Prep Football Power Rankings: Week 5

St. Mary's High quarterback Noah Righetti (right) had three touchdown passes in his team's 35-32 win over Los Gatos Friday. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

There is movement in the top five.

Two of my local Prep Football Power Rankings leaders lost this week, and another, my No. 1, easily could’ve against a Bay Area power.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the new top five heading into the final week for nonleague play for the SJAA and TCAL (the VOL, SL, CCAA and MLL are already off and running).

1. ST. MARY’S (1) 3-1

Los Gatos came to the Rams’ house and was beaten for the first time this season.

St. Mary’s thrived behind a late fumble recovery by Jonah Ocon inside the 5, and three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Noah Righetti. The Rams could easily be 4-0, after a double-overtime heartbreaker loss at San Francisco-St. Ignatius in Week 3.

Rams linebacker Daniel Montijo suffered what I believe is a mild concussion at the end of the game and should be out this week.

FRIDAY: at Atwater-Buhach Colony (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

2. MANTECA (2) 3-1, 0-1 VOL

The Buffaloes lost at a lower-division team, sure, but it pushed a two-time defending CIF State Div. IV champion to the brink in losing 29-28 in OT at Central Catholic.

And if Manteca senior Hector Soto hadn’t been hurt just after halftime, he might’ve continued and helped the Buffaloes win in regulation with his angry, impressive rushing attack. Of course, Raiders sophomore stud tailback Montell Bland was out with injury, as junior Justin Rice filled in for a 22-carry, 143-yard, four-touchdown night.

FRIDAY: at Lathrop (2-2, 1-0 VOL), 7 p.m.

3. TRACY (5) 3-2

Tracy’s loss to Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area Top 25 teams in Oakley-Freedom and Concord-Clayton Valley – both by a touchdown – are about as “good” a loss as you can come by. Plus, they have senior tailback Nate Jones – the Sac-Joaquin Section’s reigning 100-meter dash champion – back and healthy.

Senior quarterback Michael Brown is coming into his own, and it may be that Tracy, not Lincoln or Tokay, is the best bet to challenge St. Mary’s in the TCAL. Stay tuned.


4. SIERRA (4) 4-0, 1-0 VOL

I thought long and hard about putting Sierra third, or even second on this list, and maybe they do deserve it.

I’m just waiting to see them against a next-level team. Hey, that’s this Friday! When Sierra hosts Central Catholic for our Game of the Week, and I’ll be there.

The Timberwolves (4-0, 1-0 VOL) are certainly formidable. We’ve talked constantly about junior running back Mark Paule Jr., who’s up to 909 rushing yards and 22 TDs. How about senior linebacker Trevon McCray, who had four sacks at Kimball Friday, or wide receiver Hunter Johnson, a tall, strong threat who had two TD catches against the Jaguars.

FRIDAY: vs. Modesto-Central Catholic (3-1, 1-0 VOL), 7 p.m.

5. LINCOLN (3) 2-3

The Trojans certainly have potential, and two of their losses – at Elk Grove and at Vacaville – are games that any local team could and probably would lose. However, Lincoln should not have lost by 30 this week, given the size on its lines and the talent it has.

Lincoln has the pieces to rise back to second on this list where it once was, and it begins against Lodi on Oct. 10 to open TCAL play.


ON THE BUBBLE: Tokay (4-1) has handled business against teams it should beat, but in its best test so far, against Modesto-Downey, it lost 35-6. Including UCLA-bound L.J. Reed should and will help, but the Tigers still have work to do to enter this top five… West (4-0) is making its school and community quite proud with its electric start, but it won’t get a true barometer either until Oct. 10 when it plays St. Mary’s. Junior Marcel Dancy is one of the local stories of the season, for sure, and has played a major role in every win… Lodi (3-1) has handled business as well, and senior tailback Chance Trammell is coming into his own. In its best test, though, it was hammered on the road at Sonora… Ripon Christian (4-0, 1-0 Southern League) is the small-school story of the year in our coverage area, led by senior rusher Brian Systma. Ripon Christian beat fellow unbeaten Newman-Orestimba 21-20 on the road Friday to stay untouched.


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Helmet Stickers: Prep Football Week 4


Elliot Christian tailback Dominic Spadafore (left) runs in his team's 22-7 win over Millennium Friday at Lincoln High's Spanos Stadium. (CRAIG SANDERS/THE RECORD)

Finally, we got some high school football games to tell our grandkids about.

