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Weston Ranch coach missing Manteca homecoming
FB--Week 5 Preview file pic
Manteca running back Kameron Beamon takes on Daniel Jimenez of Enochs in a Week 2 contest. The Buffaloes leading rusher has a tough test ahead against Weston Ranch. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Seth Davis won’t be able to make Manteca High’s homecoming game Friday at Guss Schmiedt Field.

The Manteca alumnus and current Weston Ranch head coach is serving a one-game suspension after he was ejected in the first half of last Friday’s 45-7 loss to Central Catholic. Davis disputed a holding penalty that negated Terry Snipes’ 33-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Harper and held up Central’s 17-0 lead.

“It’s the first time for me getting ejected and it’s a learning experience,” Davis said during practice Wednesday night. “I felt at the time I had to stick up for my kids. Hopefully that shows them how much I care for them and they give it back on Friday night.”

Davis said defensive coordinator Matt O’Donnell will fill in as head coach.

“It’s not a one-man show over here,” Davis said. “One way or the other, with or without me the guys are going to be ready. I’m just the guy who calls timeouts.”

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Weston Ranch (0-1, 3-1 overall), which gets to square off with another Valley Oak League heavyweight in Manteca (1-0, 4-0) — tabbed at No. 24 in the MaxPreps top-25 Northern California rankings. The Buffaloes have shut out two straight opponents, including last week’s 42-0 win at Kimball, and haven’t come close to being challenged so far.

Manteca coach Eric Reis expects that to change Friday.

“When you see their score against Central Catholic you would think that’s normal, but when you watch the game you realize the score is pretty deceiving,” Reis said. “Central Catholic had some nice plays from (Jared) Rice, but other than that they weren’t moving the ball on them.”

Rice took the opening kickoff 85 yards to paydirt and later scored on a 29-yard interception return to help the Raiders build their early lead. Offensively he rushed for 179 yards and two more touchdowns.

“We did a great job of holding Central Catholic, but as we know there are three phases to the game,” Davis said. “Our defense held them to three points in the first half, but obviously you can’t take those other points off the board.”

Davis has modeled his current team after the one he once played for. Both bring punishing running games behind big and physical linemen, and both take pride in their hard-hitting defenses. 

Manteca running back Kameron Beamon (468 yards, six TDs) found the end zone three times last week at Kimball and has been a consistent producer for the offense, but Reis said junior quarterback Gino Campiotti will be key in forcing Weston Ranch’s playmaking defense to cover the entire field.

“We’ve been able to run the ball pretty successfully, but we’re still in the process of getting the passing game dialed in,” Reis said. “To beat this kind of team we’ll need to have balance.”

The Cougars hope to have a better showing offensively after being limited to 168 yards against Central Catholic. Cori Floyd (432 yards, four TDs) and Harper (266 yards, three TDs), a 6-foot-3 receiver, lead the offense, but two-way standouts Bryant Bowen and Andrew Farley are the heart and soul of the team. 

Weston Ranch has never previously beaten the Buffaloes in 12 meetings. The Cougars are seeking their first playoff berth since 2005 but have a tough road beyond Friday’s game with undefeated East Union, Battle of I-5 rival Lathrop and perennial VOL contender Oakdale looming in that order.

“They’ll be super hyped up for this one anyway, but now they’re team that will try to win one for coach,” Reis said of Weston Ranch. “There will be a lot of emotions. It’s our homecoming, so we better be able to match theirs.”

Manteca isn’t the only area school celebrating homecoming this week. Across town, Sierra hosts rival East Union in a game brimming with postseason implications. 

Here’s a closer look at the 22nd Sierra-East Union matchup and the rest of the Week 5 contests:


East Union (1-0, 4-0) at Sierra (0-1, 3-1)

Sierra hosts East Union for homecoming for the second time in three years and is looking to extend its 12-year dominance of the Lancers. The Timberwolves hold a 16-5 all-time series lead.

Last year, Sierra celebrated a 54-28 win on East Union’s homecoming night and went on to capture Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and CIF State Division IV-A championships. The Timberwolves had a nine-game winning streak snapped in a competitive 28-25 loss to Oakdale last week.

East Union is riding high after putting a halt to a 10-game skid in league play, outlasting dangerous Lathrop 26-14. The Lancers are 4-0 for the first time since 2010, and two more wins gets them to the playoffs.


Lathrop (0-1, 1-3) at

Central Catholic (1-0, 2-2)

Lathrop has little room for error moving forward after losing three straight competitive games. 

One of the big roadblocks in its trek for a second consecutive postseason appearance is four-time state champion Central Catholic. The Raiders went 1-2 against parochial powers before righting the ship at Weston Ranch last week.

Central Catholic has a talented backfield tandem featuring Montell Bland (319 yards, six TDs) and Rice (516 yards, five TDs) that Lathrop’s battle-tested defense will key on. The Spartans allowed 246 rushing yards in their loss to East Union.


Southern League

Waterford (1-0, 3-1) at Ripon Christian (0-1, 1-3)

Upstart Waterford travels for the first time after four home games to start the season. Last Friday, the Wildcats snapped a 14-game league losing streak with a 21-7 win over Le Grand.

It’s a big week for Ripon Christian, which has dropped three straight for the first time since 2011. The Knights played defending SL champion Orestimba tough but could not muster enough offense in a 17-7 defeat.