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Manteca makes it two straight come-from-behind victories
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MODESTO – After turning a two-touchdown deficit into a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Manteca High senior Michael Timmons intercepted Christian Kahler’s pass at midfield, prefacing Manteca’s final defensive stand in the Buffaloes’ second consecutive come-from-behind victory, 34-33 over Enochs, at Johansen High.
Manteca (3-0) closed out its challenging preseason schedule without a blemish, fending off a determined Enochs squad behind a bruising fourth quarter from running back Robert Ladiges. Ladiges toted the ball and defenders on each of his 17 fourth-quarter carries, bruising his way to 73 yards and both of the Buffaloes’ final two touchdowns.

Place-kicker Alex Barragan proved to be the difference, converting on 4-of-4 chances on PATs, while Enochs came up short on each of its second half opportunities.

“This group definitely believes,” Manteca head coach Eric Reis said. “We were on the ropes and it was just one of those things where we had to get a stop. We ended up getting that one stop and then we scored, and that got us the momentum.

“It’s all about momentum. Enochs, my hat is off to them, they are a very good football team.”

The two clubs went into halftime locked in a 21-21 tie. Manteca had little difficulty posting points on the scoreboard, getting a brilliant first-half from quarterback Matt Burrows. Burrows chucked for 192 first-half yards and three touchdowns to Timmins.

Manteca’s defense was just as stoic, but its special teams were far from perfect. Each of the Eagles points came on behalf of a special teams unit, with Enochs blocking a punt and recovering it in the end zone for a touchdown and taking a pair of kickoff returns in for scores.

“That was a fast, fast football team and we tried everything to slow them down,” Reis said. “They got us with a blocked put and two kickoff returns, but to our credit, it would have been so easy to get frustrated by that.

“So for us to come back and answer against a second half team; I’m real proud of these guys.”

Manteca’s second-half did not get going until the final quarter. Enochs dominated out of halftime, scoring in just seven plays when Kahler found Kyle Quevedo for an 18-yard score. Manteca stalled on its next two possessions and Enochs didn’t, pushing the lead to 33-21 on a Herbert Whitehurst (19 carries for 79 yards 2TDs) score with 36 seconds in the third.

With their back to the wall the Buffaloes answered the call, putting together an 11-play, 64-yard scoring drive in 3 minutes and 19 seconds. The PAT pulled Manteca to within a touchdown. And when the team needed a defensive stop, the unit responded with a three-and-out in the next series – once again on Timmins’ pick.

“Our front seven did a good job of getting pressure on their quarterback and he had to force the throw,” Timmins said. “It was all on the front seven, they made the play happen.

“He forced the throw and I was just right there.”

Timmins’ big plays were not limited to the defensive end, as he had six catches for 110 yards and the three scores. Timmins was Burrows primary target, scoring on catches of 18, 50 and 15. Burrows finished with 259 yards on 16-of-27 passing.

“I was very confident we could come back and win this game,” Burrows said. “Because of the way we played last week when we came back. We were down nine the whole game it seemed like last week, but I feel with this group of guys we have here, we don’t quit.

“We are afraid of losing; that’s one of the biggest things we have going for us.”

Manteca will kick off the Valley Oak League schedule Friday, when they travel to Tracy to take on Kimball High. The Buffaloes have come out of a dangerous preseason schedule unscathed, hopefully setting up a run towards the VOL title.

“For us to go 3-0, especially beating a talented team like that, is a huge win for us,” Reis said. “Obviously, league starts and we are back to 0-0 next week.

“We have a lot of confidence to build upon going into our league season.”