Closing out a season with a Valley Oak League championship is difficult enough, but doing so and remaining perfect along the way is even more so. The Manteca Buffaloes freshman football team was able to do just that after closing the season with a 47-6 win over host East Union High.
Manteca got all the points they would need in the game’s first 10 minutes, when Lechi Nkwocha scored on an eight-yard-run to put the Buffaloes up for good.
“This was a great way to finish off the perfect 10-0 season,” Manteca head coach Jon Shaefer said. “Our coaching staff issued this goal to our players in early summer at our frosh minicamp.
“And our players took it to heart.”
Manteca (7-0 VOL, 10-0 overall) had little trouble sealing the deal against the Lancers, going into the halftime intermission with a 41-0 lead. Manteca got a pair of touchdowns from Nkwocha and one apiece from Hector Soto, Nick Luchetti and Andrew Gardner.
Defensively, the Buffaloes dominated in every facet, getting punishing play from their defensive line and sure tackling from the linebackers and secondary. Chase McKee swooped up an East Union fumble and returned it 25 yards for the score; while Nkwocha recovered a fumble in the endzone and Edward Gomez picked off a first half pass.
Steven Martinez registered three quarterback sacks and Soto contributed seven tackles.
“I have no problem saying how dominate our freshman football program has been,” Shaefer said. “Eight VOL championships in 12 seasons really help to back up that fact.”