Manteca High had a chance to clinch at least a share of the Valley Oak League boys soccer championship at Oakdale Tuesday.
Now, the Buffaloes are in danger of not having any piece of it after Oakdale, fighting for a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, pulled off a 5-2 stunner.
Oakdale went ahead for good with about 10 minutes to go and turned it into a rout as the Buffaloes (8-2-2, 17-2-2 overall) concentrated their efforts on the offensive end.
“That third goal took the wind out of our sails,” said Justin Coenenberg, who was Manteca’s co-head coach with Debbie Kohl when the Buffaloes claimed their last title in 2007. “At that point it was a must-win situation for us, so we had to move everyone up. That’s how it got out of hand.”
Manteca went into the final week of the regular season tied with Sierra for the top spot in the standings. Sierra was upset 2-1 by Lathrop earlier Tuesday, opening the door for Manteca — which previously downed Oakdale (7-4-2, 10-11-3), 2-1 — to get its hands on the crown.
“I knew about (Sierra’s loss) but I didn’t want to tell the guys before the game,” Coenenberg said. “It didn’t matter after the game, because they were pretty upset with how they lost.”
Marcos Montano gave Manteca an early lead Tuesday, and his second goal tied it at 2-2 early in the second half. Nacho Valdovinos and Ricardo Marin were credited with the assists.
Davis Harper accounted for one of Oakdale’s four second-half goals and finished with two.
Manteca still has some control over its own destiny Thursday when it hosts rival East Union.
East Union 3, Sonora 0
The Lancers (5-3-5, 8-4-6) celebrated senior night at Dino Cunial Field, but a pair of sophomores provided the scoring in a much-needed victory.
After a scoreless half, Jaime Castaneda struck in the 46th and 58th minutes, and Gustavo Vasquez capped it off with a goal in the 70th minute.
The win keeps EU’s dimming postseason hopes alive. Oakdale put itself in the driver’s seat for the VOL’s third playoff berth with its upset win over Manteca. East Union would qualify with a win over Manteca Thursday coupled with an Oakdale loss to Sonora.
The Lancers’ forfeit losses to Sonora and Kimball earlier this season could come back to haunt them.
“We’re still fighting — it’s not done yet,” EU coach Victor Polanco said.