Last week, a pulverizing ground-game plagued the Manteca Buffaloes.
On Friday against visiting Stagg High, it was the Wayne Brooks-Lester Williams passing clinic that would ultimately cost the Buffaloes in a 51-47 loss.
Brooks would lead Stagg on its final drive, going 50 yards, completing five passes without an incompletion and hitting Darius Smith in the end zone putting the Delta Kings up 51-47 with just 48 seconds remaining. In true shootout fashion, Manteca would have one final chance, but came up empty when Malik Griffin sealed the deal with an interception.
Brooks shredded the Buffaloes defensive unit for 395 passing yards on 23-of-30 passing, primarily targeting Williams who finished with 199 yards and three scores. Manteca quarterback Ryan Fox led a Buffalo offensive unit that did all it could to finish on top.
Fox intercepted Brooks’ first pass of the second half and broke off a long touchdown run on Manteca’s first play from scrimmage. Fox would lead the Buffaloes to the end zone three more times in the quarter for a two touchdown lead, but one fourth quarter scoring drive from Manteca in the fourth quarter would not be enough.
“This was a heart breaker,” Fox said after the loss. “Coming so close and having a lead at the end only to lose it. I feel, even though I did well I should have done way more. I feel like it’s all on me.
“It is a team effort and we’re done with preseason and we’re going to go into (Valley Oak League) season 0-0.”
Fox finished with 248 yards of total offense, and intercepted a pair of passes for the Buffaloes secondary. He scored on a 46 yard jaunt, tossed touchdowns of 7, 13, 19 and 16 yards to go along with 117 yards on the ground and 131 through the air. TJ Galdos hauled in three of the touchdown scores and finished with 61 yards on six balls.
Eddie Smith put together a 27 carry, 199 yard effort on the ground, breaking loose for one scoring run of 57 yards. It was on Smith’s first carry of the second half and it’d given Manteca back the lead after trailing for the first time in the contest at 22-21.
Stagg scored on its first play from scrimmages, setting the tone of the night by recovering the fumbled opening kickoff and scoring on the next play. But with 447 yard of total offense and seven touchdowns, walking off the field with a loss for the second consecutive week seemed farfetched. With big-play athletes – Stagg had five different players score touchdowns – keeping the opponent out of the end zone will be Manteca’s immediate task at hand.
“We’re not used to playing this kind of football and we don’t like getting in shootout type games,” Manteca head coach Eric Reis said. “But unfortunately with the athletes that they put on the field they kind of force you to have to keep scoring.
“Obviously, we just came out on the losing end of it.”
The Buffaloes close the nonleague season with a blowout victory over Edison and a pair of revealing losses to Sac-Joaquin Section playoff hopefuls. The Buffaloes will begin the season that matters Friday when they travel to Tracy to open VOL play against Kimball.
“You play the preseason to get ready for league,” Reis said. “We could have put cream puffs on our schedule, but that was a good football team. That is a very good football team. I could be 3-0 playing horrible teams but we’re playing up and we’re playing good people.
“Hopefully, you learn from it and get better.”