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One-man show too much for Cowboys
David Juarez (17) of the Delta Rebels junior novice football team runs away from Tyson Roberts of the Tracy Cougars in a 37-7 loss on Sunday. For more youth football, see Page B-8. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/ The Bulletin

Manteca Cowboys president Eddie Lopez spouted all the usual superlatives to describe his opponent following a 41-27 loss on Saturday.

Too big.

Too fast.

Too strong.

Lopez wasn’t talking about his a collection of talent, but rather one player. The Pittsburgh Junior Pirates possessed a dynamo at running back that proved to be the difference-maker.

“Defense had their hands full,” Lopez wrote in an e-mail to The Bulletin. We couldn’t contain their running back. He was too fast, too big, too strong.”

The Cowboys kept pace for two quarter, trading touchdowns with the Pirates as the game went into the break tied at 27-all.

Quarterback Joseph Espinosa rushed for touchdowns of 10 and 12 yards, and also had a 36-yard scoring strike with LaFonzo Mackson (150 yards receiving).

Mason James had 15 carries for 86 yards. His 15-yard rushing touchdown closed the scoring for the Cowboys, who were shut out in the third and fourth quarters.

Espinosa (11 carries, 80 yards) finished with 150 yards passing, but had three passes dropped in the end zone down the stretch.

Mackson anchored a defense ravaged by the Pirates’ ace. He finished with six tackles. Braden Hardcastle (four tackles), Miguel Valenzuela (four tackles), Mason James (three tackles) and Tyler Slaughter (three tackles) also earned Lopez’s praise.