Often the smallest player on the field for Manteca, Jacob DeJesus was also its biggest threat on offense.
Opposing Valley Oak League coaches took notice and selected the 5-foot-6, 156-pound junior wide receiver as Co-Outstanding Offensive Player. He shares the honor with Central Catholic running back Dawaiian McNeely, who holds offers several from NCAA Division I programs.
DeJesus finished as the Buffaloes’ leading receiver for a second straight year, collecting 45 catches for 843 yards and 14 touchdowns. He even saw time in the backfield while starting running back Trabron Russell was out with an ankle sprain, rushing for 542 yards and five scores.
Manteca (5-1, 8-4 overall) was the VOL runner-up in Mark Varnum’s first season as head coach. The Buffaloes led the Manteca Unified schools with seven all-league first-team selections, and two of them making the cut for both offense and defense. Russell joins DeJesus on the list after rushing for 1,320 yards and 18 touchdowns.
In the Western Athletic Conference, Lathrop has two first-team selections and two on the second team.
Outright VOL champion Central Catholic (6-0, 11-2) earned most of the major awards, including MVP for two-way senior lineman Chris Mendoza, Outstanding Defensive Player for inside linebacker Junior Bravo and Roger Canepa for Coach of the Year. Oakdale running back/tight end/defensive end Caleb Kuppens.
Manteca lineman Chandler Snyder was named to the all-league first-team offense and defense, as was guard/middle linebacker Tyler Brintley. Brintley was the Buffaloes’ second-leading tackler in the regular season with 87.
Senior wide out Jorge Cedano (57 receptions, 805 yards, 10 TDs), junior outside linebacker Garren Genilla (58 tackles, 6.5 sacks) and safety Jose Ceja (99 tackles, three fumble recoveries) round out Manteca’s first-team selections.
Junior quarterback Ryan Ward, outside linebacker Marc Buenrostro and defensive back Issac Searcy are the Buffaloes’ all-league second-team players.
Sierra (3-3, 5-6) qualified for the postseason in the second year of rebuilding for coach Chris Johnson. Sophomore running back Kimoni Stanley was impressive in his debut season at the varsity level, compiling 1,375 yards (8.9 per carry) and 15 touchdowns to earn a spot on the All-VOL first team. Junior defensive lineman Holden Fishburn is on the second team.
East Union (2-4, 3-7) managed to get four first-team selections in junior offensive lineman Alex Yang, senior inside linebacker Alex Alexander (66 tackles), senior defensive lineman Eric Nascimento (37 tackles) and senior defensive back JoJo Espinosa (28 tackles). The Lancers’ second-team players are center Anthony Anaya, running back Raylen Carter, offensive lineman Gabe Herrera and outside linebacker Marquise Higgins.
Area players earning honorable mention:
Manteca: Isaiah Pope, Nick Creighton, Evans Nicolas and Kyle Lynch.
Sierra: David Higares and Elijah White.
East Union: Tealen Gaines, Trinidad Diaz, Andrew Mount, Leo Bonilla, Josh Grabowski, Warren McGovern, Shane Crawford, Joey Aguirre and Anthony Contreras.
Weston Ranch: Carlos Brock, Fletcher Pitts Jr., Manuel Torres and Duane Lilly.
Lathrop (3-4, 3-7 overall) came in fifth place in its inaugural season in the WAC.
Spartans earning all-conference first-team spots are senior inside linebacker Sebastian Iniguez and senior defensive back Maurice Saulsbury II. Offensive lineman Justin Kantun and defensive lineman Justin Romero made the second team.
Much of the major awards were split between tri-champions Mountain House (6-1, 10-2), Los Banos (6-1, 8-4) and Pacheco (6-1, 9-3), although Grace Davis quarterback Xavier Rodriguez was voted MVP after finishing second in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 3,518 passing yards to go with 37 touchdowns.
Pacheco quarterback Marcus Ordunez is Offensive Player of the Year, while fellow Panther Manvir Lally earned Offensive Lineman of the Year. Pacheco’s Dave Snapp is Coach of the Year.
Defensive Player of the Year honors went to Los Banos linebacker Patrick Nunes. Mountain House’s Keenami Maggard, who recorded a section-high 20 sacks, was picked for Defensive Lineman of the Year.