What is old is new again.
The Manteca Jr. Buffaloes are the newest youth football team in Manteca — and they are also the oldest.
Beginning in the early 1990s as the Delta Rebels, they recently adopted the mascot of the Jr. Timberwolves before transforming into the Jr. Buffaloes following a one-year layoff because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As everyone knows we were the Jr. Timberwolves,” Jr. Buffaloes president Leon Munoz said. “For whatever reason it didn’t work. We met with (Manteca High varsity coach Mark) Varnum and he presented what he envisioned, kind of like what he grew up with up in Washington where there was continuity from 6 years old all the way through high school.
“So with our name change we now call Manteca High home and we are beginning to implement their system at all levels. Obviously it will take a few years to learn everything and I think it is a good thing for us and it will be a good thing for them.”
The Jr. Buffaloes boast in excess of 30 players at three levels and nearly 30 at the varsity along with 28 cheerleaders. They compete in the Norcal Youth Football and Cheer league along with the Manteca Cowboys and Lathrop Jr. Spartans will have their jamboree Saturday at Johansen High School in Modesto and open on the road Saturday, Aug. 21, in Tracy against the Central Valley 49ers.
The Cowboys have great numbers at all levels with 120-plus players in the program along with 50 cheerleaders.
“Our varsity looks pretty good,” Cowboys president Eddie Lopez said. “They will be one of our better teams this year.
“Our JV should be strong but they are a little undersized on the line. But talent-wise it is all there.”
The Cowboys will join the Jr. Spartans in the other NYFC jamboree Saturday at Kimball High School in Tracy and open league play on Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Grape Bowl in Modesto against the Lodi Flames.
The Jr. Spartans host the Modesto Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 21, at East Union High School and will have the rest of their home games at Lathrop High.
In its 50th-anniversary year, the Delta Youth Football League will welcome the River Islands Riptide in their inaugural season along with returning long-time DYFL member Manteca Chargers.
The Riptide and Chargers will go to the Grape Bowl in Lodi on Saturday and Sunday for the DYFL jamboree and the Riptide will host the South Stockton Vikings on Sunday, Aug. 22, at Manteca High. The Chargers — with 76 players and 44 cheerleaders — have their first game Saturday, Aug. 21, on the road against the Weston Ranch Cougars.
The two Ripon teams — the Knights and the Chiefs — are in different leagues with the Chiefs in the Motherlode Valley Football League and the Knights in the Trans-Valley Youth Football League.
The Knights have already had their jamboree and will open the season Saturday against the Central Valley Outlaws at Riverbank High School with their largest football contingent ever —123 players along with 47 cheerleaders.
The Chiefs have 76 players and 44 cheerleaders and will host the MVFL jamboree on Saturday while hosting Sonora to kick off league play on Saturday, Aug. 21.