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Varsity dominates West Coast 49ers after early miscue
Quarterback Harrison Heath of the Manteca Cowboys follows his blockers during the Nor Cal All-American Youth Football Leagues junior varsity Super Bowl Saturday at East Union High. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Defense won the NorCal All-American Youth Football League championship for the Manteca Cowboys varsity squad Saturday.

The Cowboys didn’t flinch after losing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by the West Coast 49ers of Stockton, and they went on to win 18-6 at East Union High’s Dino Cunial Field.

While the defense put forth a dominating wire-to-wire effort, the offense did more than enough in the second half. Manteca trailed 6-0 at halftime before running back Val Gomez sparked the attack by grinding tough yardage down the field before punching in the team’s first score. Carlos Maltez then gave Manteca the lead on a 7-yard run.

The Cowboys emphatically shut the door in the fourth after Angel Sena connected with Deon Mackson for a 25-yard touchdown. They immediately regained possession by recovering an onside kick, and the offense ran out the clock.

Jillian Lopez, Domingo Vargas, Martin Garcia, Gomvez, Maltez and Sena were among the defensive standouts for the Cowboys.

Junior varsity

Cowboys 21, 49ers 0

Kyle Wesley set the tone for Manteca by returning the opening kickoff 97 yards to paydirt. It was the first of two scores for Wesley (11 rushes, 155 yards), who was set up by big plays from teammates.

In the team’s second-quarter scoring drive, Devin Young (7 rushes, 102 yards) took a reverse 28 yards, and Harrison Heath completed a 24-yard pass to Jake Harries (88 rushing, 52 receiving yards). Wesley went on to score from 9 yards out. The Cowboys held a 14-0 halftime lead.

Later, Harrison Heath’s 26-yard pass to Mathew Ender set up Wesley’s 47-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Matthew Pilkay recorded six tackles, forced a fumble and recovered one for the defense. Alejandro Botello and Harries each had nine tackles, Desha Henderson contributed eight and Andrew Sena picked off a pass.


Cowboys 37, 49ers 7

Quarterback Manuel Rodrigues ran for a 30-yard touchdown and threw for another that spanned the same distance, as Manteca completed its undefeated run to the league championship.

Presley DeMello was on the receiving end of Rodriguez’s TD toss. He finished with 101 total yards and three touchdowns from scrimmage and paced the defense with 10 tackles. Kimoni Stanley rushed in Manteca’s first score of the game, and Jovani Oliva chipped in one of his own.

Ismael Munoz (6 tackles, 2 sacks, fumble recovery) and Nicco Cedolini (3 tackles, sack, fumble recovery) were defensive standouts