Central Catholic stunned Manteca in overtime to kick off Valley Oak League play, St. Mary’s held off Bay Area heavy Los Gatos by a field goal at home and Lodi edged Edison in one of the few close TCAL-SJAA games we’ll see this season.

This week’s group of 15 are very well-deserving. Of what? My weekly prep football “Helmet Stickers” awards, honoring the best of Friday night lights.

Here they are, beginning with a rare tight end in the mix:


The Wolf Pack (4-0) has been all about junior tailback and defensive back Marcel Dancy, until Friday. Sure, Dancy got his, with 22 carries for 140 yards, but the senior tight end Herrera was huge.

He had four catches, but as our editor Mike Klocke wrote, every one of them was vital. Herrera had a 69-yard TD reception to open the Wolf Pack’s scoring, a 61-yard catch to set up a game-tying TD, a 17-yard TD to clinch the game and a final grab for a game-sealing first down. He finished with those four grabs for 153 yards.

MARK PAULE JR. (Sierra RB, Jr.)

Paule Jr. continued his majestic 2014 season in a 55-20 VOL-opening win at Kimball Friday, with 249 rushing yards and six more touchdowns. Through four games, he’s got 909 rushing yards and 22 TDs on the ground.

Sierra (4-0, 1-0 VOL) hosts Central Catholic (3-1, 1-0 VOL) Friday at 7 p.m. in our Game of the Week.


Hamilton helped the Redskins (1-4, 1-0 Mother Lode League) to their first win with touchdown runs of 4, 45, 1 and 37 yards as Calaveras totalled 484 rushing yards as a team.


Tracy runs the veer, and with senior Nate Jones back, you can expect a big ground game.

But Friday, a 43-41 shootout win in Turlock, Tracy turned to senior quarterback Michael Brown. And  Brown delivered, going 14 of 20 for 231 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with 52 rushing yards.

Tracy is hitting its stride heading into TCAL play, and nobody, I mean nobody, should want to face them right now.


While Chavez (2-2) has had its ups and downs, Jennings is making the most of his senior season as an everyday 100-yard, scoring tailback.

Jennings had 17 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown as the Titans won on their homecoming, and through four games, has 641 rushing yards and five TDs.


McCray, the Timberwolves’ leading returning tackler this season, was a menace to Kimball.

He had four sacks. Enough said.


Van Hook had 11 catches for 141 yards, including a 10-yard TD reception, in the Eagles’ lopsided loss to the Tokay Tigers (4-1).

CRAIG PERKINS (Bear Creek QB, Sr.)

Perkins, a week after leading the Bruins (1-3) to their first win of the season at Vallejo, had touchdown runs of 1 and 17 yards and a 70-yard TD pass strike to Darius Livingston.


Dillon is coming into his own as Tokay’s quarterback, and in a week and a half, he could have UCLA commit and WR L.J. Reed to throw to against Tracy.

Against McNair, Dillon had 11 carries for 81 yards and a whopping five rushing touchdowns, and went 7 of 12 passing for 129 yards, with TD strikes to Nathaniel McAlister of 30 and 31 yards.

HECTOR SOTO (Manteca RB/LB, Sr.)

Soto had one heck of a first half in the Buffaloes’ 29-28 OT loss at Modesto-Central Catholic, before being injured on defense the first play of the second half.

The senior had 11 carries for 104 yards, and threw a 35-yard touchdown on a halfpack pass to Luis Reyes.

Soto has 411 rushing yards through four games, and Manteca plays at Lathrop Friday to continue VOL play.

DOMINIC SPADAFORE (Elliot Christian RB, Sr.)

Spadafore, the Eagles’ tailback, had 29 carries for 137 yards in Elliot Christian’s 22-7, Central California Athletic Alliance-opening win over Millennium at Lincoln High’s Spanos Stadium.

NOAH RIGHETTI (St. Mary’s QB, Sr.)

Righetti was potent as the Rams quarterback in a huge 35-32 win over Bay Area heavy Los Gatos Friday, and had three touchdown passes: two to Stephen Gudino and a critical 30-yarder to wide receiver Demetrius Ferguson.


