High School Football

My town, too: Central Catholic sophomore QB, Manteca native shines in win vs. Buffs

Central Catholic-Manteca: Game highlights

Game highlights from Friday night's Valley Oak League opener between the Central Catholic and Manteca high school football teams played in Manteca. The Raiders won 31-14.
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Game highlights from Friday night's Valley Oak League opener between the Central Catholic and Manteca high school football teams played in Manteca. The Raiders won 31-14.

A quarterback from Manteca owned the night at venerable Guss Schmiedt Field. It just wasn’t the QB everyone came to see.

In an unlikely dual, Central Catholic High sophomore Kyle Jackson outshined Manteca senior Gino Campiotti in his first varsity start.

Jackson capped a 16-play drive with his first career touchdown and then led Emilio Guajardo up the seam for another score as the Raiders mauled the Buffaloes in front of a capacity crowd, 31-14.

Dauson Booker recorded his first career 200-yard game and the defense forced three turnovers inside the red zone, culminating in a thorough victory over Manteca.

“We don’t have all the best players like everybody thinks,” Central Catholic coach Roger Canepa said, “but we got a lot of hard workers who are working hard. We’ve won two great football games ... back to back ... on the road.”

Adrian Cuevas forced two fumbles at the goal line and Guajardo jumped a pass inside the 5-yard line in the fourth quarter, sealing the win with an interception.

Sights and sounds from Friday night's Valley Oak League opener between the Central Catholic and Manteca high school football teams played in Manteca. The Raiders won 31-14.

Cuevas said he lost his starting spot earlier in the week and played with a chip on his shoulder. He separated Vincent Ferro from the ball at the 1-yard line in the second quarter and then stripped Presley Keltner in the third, robbing Manteca of another touchdown.

“I guess I’ve always got to play with a chip on my shoulder,” Cuevas said.

Central Catholic (3-0, 1-0) and Manteca (3-1, 0-1) entered the game tied at No. 2 in The Bee’s large-school poll, but the Raiders continued their dominance in this budding rivalry with a vintage performance.

The Raiders have won four straight over Manteca since joining the Valley Oak League and never trailed in their second consecutive road victory over a defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion.

“We’ve been on the road twice now against two great football teams and that kind of shows the character of our team,” Canepa said. “We’re getting better.”

Two weeks ago, Central Catholic marched into Stockton and stunned state-ranked St. Mary’s, the defending Division I champion. On Friday, a sophomore quarterback embodied the Raiders’ promise and potential.

Jackson started in place of senior Theo Azevedo, who injured his throwing shoulder against St. Mary’s. Canepa said Azevedo is expected to miss at least two more weeks, giving Jackson time to build on his breakout performance.

“Our sophomore quarterback was money,” Canepa said.

Jackson was 4 of 5 in the first half for 73 yards, including a 33-yard scoring strike to Guajardo to make it 21-7 at the half. Jackson also scored on a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter, capping a 16-play, 65-yard drive that chewed up 8 minutes, 32 seconds.

Jackson scored on fourth-and-goal, illustrating Canepa’s trust in the Manteca native. Jackson was raised in the Manteca Charger and Manteca Junior Buffalo programs.

“If we get stuck there on fourth-and-1, people are probably going to fire me (for) not taking a field goal,” Canepa said. “We ran a play we don’t run much – quarterback sneak.”

Postgame interviews from Friday night's Valley Oak League opener between the Central Catholic and Manteca high school football teams played in Manteca. The Raiders won 31-14.

For a third consecutive game, Booker was scintillating. He finished with 229 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Booker went over the 200-yard mark in the third quarter shortly after his 80-yard scoring burst made it 28-7.

“A bus could have drove through that,” Booker said of his running lane.

However, it was his 50-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter that left many wide-eyed and amazed.

Hit in the backfield, Booker pin-balled through the defense, never stopping his feet. At one point, he back-pedaled away from a defender before covering the final 30 yards with a sprint.

“Don’t go down – that’s the mindset. That’s Central Catholic,” Booker said. “You have to fight ... fight for every play, fight for every step. If they’re trying to get the ball, you have to fight for the ball. If they’re trying to take you down, you have to fight for the yards. Eventually, they stopped fighting.”

Manteca’s attack was largely one-dimensional.

A traditional power run team, Manteca had rushed the ball just 18 times for 89 yards. Instead, the Buffaloes hoped Campiotti could produce another comeback.

Campiotti engineered a thrilling 36-35 victory over Christian Brothers in Week 1 with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in the final three minutes.

There would be no miracle against the Raiders, the two-time defending VOL champ.

Campiotti was 12 of 22 for 199 yards and a touchdown, an 11-yard slant to speedy sophomore Jacob DeJesus to make 7-7 early in the second quarter. Campiotti later scored on a 31-yard run in the third quarter, but misfired on his final six passes and was sacked on the Buffaloes’ final play.

“I’ve been on the other end, when you’re not making them plays,” Canepa said. “But that’s what I like about this group. We find a way to make plays.”

Harvard-bound lineman Justin Kakala was ejected in the first quarter after striking Booker in the helmet. By rule, he’ll miss next week’s game against Lathrop (2-2, 1-0).

Central Catholic hosts Sierra (2-2, 1-0).

James Burns: 209-578-2150, @jburns1980

The Bee's Joe Cortez and James Burns break down the big games of Week 4 in the Stanislaus District football season, including the Valley Oak League opener between Central Catholic and Manteca.

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