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Manteca schools on brink of making history
Ripon, Sierra must win out for shot at postseason
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When was the last time all three Manteca schools were in the playoffs for football?

Keep those thinking caps stored, because it has never before happened. History could be in the making for in town over the final two weeks of the regular season.

Manteca High (5-0, 8-0 overall) is already has its ticket punched, but the perfect record, Valley Oak League title and Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff bracket’s top seed will all be on the line this Friday when it hosts rival Oakdale (5-0, 6-2).

East Union (3-2, 6-2) has already reached the magic win total of six along with the requisite two league victories. Last year, when the section unveiled its current playoff format, only one team failed to make the postseason with a 6-4 record.

The Lancers, who have already established their first winning season since 1999, would like to eliminate the gray area. A win Friday at Sonora (3-2, 5-3) or on Nov. 5 against Manteca guarantees a playoff spot.

Sierra (3-2, 4-4), despite wins over EU and Sonora, remains on the bubble. The good news is that the toughest parts of the schedule are behind the Timberwolves with 2-8 Lathrop and 1-7 Weston Ranch rounding out their season.

Ripon (2-2, 4-4) is in the same boat, needing to win out in the Trans Valley League to have a chance at securing a Division IV playoff spot.

The Indians did themselves a huge favor last week by getting past defending TVL, section and state small-schools champion Modesto Christian, 20-0. Next is winless Riverbank followed by a do-or-die matchup on the road against exciting QB Ravonne Pious (59.3 completion percentage, 1,555 yards, 18 TDs; 543 rushing yards, 8 TDs) Orestimba in Week 10.
The biggest matchup in the area down the final stretch, of course, is Manteca-Oakdale.

Oakdale dropped two of its three non-league contests, but those defeats came against Division-I powerhouses Turlock and Granite Bay.

The co-defending league champions have been on fire since, re-establishing their physical play on defense and efficiency on offense with their three-prong Wing-T that featuring Daniel Linder (870 yards, 8.4 average, 9 TDs), bruiser Marcus Hernandez and sophomore Marcus Northcutt.

Manteca has the most balanced attack in league with workhorse Robert Ladiges (1,239 yards, 21 TDs) and QB Matt Burrows (58 percent, 1,498 yards, 17 TDs).