The Manteca Buffaloes will be wearing their road white jerseys tonight when they take on Enterprise (Redding) in the CIF Division 3 Northern California football championship Saturday at Stockton’s Lincoln High School.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
And, when the captains gather at midfield for the pregame coin toss, it’ll be the Northern Section champion Hornets (12-0) who get to call it in the air. Then, when the captains return to their respective sidelines, the Buffaloes (13-1) will head toward the home side. Also, Manteca will be listed as the home team on the scoreboard; Enterprise as the visitor.
So why, exactly, won’t the Buffs be wearing their home green jerseys if they’re being treated like the home team?
“From what I understand, the CIF told Enterprise they were the home team and that they would be wearing their dark jerseys,” said Will DeBoard, Director of Communications for the Sac-Joaquin Section.
But, according to DeBoard, the CIF soon realized its mistake and called back to inform Enterprise it should wear the school’s light jerseys. The school’s colors are black and gold.
One problem: The Hornets have called up so many players from their junior varsity squad – playoff teams often promote younger players to add depth to the roster and to give them a taste of the big time – that they didn’t have enough light jerseys for everyone.
So, Enterprise will be in all black – its home uniform – but will be the visitor in this game.
That only makes sense. It’s essentially a home game for Manteca, located about 20 miles south of Stockton, and a large Manteca contingent is expected to make the 30-minute trip to Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Fans of the Hornets will have to drive about three hours – 200 miles – from Redding.
“Manteca brought a really large crowd to the D3 section final last week,” said DeBoard. “And the home side at Lincoln holds more, not a lot more, like at other places, but more than the visitor’s side.”
Dark jerseys or light, it doesn’t really matter to the Buffs. They’re ready to punch their ticket to a state championship game next week in Carson.
“We’re going to show what kind of team we really are,” said senior right guard Tyler Elliott. “We’re going to prove what we already know we’re a great team that works hard every day.”