By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manteca topples Weston Ranch in season finale
Buffs go out with Oropezas late scissor-kick goal
Ramon Rojas (14) of Manteca tries to break away from Weston Ranchs Mario Martinez but has his jersey tugged during the final Valley Oak League match for both teams Thursday at Guss Schmiedt Field. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Sometimes, a miss can lead to a good thing – maybe even a dream coming true.

With one goal under his belt already, Manteca senior Ramon Rojas fired another one on target in the 76th minute, but it was deflected back toward senior Edgar Oropeza. His eyes focused on the ball right in front of his face, Oropeza maneuvered for a scissors kick and got it into the net for the final goal of a 3-1 Buffaloes win over Weston Ranch for the season finale for both teams at Guss Schmiedt Field. 

“He (Rojas) set it up for me,” Oropeza said. “I have been dreaming about doing that in a real game for a long time. 

“I haven’t really practiced it, I just have seen it on TV and wanted to do it. The rebound was right where it needed to be and I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not.”

With three minutes left in the first half, Rojas worked his way through a group of defenders in front of the Cougars net and tapped the ball in for a 2-0 Manteca lead.

“I felt the momentum and I heard my parents,” Rojas said. “I just thought I had to make it. 

“This was my senior night. I told myself I had to make this last game memorable.”

Three minutes into the game, Weston Ranch (2-9-3 Valley Oak League, 4-13-6 overall) was called for tapping the ball to the Cougars goalie who picked the ball up, leading to an indirect kick for the Buffaloes (6-6-2, 11-9-3) less than 5 feet from the corner of the goal. Aron Navarrette hit the ball off the wall and David Gonzalez belted it into the net to give Manteca a 1-0 lead.

Of the six league losses for the Buffaloes, three were by two goals or less.

“The league has been tough,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “It has been very competitive. A couple of more goals in a game or two and we could have been in the playoffs.  

“It was disappointing because our goal was to make playoffs this year and unfortunately we fell a little short but it is always good to send the seniors off with a win.”

In the 24th minute a Buffaloes defender misplayed the ball near midfield, allowing Elmer Figueroa to take it the distance on a breakaway and draw Weston Ranch within 2-1.

“I saw that he missed the ball,” Ortiz said. “So, I took advantage and went for it. 

“Luckily I was able to put it away.”

Out of 20 players on the Cougars, only five will be lost to graduation. They won VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section championships the past two seasons.

“For the most part this season we have been in almost every single game,” Weston Ranch coach Francisco Cisneros said. “There have only been a couple when we have been out of it.

“We have a lot of returners for next year and I am looking forward to that.”  

Manuel Medina had 10 saves for the Cougars and Matsua Garcia-Mendez made six saves for Manteca.