Whenever Central Catholic needed a big play in last week’s 32-14 Valley Oak League win over Manteca, two-way star DaRon Bland was there to deliver.
Bland gave Central Catholic a 12-7 lead with his 94-yard kickoff return. After the Buffaloes went ahead on a kickoff return of their own, Bland again put the Raiders on top with a 69-yard gallop, making it 18-14.
Late in the first half, with Manteca driving and poised to reclaim the lead, Bland picked off a pass in the end zone and returned it 104 yards to give the Raiders a two-score margin, 25-14, as time expired in the first half.
Officially, Bland touched the ball five times against Manteca, and scored on three sensational plays.
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“Definitely, I feel capable of making those types of plays,” said Bland, who picked off two passes and returned them for scores in last year’s state title game, which capped a 16-0 season and the Raiders’ fourth consecutive state title. “I’m always looking for the opportunity.”
Parents: Adrienne Tompkins and Dwight Bland
Place of birth: Modesto
Favorite class: Ag Government
Favorite teacher: Ms. (Kristina) Captein
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite athlete: Russell Westbrook
Favorite superhero: Spider-Main
Favorite app: Snapchat
Favorite emoji: The crying laughing one
Can’t stop listening to: Chance the Rapper
3 things you’d want on a deserted island: Food sources, friends, girls
Finish this sentence: I want to be … “successful”