball avoid a shutout with a 23-yard pass in the fourth quarter.


Sierra (2-2) at Central Catholic (3-0): The Timberwolves got their first VOL win under new head coach Chris Johnson out of the way. Next up is MaxPreps’ eighth-ranked team in Northern California. 

Johnson wanted to construct a smash-mouth offense with his pistol Wing-T, and Sierra was able to pound away at Kimball from both sides of scrimmage. Central Catholic brings its own physical brand of football, beating powerhouses St. Mary’s and Manteca on the road in its past two contests.

Booker leads the Raiders with 579 yards and five touchdowns, but sophomore quarterback Kyle Jackson, a Mantecan, gives them an additional threat out of the I-formation. He completed four of his five passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in his first varsity start last week at Manteca.

Oakdale (3-1) at Weston Ranch (1-3): After letting Lathrop’s Ramos go off for 378 yards, it doesn’t get any easier for the Cougars as they take on Cameron Cherry and the vaunted Wing-T of Oakdale.

The Mustangs had their way with East Union, with Cherry churning out 83 yards and three scores on 15 carries. The reserves took over after their first drive of the second half.

Amier Bowen continues to shine for Weston Ranch. The junior quarterback passed for 294 yards, ran for 61 and had a hand in both of the Cougars’ touchdowns at Lathrop.


Ripon Christian (2-2) at Waterford (2-2): It’s a big week for the Knights after taking a 40-0 beating from defending Southern Athletic League champ Orestimba, which held them to just 49 yards of offense.

Waterford travelled to Le Grand and prevailed 42-0 for a second straight shutout.