When the Sierra High sophomore football team took care of business in a 28-0 thrashing of the Weston Ranch Cougars they had no idea what its reward would be.
But when the Sonora Wildcats recovered a botched punt snap in the Oakdale end zone with 18 seconds remaining in the game, Sonora’s 14-7 win over the Mustangs gave Sierra a portion of the Valley Oak League title.
Sierra (6-1 VOL, 8-2 overall) used a strong performance from Kayson Matella (2 TDs), Josh Reed and Will Ward to dominate the Cougars and set the plans in motion for a VOL co-championship. The team’s post-game huddle broke out in hysteria when the squad got word Sonora had done them a favor.
“Finishing 8-2 and co-champions,” Sierra head coach Dan Duke said. “I’m really proud of the young men. We had our up’s-and-downs during the season, but they came through at the end.
“I knew that we would have to overachieve, but at the beginning of the season we set this goal.”
Sierra made sure to handle its task at hand, putting the game out of reach promptly against the Cougars. Austin Acker led Sierra’s stingy defense along with Chris Yasay, Ricky Brown and Will Ward. The sophomore squad’s co-championship hands the Timberwolves complete city-wide bragging rights, with both the varsity and sophomores closing out the season as champions.
The Buffaloes finished out the season just as they wanted, beating East Union 20-14 in the two squads’ VOL finale.
Manteca went into halftime with a 14-6 lead behind a pair of touchdown runs. BJ Odell crossed pay-dirt first, scoring from 23-yards out and teammate Joe Trout got in on the action when he broke the seal for a 10-yard scoring run.
Odell would finish the contest with nearly 150 yards rushing and the first quarter touchdown, while teammate Danny Gouveia handled the receiving duties with four receptions for 43 yards.
“What a great way to end the season,” Manteca head coach Adam Liel said. “These kids played hard and finished the season strong.
“It will really be fun to watch them over the next two years.”
East Union would not roll over, but a Gouviea kickoff return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter proved to be too much for the Lancers to overcome.
“I think Danny’s (Gouviea) kickoff return won the game,” Liel said. “That was a huge play and then the defense made plays when we needed them to.”
Ripon Christian got strong play from James Vander Schaaf and Tim Ignacio, combining for nearly 200 yards of total offense. Vander Schaaf also made his presence felt defensively, turning in a team-high eight tackles in the loss.
Dalton Koslosky hauled in three passes for the Knights for 27 yards and chipped in five tackles on defense. Zach Hidalgo and Vander Schaaf scored the touchdowns for Ripon Christian.