The Manteca Jaguars knew that Merced was coming to play on Saturday.
After getting thrashed in their regular season matchup, the Bears jumped out to an early lead against the second seeded Jaguars in the first round Central California Junior Football League playoffs. A stingy defensive effort on behalf of Merced allowed them to pitch a shutout headed into the break.
But the varsity Jaguars weren’t seeded No. 2 for no reason. On the opening kickoff of the second half, Damon Lynch dashed 77-yards into the end zone to tie the score, and Marcos Castillo gave Manteca the lead when he broke a long run for the team’s second touchdown.
It was that momentum that allowed the Jaguars to roll to a 24-6 victory over the Bears and move on to the second round of the Cen-Cal playoffs.
“Our coaching staff is very proud of these boys,” head coach Mark Paule said. “This is a good group of young men, and they play like a family.”
Quarterback Austin Miller scored the Jaguars’ third touchdown, and Castillo added another score to his tally to round out Manteca’s offensive onslaught. Castillo finished with 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Lynch racked up 102 return yards in addition to his game-breaking return.
Michael Relloque led the Jaguar defense – which held Merced scoreless for three quarters – with seven tackles while Kody Justis finished with six. Carlos Juarez had five tackles and an interception, Lynch finished with four tackles and Julian Diaz and Harold Lopa each finished with three apiece.
The Jaguars will take the field again on Saturday when they face the Modesto Broncos at 7 p.m. at Modesto Christian High School.
Jaguars 12, Wildcats 6
It was a defensive showdown between the Manteca Jaguars and the Los Banos Wildcats Saturday in the first round of the Cen-Cal playoffs.
With the game scoreless at halftime, it appeared to be anybody’s game. And when Manteca quarterback Dominic Wolfson took a keeper around the end for the game’s first score, all signs were pointing towards a Jaguars victory.
The Wildcats came back and knotted the score at the end of regulation – sending the game into overtime. Jaylen Jackson scored the game-winning touchdown to send the Jaguars to the second round.
Miguel Sequeira, Kyle Lynch and Jacob Dunn all earned praise for their offensive performance, and Angel Garay, Anthony James, Wolfson, Jose Ceja and Andre Lesley anchored the defense.
The Jaguars take the field again on Saturday at 3 p.m. when they face the Modesto Broncos at Modesto Christian High School.