Manteca’s “Big 3” did more than enough damage in limited action the last time the Buffaloes faced off with Sierra.
The 63-0 win for the Buffs is the most lopsided result in the 23-year history of the rivalry series, which they lead, 17-6. Manteca scored 36 points in the first quarter, prompting the visiting crowd at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium to chant “This game’s over!” at the start of the second period.
On Friday, the Timberwolves (2-2 Valley Oak League, 4-4 overall) head to Guss Schmiedt Field following an emotional 16-13 win over East Union that puts them in a good position to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Manteca (3-1, 5-3) would like to solidify a favorable seed before defending its SJS Division III title. The Buffaloes are currently ranked No. 2 in the division by CalPreps, but three undefeated Division IV squads — Capital Christian, Placer and Merced — will likely bumped them down a few spots if they win out.
Sierra, ranked No. 9 in Division IV, has been the most surprising team in the area. Second-year coach Chris Johnson rolled the dice by introducing a new offensive system, going away from the familiar Wing-T that brought him much success as coach of Ripon in favor of the triple option.
Sophomore Kimoni Stanley (975 yards, 8.3 per carry, 10 TDs) carries the load, while older brother Nick Stanley (401 yards, 11.1 per carry, two TDs) gives Sierra a change-of-pace threat.
Due to an early-season injury to the T’wolves’ starting QB, Nick was thrusted into action behind center for much of 2017 — including the beatdown administered by Manteca. Sierra was held to 59 yards of offense.
The first-half display by the 2017 Buffaloes was impressive. Then-senior QB Gino Campiotti threw for 269 yards and five touchdowns all in the first half, and Manteca reached the end zone on its first nine possessions.
Manteca’s current stars played a big part in the early onslaught: Trabron Russell scored touchdowns on his only two carries of the night, while Jorge Cedano and Jacob DeJesus each had 85 receiving yards and combined for three touchdowns. Cedano also threw for a touchdown, and DeJesus had a 72-yard kickoff return.
The Buffaloes are coming off one of their most complete efforts of the season, a 55-0 thrashing of winless Weston Ranch. They’ve won three in a row and end the regular season next week at East Union.
In other Week 9 matchups in the area:
East Union at Weston Ranch: It has been a tumultuous year for these programs that started out with high hopes.
Injuries have been part of the issue for East Union (1-3 VOL, 2-6 overall), while Weston Ranch (0-4, 0-8) underwent a midseason coaching change and had to forfeit its lone win of the season for using an illegal player.
East Union may still have a shot at the postseason despite its hiccup at Sierra but will need to win its final two games — and powerhouse Manteca is next. The Lancers are ranked 11th Division IV, and though 12 teams in the top six divisions qualify a minimum of four overall wins is required.
Hughson at Ripon: The good news for Ripon (3-1, 7-1 overall), fresh off its stunning 38-7 setback at Escalon, is that the Trans-Valley League title is in reach.
The bad news is that frontrunning Modesto Christian (5-0, 9-0) gets two weeks to prepare for its Week 10 clash with the Indians. Modesto Christian has already beaten the other TVL contenders, Escalon and Hilmar, by a combined four points.
Ripon gets a solid tune-up with Hughson (2-2, 5-3) on its final regular-season home game. The Huskies, No. 6 in Division VI, are fighting for postseason position.
Ripon Christian at Le Grand: Ripon Christian is two Southern League wins away from its first-ever 10-0 regular season.
It’s a virtual lock with the way the Knights are rolling, and their Week 10 opponent, Delhi, remains winless. Le Grand (2-3, 3-5) has won back-to-back, including last week’s 7-6 upset of Gustine.
The Bulldogs rely heavily on running back Tony Garcia, who had a season-high 42 carries for 205 yards against Gustine. For the season, he has 1,473 yards and six touchdowns on 213 attempts.
Ripon Christian is the top-ranked Division VII team by CalPreps but will have to compete at Division VI as league champ.
Lathrop at Los Banos: The Spartans (3-2, 3-5) are going to have to pull off some upsets against two of the top three in the Western Athletic Conference to sneak into the postseason. Next week, they’ll head to one-loss Mountain House.
Los Banos (4-1, 5-3) certainly has incentive not to look past Lathrop; a win Friday gives the Tigers an opportunity to claim at least a title share with in-town rival and WAC-leading Pacheco waiting for them in Week 10.