All that talk about Manteca High’s two-quarterback system and its hybrid offense, and what did the Buffaloes do on Friday?
They gave a crosstown rival an old-school whooping.
Manteca scored all six of its touchdowns on the ground and its much-ballyhooed defense delivered in a 43-8 victory over Sierra at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
The Buffaloes are now 15-6 in the all-time series with three consecutive victories.
“I was real proud of our composure. It seemed like we had a lot of adversity and our guys held the course,” Manteca coach Eric Reis said. “The defense played outstanding as usual, and by the end we started to get control of the line of scrimmage. It looked like the old days up front.”
Darrion Kitson rushed for 69 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries. Ferrin Manuleleua, Dakarai Charles and Marcus Rivas also had rushing touchdowns for Manteca, now 6-0 and 3-0 in Valley Oak League play.
Each week has served as a showcase for a facet of the Buffaloes’ ever-evolving offense. This week, against a bitter crosstown rival, Manteca went back to its roots.
The Buffaloes outgained Sierra 351-99 yards, forced three turnovers and limited running back Mark Paule Jr. to just 20 yards on 13 carries.
Jimmy Galindo scored the Timberwolves’ only touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Mark Vicente. Paule tallied the two-point conversion to make it 8-8 early in the second quarter.
The rest of the game belonged to the Buffaloes, who welcome defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and CIF small-school state champion Central Catholic (6-0, 3-0) next week.
Last season, the Raiders edged the Buffaloes in overtime, a game that served as running back Justin Rice’s coming-out party. Rice scored all four of Central Catholic’s touchdowns in a 29-28 victory, at times bowling over and carrying Manteca defenders.
That matchup – Rice vs. the defense – remains just as intriguing. Since then, Rice has committed to Fresno State, while the Buffaloes have gotten younger and feistier.
The starting unit hadn’t yielded a point all season until Galindo’s touchdown catch. Reis said the defensive stand on the opening possession set the tone for the victory. Sierra moved the ball to the Manteca 6 but missed the field goal.
“That was big,” Reis added. “You could just feel the momentum switch.”
Rivas forced a fumble, Ronaldo Tijero intercepted a pass and Javaun Dunn terrorized Vicente throughout. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defensive end deflected three passes and picked off another.
“Everybody on defense is a playmaker,” Kitson said. “They wouldn’t be there if they weren’t. We just stay focused ... ready to go.”