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Manteca gets physical in lopsided rivalry win
Bulletin football 2019
Manteca running back Kimoni Stanley tries to avoid the tackle from Manteca’s Isaac Searcy. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Jacob De Jesus routinely makes plays with his legs.
It turns out the kid has an arm, too.
Manteca’s versatile receiver unveiled the howitzer on a 30-yard touchdown heave to Sunny Dozier, and it was a game-turning play that propelled the Buffaloes to 42-12 running-clock victory at Sierra.
Limited to one catch for 10 yards, the Valley Oak League’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year found other ways to contribute. He scored Manteca’s first touchdown with a 29-yard run, finishing with 71 yards on five scampers.
The throw is what will be remembered most, however. It pushed the Buffaloes (4-1 VOL, 7-2 overall) ahead for good 14-6 with 59.4 seconds left in the first quarter, and De Jesus flexed his right arm after hitting Dozier in stride — perhaps a fitting gesture considering the physical nature of the game.
“We had a little bit of a dry spell with the passing game at that point, so to complete that pass was a great feeling,” De Jesus said. “We always joke around in practice, they call me Russell Wilson, so I got to be Russell for them.”
While the play jump started the offensive juggernaut that is Manteca, it was the start of Sierra’s decline. The Timberwolves (2-3, 6-3) had just come up with a big third-down stop, and at fourth-and-13 from the Sierra 40 Manteca elected to punt.
Sierra was penalized for a hold that occurred while the punted ball was in the air, and the officials, after a short conference, determined that there was no change of possession on the play. Manteca got the ball back with a manageable fourth-and-3, and that was when De Jesus let it fly.
Sierra coach Chris Johnson questioned the ruling but stopped short of placing blame on the referees.
“What do you do, man? I’m not going to complain about referees’ calls, that’s part of the game you can’t control and I don’t sweat that stuff,” Johnson said. “Is it disappointing? Sure. Was it the right call? I don’t know, that’s why they get paid. That was big.”
That was the start of a 35-point scoring burst that Sierra did not answer until the final play of the game — a 65-yard jaunt by Nyco Mendoza, who led the T’wolves with 119 yards on seven rushes. Kimoni Stanley (15 attempts, 87 yards) closed them in 7-6 in the opening quarter with a 71-yard run, but Manteca otherwise bottled up Sierra’s standout running back.
The Buffaloes’ defense made plays throughout, getting an interception from safety Gabriel Ramirez while linemen Elias Malio (fumble recovery) and John Badilla (forced fumble) also left their mark on this three-turnover effort. Outside linebackers Garren Genilla (fumble recovery) and Marc Buenrostro contributed a sack apiece, and Dominic Rea and De Jesus each blocked a point-after kick.
“We just haven’t held onto the football against good football teams,” Johnson said. “We had 12 turnovers against the top three teams in the league (Central Catholic, Oakdale) and you’re just not going to win like that.”
He was satisfied by the effort of his defense, which managed to limit big plays from an explosive offense that averaged 70 points in their last three outings.
That was okay with the Buffaloes, who were happy to slug it out between the tackles. Quarterback Ryan Ward (4 of 13, 24 yards) could not get untracked but did contribute 33 yards to a rushing attack that totaled 254 yards.
 “They definitely try to bang and be a tougher football team, and we just wanted to show that when it comes to smash-mouth football Manteca is the only place to be,” Manteca coach Mark Varnum said. “We wanted to win the battle up front. They packed the box on us and we were still able to get ours. If you want to take something away from us we have a lot of other weapons we can hit you with.
“We got a running-clock win, so we can’t get upset about that.”
Trabron Russell finished with 23 rushes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback Angel Garay was even involved as a ball carrier, more so than usual — he tallied season-highs in both carries (eight) and yards (60) while barreling into the end zone once.
“It’s nice to get some touches,” he said, “I know I can run the ball, and the line opened up some holes for me. All I had to do was pick a hole and get to that second level.”
Both teams are headed to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs but have one game left in the regular season. Sierra welcomes Weston Ranch, while Manteca hosts East Union.
“This was a great win for us,” De Jesus said. “We just wanted to set the tempo for the playoffs. Now we move onto Red (East Union) and onto bigger and better things.”

Manteca 14 8 13 7 — 42
Sierra       6  0  0 6  — 12

First quarter
M—Jacob DeJesus 29 run (Alejandro Tornero kick), 7:16.
S—Kimoni Stanley 71 run (kick blocked), 6:15.
M—Sunny Dozier 30 pass from Jacob DeJesus (Tornero kick), 0:59.4.

Second quarter
M—Angel Garay 3 run (Trabron Russell run), 5:38.

Third quarter
M—Garay run (kick missed), 8:48.
M—Russell 3 run (Tornero kick), 1:18.

Fourth quarter
M—Russell 1 run (Tornero kick), 3:48.
S—Nyco Mendoza 65 run (kick blocked), 0:55.