In a tight 26-22 win over Edison, the Lodi workhorse Trammell took 14 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown. The past two weeks, in wins over Stagg and Edison, Trammell has 25 carries for 383 yards and four TDs.


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Stagg football still searching for opponent after Fairfield fiasco

Stagg High football just wants a 10th opponent.

The Delta Kings (0-4) were scheduled to play at Fairfield (0-3) Friday before inclement weather postponed the game. Except now, it may be cancelled.

Stagg offered to play at a different time at Fairfield, or host the game and return the gate-money receipts to Fairfield, Delta Kings coach Don Norton said. They’ve declined at this point and Stagg is scrambling for a 10th opponent.

Stagg had a bye scheduled for this Friday, and it’s now trying to use that date for a final nonleague game.

“When the kids come out for a sport they want to play the full amount of games,” Norton said. “I’m sure the kids in Fairfield feel the same way.”

Norton said Stagg’s situation is particularly difficult because most teams who scramble to find a final opponent do so while it’s still summer and closer to the season. Now, near October, some of the schools that would’ve been available can no longer manage it because they already found an opponent.

Stagg would not be able to get to six wins if it cannot find a 10th opponent, but would still make the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs if it wins or is runner-up in the San Joaquin Athletic Association.

Check back with this blog, and The Record newspaper to keep tabs on Stagg’s hunt for a final opponent.


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Stats and Breakdown: Central Catholic stuns Manteca in OT

Manteca High football captains (from left) Dom Pisano, Hector Soto and Lechi Nkwocha listen to officials before their game at Central Catholic Friday. (THOMAS LAWRENCE/THE RECORD)

Manteca High football beat Central Catholic. In overall yardage that is. The Buffaloes gained 366 yards to the Raiders’ 321.

But Central Catholic junior Justin Rice scored four touchdowns, and was just way too much.

Central Catholic topped Manteca 29-28 in overtime to open Valley Oak League play at Patton Field.

Here’s my quarter-by-quarter breakdown, with a complete statistical look at the end. As always, thanks for reading, everybody:


Manteca (3-1, 0-1 VOL) punted on its first possession, giving way to Rice. He caught a 24-yard slant from Petlansky after a bad punt, and two plays later, scored his first touchdown on an 8-yard pitch run. Bryce Wade booted in his first of three extra points, and Central Catholic led 7-0 with 8:57 to go in the first.

The Buffaloes’ Hector Soto fumbled the ball away on the ensuing drive, and Rice scored on another 8-yard run for a 14-0 Central Catholic lead with 2:24 left in the first.

Manteca got a quick first down on a 43-yard run from a possessed Soto, and Darrion Kitson ran in a 14-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 1:25 left in the first.


Rice got the Raiders’ next drive going with a 23-yard first-down run, and scored his third touchdown of the night in as many drives from 7 yards out for a 21-7 lead with 10:22 left in the second quarter.

Manteca responded immediately, as after a 27-yard run from Soto brought them into Raiders’ territory, Soto fired a 35-yard halfpack pass for a touchdown to Luis Reyes to trim the deficit to 21-14 with 7:44 to go until half.

The Buffaloes finally forced the Raiders to punt, but had to punt themselves. Central Catholic got it back, but Mike Padilla intercepted Petlansky to basically end the first half.


Soto was hurt on defense on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, but the Raiders were forced to punt. Manteca got a drive rolling, including a 26-yard run from Kitson, but QB Dakarai Charles was intercepted by Austin Escobar on an ill-advised pass as he was being tackled.

Central Catholic drove deep into Manteca territory, but was stuffed on a 4th and goal run from the 1-yard line.


The Buffaloes recovered, but had to punt with 10:20 left in regulation.

Central Catholic took over for a 12-play, 4:06 drive, but it went nowhere. The Buffaloes got the ball back with 5:46 remaining, and Charles hit Ronaldo Tijero with a beautiful 36-yard streak pass for a first down to the Raiders’ 9. Three plays later, Manteca’s Lechi Nkwocha burst into the end zone on a 1-yard run. Marcus Montano’s extra point tied the game at 21 with 2:58 to go.

Eleven seconds later, though, the Raiders were threatening again, as Rice took the kickoff from the goal line 60 yards back to the Buffaloes’ 40.

