TRACY — For the second week in a row, the Manteca Jr. Timberwolves junior varsity team turned a two-touchdown, fourth-quarter deficit into a playoff overtime victory to advance in the Delta Youth Football League playoffs.
They upset the top-seeded Tracy Raiders 28-26 in the South Conference championship game Saturday at Wayne Schneider Stadium.
Late in the third quarter, Nikko Nunez got Manteca on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run to narrow the Tracy lead to 12-6. With 1:30 left in the game, David Kakala pulled in a pass from Vic Murillo and finished off a 55-yard play that along with an Eric Miramontes conversion made the score 20-14.
Murillo was not finished. He hit Zach Curry with a game-tying 45-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left to knot the score at 20, and trailing 26-20 in overtime Murillo again found Curry, this time for a 10-yard score, tying the game at 26.
This brought Miramontes in to try the conversion kick which he lofted between the uprights for the thrilling win.
Miramontes almost did not get the chance for his heroic kick. After Curry’s touchdown catch in the final minute Tracy moved down the field and threatened to score when Evie Hunter had a huge sack to end regulation.
David Vega led the Manteca defense with six tackles. Murillo had five tackles and Cody Ward and Zack Curry had four apiece.
The Jr. Timberwolves will play the South Stockton Vikings in the DYFL Super Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 5, at Liberty High School in Brentwood at 2 p.m.
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Luke Abrew made three interceptions and accounted for two touchdowns for the Jr. Timberwolves while teammate Ryan Vanarsdell ran for 205 yards and had a 55-yard kickoff return to start the game.
Vanarsdell pulled in a 77-yard touchdown pass from Abrew (3 of 6 passing, 105 yards; two carries, 70 yards) and ran one in from 72 yards. Abrew added a 57-yard touchdown run.
Mitch Lill had a devastating block that sprung Gianni Addiego for a touchdown on a 60-yard punt return and Addiego had a 23-yard touchdown run. Tommy Perea (seven carries, 65 yards) added touchdown runs of 1 and 50 yards.
Sammy Haena made two interceptions for Manteca. Lill tallied seven tackles, Alijah Cota six, Caden Salas and Addiego five apiece, Eric Fitch four and Turon McQuarters and Nolan Calmes three apiece.
The Jr. Timberwolves will play the Northwest Trojans in the DYFL Super Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 5, at Liberty High School in Brentwood at noon.