Manteca and Ripon coasted to one-sided Week Zero wins, but their nonleague schedules are about to get tougher.
Manteca, after lambasting Lathrop 64-14, welcome Downey to Guss Schmeidt Field on Friday in a battle between two of the top public schools in the region. Ripon, meanwhile, heads to the Mother Lode with hopes of ending a losing streak to powerhouse Sonora.
Downey, a perennial contender for the now-defunct Modesto Metro Conference, aims to follow an impressive win against another Valley Oak League squad. Last week, the Knights torched East Union 39-19 behind the quarterback tandem of Bryce Gouker and freshman Beau Green, who combined to pass for 314 yards and five touchdowns.
The Buffaloes defense impressed in their preseason scrimmage at Monterey Trail and against Lathrop but is sure to have its hands full with Downey’s daunting spread offense featuring UC Davis commit Bryce Peterson (five receptions, 53 yards), 6-foot-2 Anderson Grover (seven receptions, 134 yards, three TDs) and Ethan Difuntorum (3-97-2).
Manteca also has weapons, and they each shined in their season opener. Ryan Ward completed 10 of 13 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns in his varsity debut, Jorge Cedano erupted for 178 receiving yards and two TDs and second-year junior Trabron Russell rambled for 125 yards and four scores.
The Buffaloes remain home for their next two contests against Granada of Livermore and former longtime foe Tracy before heading to Central Catholic to kick off VOL action.
Ripon forced four turnovers in its 34-0 shutout of Weston Ranch, while quarterback Ryan Daggett accounted for the majority of the offense with 177 yards rushing and 29 passing. The Indians will need a more consistent effort offensively if they want to snap a four-game losing streak to Sonora.
The Wildcats are smarting from a 49-0 defeat to Oakdale, but Ripon knows not to underestimate them. Last year, Sonora started with back-to-back losses before beating Ripon 48-33. It marked the start of a nine-game winning streak, and the Wildcats went on to claim a fourth straight Mother Lode League title.
Sonora has several standouts returning, including quarterback Jake Gookin, running back C.J. Castleman and 6-foot-4, 240-pound receiver/defensive end Evan Bearden. But Sonora’s option offense could not gain traction against Oakdale, turning the ball over four times.
It doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks for the Indians, who get Central Valley, Calaveras and Hilmar at home.
Here’s a closer look at other Week 1 matchups:
East Union at Napa: Two teams recovering from zero-week defeats against squads from the newly-formed Central California Athletic League are looking to bounce back Saturday in Wine Country.
While East Union suffered a 39-19 setback at Downey, Napa was handled 55-7 by Pitman. Napa’s lone touchdown was the result of a broken play, as second-half quarterback Isaiah Newton bobbled a snap and raced 56 yards to the end zone.
It’s a year of change for Napa, which had its mascot changed from the Indians to the Grizzlies. Formerly a Sac-Joaquin Section member, Napa is now with the Vine Valley Athletic League of the North Coast Section.
Central Valley at Sierra: In their 2017 showdown, Sierra held on for a 20-14 win in Ceres after getting an interception in the end zone with less than 10 seconds remaining. It was the first of two wins for the Timberwolves, while the Hawks finished 5-5.
Central Valley crushed rival Ceres 35-0 in its 2018 opener. Quarterback Andrew Hernandez completed 14 of 15 passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns, while Isaiah Hidalgo needed just seven carries to rack up 111 yards and two scores. The Hawks defense limited Ceres to 93 yards total.
Sierra is looking for its first touchdown following a 21-3 loss at Modesto Christian.
Lathrop at Kimball: These former Week-10 rivals were blitzed by powerhouse programs in Week Zero, with Lathrop losing 64-14 to Manteca and Kimball falling 75-12 against Tracy.
The ninth annual meeting between Lathrop and the Jaguars, who own a 5-3 series lead, will take place at West High in Tracy, and both head coaches are Manteca High graduates. Mike Kuhnlenz (Class of 2006) is in his first season with Kimball.
Limited to six yards on the ground, the Jaguars relied on QB Mateo Decoite to move the offense last week. He passed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, completing nine of 16 passes.
Stone Ridge at Ripon Christian: The Knights (1-0) of Ripon and the Knights (1-0) from Merced have gotten quite familiar with each other in recent seasons, forging a heated rivalry.
Ripon Christian has dominated this series of late, twice beating Stone Ridge last year by a combined 74-9 score. Stone Ridge Christian has revenge in mind after holding off Tamani Williams (157 yards, two TDs) and Vacaville Christian 35-12 in a zero-week victory.
Ethan Moradzedeh had a strong debut as Stone Ridge’s starting QB, completing 8 of 14 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 60 yards. Michael Barragan contributed three touchdowns, while David Boyce scampered for 104 yards.