LIVERMORE — The victory had long been secured Friday at Curt Lehew Memorial Field, but there was still a bit of drama in the closing seconds of Manteca’s 50-0 bounce-back victory over Granada.
Matadors running back Josiah Knight (19 rushes, 98 yards), bottled up for much of the contest, broke into the open field on a 59-yard jaunt before Manteca’s Egnacio Vera chased him down to the 9. Two plays later, Garren Genilla preserved the shutout with an interception.
It was a fitting capper to a complete effort for the Buffaloes (2-1), who outgained Granada 409-86 in offensive yardage and scored on seven of their eight drives. Quarterback Ryan Ward connected on his final nine pass attempts, finishing 13 of 15 for 198 yards and five touchdowns. Trabron Russell added 13 scampers for 126 yards and two scores to the balanced assault.
“That’s the real us right there,” Manteca coach Mark Varnum said, as his Buffaloes move on from last week’s disheartening 54-48 overtime loss to Downey.
He was especially pleased with the play of his linemen, who were outsized in the trenches by the likes of 6-foot-6, 245-pound Tyler Morano, among others.
“Our mindset was to get our respect back,” diminutive defensive lineman Evans Nicolas said. “They were big and physical, but we couldn’t worry about that.”
Nicolas helped Manteca establish the blowout early with his blocked punt in the second quarter. The ball was recovered on the Granada 3, and Russell pounded his way into the end zone a play later to extend the Buffaloes’ lead to 22-0. They scored three touchdowns in the final 5 minutes, 30 seconds of the second quarter and led 29-0 at halftime.
Electric receiver Jacob DeJesus had his usual highlights, finishing with six catches for 94 yards and three touchdowns to go with three rushes for 64 yards.
He showed off his burst when adjusting to a high-arching toss from Ward, crossing the field from left to right on the 31-yard scoring play midway through the second quarter. The 5-6 DeJesus later beat a defensive back in the end zone on a 27-yard jump ball to start the scoring in the second half.
“The line gave me all the time I needed tonight, and when you put (De Jesus) out in space you just let him do his thing,” Ward said. “My job is to just get him the ball.”
Sunny Dozier is emerging as another reliable threat in the passing game for Manteca. He caught the other two touchdown passes, ending with four receptions and 79 yards.
“He has worked hard all season,” Ward said of Dozier. “He didn’t get to play much last season but he’s a huge factor for us now. It’s awesome to have those threats on the receiving side.”
Granada (1-2), which has been part of three straight shutouts, struggled to get untracked offensively with returning quarterback J.J. Knight out with an ankle injury. Zak Gooby and sophomore Brandon Shah split time behind center.
The Matadors ran just six passing plays — the first was a completion negated by penalty, and the next two resulted in sacks for Manteca outside linebackers Marc Buenrostro and Genilla.
“They’re a Wing-T team so they’re going to run it anyway,” Varnum said. “They have a good program with some tough guys, but we had something to prove tonight.”
Manteca 7 22 14 7 — 50
Granada 0 0 0 0 — 0
M—Trabron Russell 2 run (Kevin Thornburg kick), 4:12.
M—Jacob DeJesus 31 pass from Ryan Ward (Russell run), 5:39.
M—Russell 3 run (Thornburg kick), 3:38.
M—Sunny Dozier 5 pass from Ward (Thornburg kick), 0:17.1.
M—DeJesus 4 pass from Ward (Thornburg kick), 9;47.
M—DeJesus 27 pass from Ward (Thornburg kick), 4:51.
M—Dozier 21 pass from Ward (Thornburg kick), 8:24.