Central Catholic got two first downs on runs from Kalhiel Dillard and Rice, and lined up for a 26-yard field goal with 14 seconds to go. Manteca’s Javaun Dunn heroically blocked the field goal, and Charles took a knee to send the game to overtime.


Manteca took all of its downs to score on the first possession, as Kitson got the ball and scored from a yard out. Montano’s kick made it 28-21, and put the pressure on the Raiders.

Rice dragged a tackler with him into the end zone from 10 yards, though, on their first play for a touchdown. And they ran the same play to Rice for the game-winning two-point conversion.


MANTECA (3-1, 0-1 VOL)


Dakarai Charles: 5 of 11, 76 yards, INT

Hector Soto: 1 of 1, 35 yards, TD


Hector Soto: 11 carries, 104 yards, 3 first downs

Darrion Kitson: 12 carries, 73 yards, 2 TDs

Luis Reyes: 3 carries, 35 yards

Lechi Nkwocha: 10 carries, 33 yards, TD

Dakarai Charles: 3 carries, 10 yards


Ronaldo Tijero: 3 rec., 57 yards

Luis Reyes: 1 rec., 35 yards, TD

Dom Pisano: 1 rec., 13 yards

Greg Jones: 1 rec., 6 yards

Total Offense: 366 yards (255 rushing, 111 passing)



Hunter Petlansky: 6 of 16, 75 yards, INT


Justin Rice: 22 carries, 143 yards, 4 TDs, 2-pt conversion

Hunter Petlansky, 12 carries, 51 yards, 1 sack

Kalhiel Dillard: 6 carries, 40 yards

Miguel Hernandez: 5 carries, 12 yards


Justin Rice: 2 rec., 36 yards

Miguel Hernandez: 2 rec., 21 yards

Jared Rice: 2 rec., 18 yards

Total Offense: 321 yards (246 rushing, 75 passing)


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Manteca-Central Catholic Player of the Game: Justin Rice

Central Catholic High tailback Justin Rice dominated Manteca for four touchdowns in the Raiders' 29-28 overtime win Friday at Patton Field. (HIME ROMERO/MANTECA BULLETIN)

All week, I wondered how Manteca High football (3-1, 0-1 Valley Oak League) would defend and deal with Central Catholic (3-1, 1-0) senior Jared Rice. Rice, being recruited as a tight end, has already been offered by Sacramento State and is getting plenty of other attention.

He’s also got 10 interceptions the past season-and-a-third.

Yet, it was the younger Rice who burned the Buffaloes.

Justin Rice, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior, took 22 carries for a game-high 143 yards, all four Raiders touchdowns and the game-winning two-point conversion in overtime.

That’s why Rice is my overall Player of the Game for the exhilarating VOL opener at Patton Field Friday night.

He also returned a late kickoff 60 yards from the goal line to the Buffaloes’ 40. That could’ve cost Manteca the game had the Buffaloes’ Javaun Dunn not blocked Central Catholic’s field-goal try.

Congratulations, Justin. Now, here’s my Manteca Player of the Game and some honorable mention:


Hector Soto made an incredible impact on this game and played barely more than a half.

Soto, the Buffaloes’ senior, had 11 carries for 104 yards and a 35-yard halfback pass for a touchdown to Luis Reyes all in the first half. On defense, Soto limped off the field on the first play of the second half and didn’t return.

Had he been in the game, Manteca might’ve won in regulation. Of course, Central Catholic was without stud tailback Montell Bland the entire game, so that’s life.


RB – DARRION KITSON (Manteca, Jr.)

Kitson filled in amicably for Soto, and finished with 12 carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns. His first TD was a 14-yarder to start the Buffaloes’ scoring, and his second a 1-yard plunge for Manteca’s OT touchdown.


Tijero was quietly instrumental for the Buffaloes, with a late 36-yard first-down catch on a streak from QB Dakarai Charles. He was also dynamite in the secondary, with his teammate and my next pick.

DB/WR – DOM PISANO (Manteca, Sr.)

Pisano, an emotional leader for Manteca, just had one catch for 13 yards but was fantastic on defense. He broke up a huge pass play or two from Central Catholic QB Hunter Petlansky, and pivotal tackles. Justin Rice was killing the Buffaloes early with a simple pitch play, and after two touchdown runs, Pisano finally tracked him down and tackled him on a similar play. Huge morale booster.


