The Buffaloes' defense has given up just 20 points in two Sac-Joaquin Section playoff games and is a big reason why the team is heading to the Division III championship game on Friday.
Last week, the third-seeded Buffs traveled to Placer County for their semifinal matchup with No. 2 Lincoln and pounded their way to a 28-3 win. Free safety DePrater led the way with 13 total tackles (six solo) and forced a fumble for one of two forced turnovers that kept the host Fighting Zebras scoreless in the second half.
“We are starting to jell together a little bit more,” DePrater said. “We found our spots, we were more keyed in, locked in and talking to each other.”
For the season, DePrater has a team-high 100 total tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and eight passes defended.
“He’s not very big but he’s fearless,” Manteca coach Mark Varnum said. “He’s one of the most coachable guys we have. If there’s anything we ask of him, he’s not afraid to throw his head in there. He had a huge game for us Friday night.”
Manteca (9-3) plays Valley Oak League rival Oakdale (9-2), the No. 1 seed, for the Section title Friday night at St. Mary’s of Stockton.