The three high school sophomore football teams in town will have some say in who will be crowned champion of the Valley Oak League later this week.
Sierra High retained its share of the lead by walloping Lathrop 48-14 at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium this past Friday.
The Timberwolves (5-1, 7-2 overall) rebounded well from their Week-8 loss at Sonora, which had forced a three-way tie for first place with Manteca. East Union’s stunner over Sonora Friday whittles the title race down to the Squires’ two crosstown rivals.
Sierra got good contributions from many players in its blowout win. Reid Maestas, Jon Montoya and Anthony Cervantez each scored a rushing touchdown. Dakota Conners tallied one with a pass reception, while Bryson Sanders scored one through the air and the other on the ground.
Sierra did a lot of its damage up the middle led by centers Chuck Good and Bryan Romero and guards Austin Brice and John Adams. Aaron Theil, Hunter Peterson, Jose Reyes, Keano Calderon, Josh Webb and Ike Gutierrez were among the defensive standouts.
Sierra can secure at least a share of the VOL title this upcoming Friday with a victory over visiting Weston Ranch.
Manteca 38, Oakdale 35
A high snap on a punt play with around 30 seconds to go led to the final points for host Oakdale, while Manteca (5-1, 7-1) held on to stay in contention for a possible co-championship.
Brandon Dabney (3 of 5, 77 yards) connected with Devonte Milligan for a 32-yard catch-and-run touchdown that gave the Buffaloes enough breathing room to make up for special-teams miscue at the end.
Manteca never trailed as its offense scored on all but two drives. Alex Laurel (11 rushes, 118 yards, two TDs) and Michael Gonzalez (16-111) accounted for almost all of the team’s 274 rushing yards, and Matt Wilkerson added a 2-yard score.
Buddy Reeder (6 of 8, 95 yards, two TDs) and Dabney both provided efficient quarterback play, with Laurel (four receptions, 81 yards), Milligan (2-65) and Elijah Cooper (1-11) each reeling in touchdown scores.
East Union 27, Sonora 7
The Squires (3-3, 5-3) made their biggest statement of the year at Dino Cunial Field Friday and could make another in their season finale across town at Manteca High.
The key was East Union’s dominance of the ground game on both sides of scrimmage, as Sonora was unable to effectively run its usually-unstoppable dive option.
Squire running back Victor Lopez racked up one more rushing yard (148) than Sonora did in total offense to go with two touchdowns.
Jake Danhoff completed three of five passes for 116 yards, 60 of which came on a 60-yard bomb to Robbie Gloeckler with 8 seconds to go in the first half. Isaiah Gordon (2 of 3, 31 yards) also got some work in behind center and hooked up with Clay Cuneo for a 16-yard score.