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Prep Football Week 4 Scoreboard

Elliot Christian football topped Millennium 22-7 Friday to open Central California Athletic Alliance play. (CRAIG SANDERS/THE RECORD)

Here it is, folks, all of your results from tonight:


Central Catholic 29, Manteca 28 (OT)

Oakdale 49, East Union 13

Sierra 55, Kimball 20

Lathrop 32, Weston Ranch 20


Elliot Christian 22, Millennium 7


Ripon Christian 21, Orestimba 20


Vacaville 40, Lincoln 10

St. Mary’s 35, Los Gatos 32

Chavez 30, Golden Valley 22

Tracy 43, Turlock 41

West 34, Bear Creek 21

Tokay 61, McNair 28

Lodi 26, Edison 22

Sutter 49, Ripon 6

Bear River 14, Escalon 7


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Friday Prep Football Predictions: Week 4


St. Mary's High senior Khalil Hodge (3) leads the state with 52 tackles from the inside linebacker position. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

The Valley Oak League has 24 Sac-Joaquin Section championships among its teams. And that’s just from three of them. Let that soak in for a second.

VOL play beings today with East Union-Oakdale, Lathrop-Weston Ranch, Sierra-Kimball, and the most-anticipated matchup: Manteca at Modesto-Central Catholic. I’ll be there tweeting live starting around 6:30 p.m. at Patton Field.

Last week, I went 10-5 to improve to 39-20 this season in my predictions. That’s alright, but still not as good as it should be. Here’s a look at my Week 4 picks, I’ll focus on three of them and do 15 total. Below that is a day-by-day rundown of all my high school sports blog coverage this week.

As always, thanks for reading, everybody!


This will be an old-school, heavy-running classic battle for the ages.

Central Catholic, the two-time defending CIF State Div. IV champion, edges Manteca, the reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III champion, just barely. Really, I’m probably giving whichever team was home this win.

The Raiders, too, nearly beat St. Mary’s if it weren’t for a last-minute bootleg TD run. To me, St. Mary’s is the best team (as of right now) in our coverage area. That’s a good barometer.

But look out for the Buffaloes, they could easily win this one and start 1-0 in the VOL. If Manteca’s lines prove too much to handle, it’ll be hard for the Raiders to get a foothold in their running game.

ST. MARY’S 27, Los Gatos 21

The Rams get a statement win a week after a heartbreaking, 27-24 loss in double overtime at San Francisco-St. Ignatius.

It won’t be easy against the Wildcats, who have a balanced offense, are ranked 42nd in the state by MaxPreps (St. Mary’s is 87th) and are second in Cal-Hi Sports’ NorCal Div. II bowl rankings.

St. Mary’s, though, uses its home field advantage and gets it done.

LODI 34, Edison 21

The Flames keep rolling after putting up 49 points on Stagg the week before.

Lodi senior Chance Trammell keeps punishing opposing defenses, too, after putting up 255 rushing yards and three touchdowns against the Delta Kings. Vikings quarterback Sean Buligon performs well, but it’s not enough as the SJAA’s struggles against the TCAL continue.


WEST over Bear Creek

Wolf Pack junior Marcel Dancy (492 rushing yards, 6 TDs his past two games) keeps running wild on area teams, like he did against Kimball and Chavez.

TOKAY over McNair

McNair’s high-octane passing game won’t be enough to overcome Tokay and rapidly-developing quarterback Grayson Dillon. The Eagles should be happy L.J. Reed – the senior wide receiver and UCLA commit – won’t be available for another two weeks.

SIERRA over Kimball

The Timberwolves crush the Jaguars in the VOL opener, behind Mark Paule Jr. (660 rushing yards, 16 TDs), who’s had two weeks to rest up. Kimball struggles to stop the run, as it showed against Tracy.

OAKDALE over East Union

The Mustangs cruise past the Lancers, who are better than expected. Oakdale is ranked 11th in the Sac-Joaquin Section by MaxPreps and shouldn’t struggle.

LATHROP over Weston Ranch

Weston Ranch has beaten Lathrop in all five of their meetings, but the Spartans make school history, and open VOL 1-0.

ELLIOT CHRISTIAN over Millennium

The Eagles are in a groove after two straight wins, and don’t lose this CCAA game at Lincoln High.

