Showing speed and big play capabilities at the receiver position makes Buffaloes a stronger threat to go far in a D2 CIF state bowl game division than previously thought. Valley Christian’s comeback in second half of 22-20 game it lost on a missed field goal also is a good sign.
State Top 25 Weekend Scoreboard: Preview Next Rankings Here
Game Attended: Valley Christian of San Jose (No. 27 in preseason State Top 50) at Manteca (No. 34).
How Did It End: After rallying from 22-7 deficit in first half, visiting Warriors fell 22-20 when a 37-yard field attempt on the final play of the night was missed.
Big Picture: Both teams could be top teams in their CIF sections — Manteca in the Sac-Joaquin and Valley Christian in the CCS. They each have early league tests to begin eyeballing, Manteca against Central Catholic of Modesto and VC against St. Francis of Mountain View. Since VC was in the D2-AA state bowl final last year and Manteca was in D3-AA (lost in NorCal final to Menlo-Atherton), the win by Manteca shows it can step up and play in a higher bowl game division this season. That would be especially true if the Buffaloes were to win the Valley Oak League title with both Central Catholic and Oakdale in that league.
Manteca Breakdown: With no punishing running back that the Buffaloes have tended to have in recent years, for them to be a state bowl game contender like they want to be they’ll have to throw it. They have the QB for that in Gino Campiotti (one of the best in the section) and in this game they also proved their receivers can make plays on the ball and can break loose for big yardage. The addition of transfer Carter Williams from Beyer (Modesto) also gives them a threat in the return game. Kyle Rachels caught two TD passes from Campiotti vs. VC and Presley Keltner also was a weapon. Valley Christian found some running lanes in the second half vs. the Manteca defense, and that could be a problem against a team like Oakdale. According to the Manteca Bulletin, Campiotti completed 13 of 22 passes for 208 yards. He had three TD passes and no interceptions.
Valley Christian Breakdown: The defense, expected to be a strength of the team, started slowly on this night. You wouldn’t have expected the DBs to get beat for so many 50-50 balls by Manteca’s WRs but they were in the first half and that ended up being costly. That didn’t happen in the second half. With that defense locked in better, the Buffaloes didn’t score in the second half. Offensively, it may more of a work in progress. Head coach Mike Machado went with a number of combinations as ball carriers. D’Angelo McKenzie (a Notre Dame commit) set up the last field goal attempt by running 18 yards on a middle screen but he’s so good as a free safety you can understand why limiting him on offense somewhat makes sense. Charlie Bostic ran for two scores (one a 56-yarder) but he also wasn’t used that often. A sophomore to watch who had several impressive runs in the second half is Isaiah McElvane. With the defense they have, the Warriors don’t have to be great on offense but they have to be better than they were on Friday to win the WCAL title.
Winning Head Coach Eric Reis: “Playing Menlo-Atherton last year over there was humbling because they jumped on us early and we hadn’t seen that kind of athleticism they had. That’s why we played (Valley Christian). Now we’ve gotten to see that type of team. Some of our receivers started blossoming late last season. We knew that we have to have balance and with Gino’s ability we knew that could happen.”
Up Next: Valley Christian is hosting Wilcox of Santa Clara. Wilcox lost first game 27-20 to Monterey Trail (Elk Grove). Manteca is playing Christian Brothers of Sacramento at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento. Christian Brothers will be playing its first game.