Manteca at Los Banos
Cesar Chavez at Sierra
Lathrop at Capital Ch.
Weston Ranch at Tokay
Ripon Christian at Ripon
East Union and Sierra both rebounded from tough losses last week with resounding wins.
Manteca looks to do the same on Friday. The Buffaloes (1-1) head to Los Banos following their Week 1 thriller that ended in defeat. Wilcox of Santa Clara visited Guss Schmiedt Field and escaped with a 28-27 overtime win with help from a botched snap on Manteca’s attempt to win it with a 2-point conversion.
Manteca will also have revenge in mind on Friday. Last year, Manteca and Los Banos renewed their old Valley Oak League rivalry. The Tigers won 42-28 on their way to an 11-2 season.
Also on Friday is the Ripon Rivalry Bowl between Ripon Christian and Ripon High at Stouffer Field. Sierra hosts Chavez, while Weston Ranch (at Tokay) and Lathrop (at Capital Christian) aim to get on track after losing their season openers at home. East Union is idle as it prepares for its final nonleague contest against Modesto Christian.
The good news for Manteca is that RB James Sams (2,006 yards, 21 TDs) and many others from Los Banos’ talented 2012-13 class of seniors have graduated. Sams pounded the Buffaloes for 354 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries. He was one of nine returning offensive players last year, including QB Chris Corpuz (2,170 yards, 33 TDs, 7 INTs) and receivers Keith Turner (648 yards, 10 TDs) and Daeton West (751 yards, 7 TDs).
That’s a lot of offense to replace.
While Manteca is the more experienced team this time around, that doesn’t mean Los Banos is short on talent. Enter sophomore David Walker, the son of the former LB star with the same name. He was part of the sophomore team as a tight end last year when Los Banos came up short in a 47-30 shootout at Manteca.
The Tigers have ridden their young stud to an undefeated start that includes wins over Escalon (20-3) and Roosevelt of Fresno (47-27). Last week in Fresno, Los Banos was down 21-13 at halftime before erupting in the second half. The 6-foot-3 workhorse toted the ball 25 times for 265 yards and two scores. That puts him at 344 yards (9.1 per carry) and four touchdowns on the season. Nine of Los Banos’ 10 touchdowns have been scored via the run, and the other was on defense.
Manteca should be used to facing top running backs by now. The Buffaloes fared well overall against Central Valley’s Ja’Quan Gardner for the most part, but he was able to break enough long runs to finish with 117 yards and TD on 15 tries. Manteca won decisively, 47-20. Last week, Wilcox standout Delshawn Mitchell rushed for 213 yards and two scores.
Los Banos tight end Alec Barcellos (6-3, 185 pounds) returns for his second varsity stint as a junior. Seniors Tyler Cicairos and Isac Ruiz, along with Barcellos, are the top targets for junior QB Loggan Pimentel. Lineman Joshua Priest (6-0, 250), FB/MLB Bailey Rodriguez (6-0, 225), LB Ryan Selfridge and DB Chris LoneTree lead a veteran defensive unit that held powerhouse Escalon to a field goal in Week Zero.
Elsewhere in Week 2:
• Ripon Christian (1-0) walks across the street to Ripon (2-0) for their eighth annual showdown. Ripon has kept the perpetual Ripon Rivalry Bowl trophy for all seven of the previous years, mostly recently winning, 62-13.
The Knights blew out Elliot Christian last week, 69-6. Ripon will look to keep its shutout streak going after blanking Bret Harte and Linden by a combined 93-0 score.
•At Sierra (1-1), the Timberwolves face struggling Chavez (0-2). The Titans have yet to reach the postseason since debuting as a varsity squad in 2006 and enjoyed their only winning campaign (7-3) in 2007. They have lost to Stockton rival Edison (36-21) and Gregori (39-13). Sierra was impressive in its 55-14 thrashing of Grace Davis last week.
• Lathrop (0-1) opened its season in Week 1 with a 21-12 loss to Liberty Ranch but showed improvement from its winless 2012 season. The road gets tougher moving forward, however, starting with Sacramento’s Capital Christian (2-0) on the road.
The Cougars are led by star lineman and Division I prospect Nifae Lealao (6-6, 290) and RB Justice Shelton-Mosley (267 rushing, 92 receiving yards, 6 TDs). After Friday, Ripon awaits the Spartans.
• Weston Ranch (0-1) endured a 48-40 loss to Franklin last Friday, but the offense at least gained some needed momentum with a revamped passing game after struggling to score points in 2012. Tokay (2-0) hosts the Cougars at the revitalized Grape Bowl in Lodi.
Tokay has its own vaunted passing attack led by third-year QB Kelse DePauli-Wiltse, who is protected by a stout and veteran line.