VACAVILLE over Lincoln

A great battle of two playoff-caliber teams. Vacaville is a strong 2-1, and uses the home-field advantage to overcome Lincoln. I could easily be wrong in this one, but going with my gut.

TRACY over Turlock

A battle of two “Bulldog” teams, who are both 2-2 and much better than their records show. Tracy, with senior tailback Nate Jones back in the fold, wins a classic in Turlock.

STAGG over Fairfield

Both teams are winless, and something’s gotta give. Stagg has showed more promise in its losses, on paper, and its offense scores enough to finally get in the win column.

SUTTER over Ripon

This is a rough night for the Indians, traveling to play a Huskies team that could be competing for a NorCal Div. III championship come December.

CHAVEZ over Merced-Golden Valley

Chavez gets back on track after two straight losses, and quarterback Julius Davila shows what he can do on homecoming against a winless team.

RIPON CHRISTIAN over Orestimba

Great small-school matchup of unbeatens to open Southern League play. Ripon Christian rides home field advantage and tailback Brian Systma to a close win.


Monday: Prep Football Week 3 Scoreboard, Stats and Breakdown: Kimball-Tracy, Player of the Game: Nate Jones, Prep Football “Helmet Stickers” Week 3, Prep Football Power Rankings: Week 4

Tuesday: Male Athlete of the Week, Female Athlete of the Week, Sac-Joaquin Section Football Top 25

Wednesday: Players to Watch: Manteca-Central Catholic, Cal-Hi Sports NorCal Bowl Rankings

Thursday: X-Factors: Manteca at Central Catholic, Lodi’s Trammell named State Stat Star

Friday: Prep Football Predictions: Week 4


Wednesday: Manteca wins epic five-set VOL match at Weston Ranch

Thursday: Tokay boys soccer edges rival Lodi in thriller; holds on to first in TCAL

Friday: Column on mighty VOL, league realignment; Weekly Prep Football Games of the Week Previews and Capsules


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Lodi’s Trammell makes Cal-Hi Sports State Stat Stars list

Lodi High football's Chance Trammell ran for 255 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-34 win at Stagg Friday. (IAN JONSSON/LODI NEWS-SENTINEL)

Chance Trammell had a solid senior season for Lodi High football through its first two games.

Then, he decided to have his coming out party in Stockton. Trammell took 11 carries for 255 yards – that’s a mighty average of 23 yards per carry – with three rushing touchdowns.

For that, Trammell made the Cal-Hi Sports State Stat Stars of the Week blog for the first time this season. Plus, he’s the first Flame to reach the list this season.

This year, Trammell has 34 carries for 360 yards and three touchdowns, averaging between 10-11 yards per carry so far.

Lodi (2-1) hosts Edison (1-2) Friday at 7:15 p.m. at the Grape Bowl.


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

X-Factors: Manteca at Central Catholic


Manteca High football heads to Modesto to face Central Catholic and open Valley Oak League play Friday night. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MANTECA BULLETIN).

The six defending Sac-Joaquin Section football champions are Folsom (Div. I), Del Oro (Div. II), Manteca (Div. III), Central Catholic (Div. IV), Le Grand (Div. V) and Bradshaw Christian (Div. VI).

Folsom, for example, plays Del Oro Oct. 3 in a mighty Sierra Foothill League game. That’s a game that’ll garner attention throughout Northern California, and by our friends over at The Sacramento Bee, Cal-Hi Sports and more.

But Friday’s matchup, as Manteca (3-0) visits Central Catholic (2-1) to open Valley Oak League play, isn’t just another showdown of section champions, but a game that could make-or-break each team’s state playoff bids down the line.

Of course, that’s if they get there. But it’s worth thinking about.

I’ll be at the game Friday updating live on Twitter, and for now, here are three X-Factors to think about heading into the battle at Patton Field.


Like old-school, championship-caliber high school football? This is your sport.

Manteca, out of its offset I-formation, and Central Catholic both like to run the football, and both can do it with their quarterbacks and their running backs.

Buffaloes senior Hector Soto leads the team with 307 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and fellow senior Lechi Nkwocha is a threat as well. Junior quarterback Dakarai Charles does a nice job throwing on the run and is a threat on his feet.

Central Catholic’s main weapon is sophomore Montell Bland, who had over 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Raiders’ state championship win over Bakersfield Christian last December.

