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Manteca Jaguars drop first contest to Turlock Vikings
Manteca Jaguars running back Lechi Nkwocha follows his blocker past Simon Lewis of the Turlock Vikings Saturday at Sierra High. - photo by Photo By Dave Campbell

The Manteca Jaguars varsity team hung tough but was outlasted by the Turlock Vikings, 18-6, in the Central California Junior Football League opener at Sierra High’s Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium Saturday.

Lechi Nkwocha and Edward Gomez led the way on both sides of scrimmage, but the Jaguars gave up too many big plays on the defensive end to keep up.

Nkwocha racked up 87 rushing yards and had eight tackles on defense to go with a forced fumble. Quarterback Gomez threw for 43 yards, all to Charles Maravilla, while recording six tackles and an interception that was returned 23 yards.

David Covarrabias did his best to make the Vikings work for their points with big punts, one of which spanned 55 yards.

Manteca will look to even its record this Saturday against the Oakdale Stampede at Oakdale High.

Junior varsity

Jaguars 18, Vikings 12
Mark Paule Jr. rushed in two touchdowns, one of which went for 50 yards to put Turlock away in the fourth, and the rest was left up to the stout defensive play of the Jaguars.

Paule ended up with 81 rushing yards, and James Delgado punched in the team’s first score with a 2-yard plunge.

 Manuel DeAvila led the defense with seven tackles and two sacks; Kody Justis contributed five tackles and a sack; Delgado recorded six tackles; Carlos Juarez had five stops and three deflected passes; and Devon Higares and Noah Moral each picked off a pass.


Vikings 13, Jaguars 0
Manteca had little trouble moving the ball upfield, but getting into the end zone was another thing. John Cohen rushed for 75 yards, and Gerson Gomez added 51 for the Jaguars.

Kobe Shippley and Jaysen Reindel highlighted the defense with four and three tackles for losses, respectively.


Dominic Rea recorded 16 tackles against the Turlock Vikings’ power running game.

Cole Goforth, David Kakal, Jakub Kawakami and Isiah Ford also stood out defensively. Quarterback Lorenzo Ceja scrambled for a 26-yard gain for what was an otherwise quiet day for the Jaguars defense, though the offensive line stood its ground and did not allow any sacks.

— Jonamar Jacinto