And, Raiders junior quarterback Hunter Petlansky has five rushing TDs through three games.

Whichever team can establish its running game early, take a lead and hold onto it by winning the time of possession, turnover and field position battles will be in prime position to start VOL play with a win.


Chatting about Central Catholic with The Modesto Bee’s Joe Cortez a couple weeks ago, he observed that the Raiders have an unbelievable amount of talent at the skill positions, but aren’t quite as big on the lines as they’ve been in years past.

Manteca built its section championship and NorCal bowl run in 2013 behind senior tailback Alex Laurel, but his room to run was constructed by dominant lines – anchored at the time by Billy Sharmoug.

Now, seniors like Steven Martinez are paving the way. If Manteca can gain a foothold in that arena, it could help limit the impact of Bland and senior tight end Jared Rice.


League season is serious business in high school football.

Manteca is coming off a bye, so whether its fresh and on-point for the VOL or rusty after its rest will be compelling. Central Catholic had its bye Week 0, so it’s straight on through until morning for them.

Central Catholic tested itself with a near-win, but home loss to St. Mary’s, but has beat up on Atwater and Modesto-Beyer on either end of that game.

My guess is Central Catholic’s sharpness and Manteca’s fresh legs will cancel each other out, and the best team, truly, will win.

Who do I think’s gonna win? Find out tomorrow on my predictions blog, of course!

As always, thanks for reading, everybody.


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment

Manteca, Sierra rise in Cal-Hi Sports NorCal bowl rankings

Manteca High tailback Alex Laurel runs past Sierra in their 2013 matchup. (ANDY ALFARO/THE MODESTO BEE)

It was a pretty sweet week off for Manteca and Sierra High football.

The Buffaloes and Timberwolves, both 3-0, both had byes in Week 3 after three impressive nonleague wins. Manteca moved up to 13th and Sierra to 20th in MaxPreps’ Sac-Joaquin Section Top 25, and now, they’re up a spot in Cal-Hi Sports’ list, too.

Manteca is now sixth and Sierra ninth in the website’s NorCal Division II bowl rankings, up from seventh and 10th respectively a week ago.

Sacramento High, the previous No. 4, was beaten 47-6 by Rocklin this week to drop them out of the rankings. And although Rocklin is a high-powered SJSCIF team, I’m guessing the voters didn’t think kindly of losing by 41 to anyone not named De La Salle.

Here’s a look at the Div. II Top 10, with the team, their ranking last week in parenthesis and their overall record.

NorCal Div. II Bowl Rankings 

1. Concord-Clayton Valley (1) 4-0

2. Los Gatos (2) 3-0*

3. Concord (3) 3-0

4. Oakdale (5) 3-0**

5. Redding-Enterprise (6) 2-1

6. Manteca (7) 3-0

7. Rio Linda (8) 4-0

8. Sacramento-Inderkum (9) 3-1

9. Sierra (10) 3-0

10. Paradise (NR) 3-0

*Los Gatos plays at St. Mary’s (2-1) this Friday at 7:15 p.m.

**Oakdale opens VOL play by hosting East Union Friday at 7 p.m.


There are several local bubble teams as well, including St. Mary’s (2-1) in Div. II, Escalon (3-1) in Div. III and Ripon Christian (3-0) in Div. IV.


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question:

Posted in High school football, High School Sports | Leave a comment
  • Blog Authors

    Bob Highfill

    Bob Highfill has worked in The Record's sports department since 1990. He has covered a variety of sports, including high schools, Pacific and professional sports. In 2006, he was named sports editor. Bob is a graduate of Lincoln High and the ... Read Full

    Jagdip Dhillon

    Dhillon joined The Record as full-time reporter in 2003 and has covered Pacific, the Stockton Ports, the NBA, MLB and high school sports in his time here. Read Full

    Scott Linesburgh

    Linesburgh has been a member of The Record's sports department since 1988. A native of Wantagh, N.Y., he has covered the Stockton Thunder hockey franchise since its inception in 2005 and has spent more than two decades reporting on motorsports and ... Read Full

    Thomas Lawrence

    Lawrence became a prep and general assignment sports reporter for The Record in August 2014. He has covered high school, college and professional sports and more in his career. From November of 2011 through summer 2014, he covered college and prep ... Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • RSS Related Content