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Dawgs drop VOL opener to Buffaloes
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Momentum swayed in Manteca's favor after Ceres High's varsity football team picked up a costly penalty in the closing minutes of the first quarter of their Valley Oak League season opener.

Facing a fourth-and-3 at their own 27, the Buffaloes lined up for a punt. The Bulldogs were flagged for a 12-men-on-the-field infraction, which resulted in a 5-yard penalty and extended the drive. Six plays later, Adam Espinoza threw a 41-yard halfback option TD pass to Beau Fryer to give Manteca a 14-0 lead with 10:01 to play in the second quarter.

"It was demoralizing," Ceres coach Brett Johnson said.

The Bulldogs allowed two more scores in first half en route to a 35-0 loss to the Buffaloes Friday night at Ceres High. The win helped Manteca extend its state-leading winning streak to 24 games.

"They're a good team. But they're beatable," Ceres running back/linebacker Matt Smith said.

The Bulldogs dropped to 0-4 overall, 0-1 in the VOL.

The Buffaloes improved to 4-0 on the year, 1-0 in conference play.

"They're a well-coached team," Johnson said. "There's no superstars. They have all-round good players."

Ceres totaled just 122 yards of offense, including 96 rushing on 30 carries.

Smith carried the ball 15 times for 84 yards.

"He played with a lot of emotion and passion," Johnson said.

Quarterback Zack Atchison completed 3 of 7 passes for 26 yards with one interception (Marc Figone).

The Bulldogs were penalized two times for 15 yards.

Manteca generated 362 yards of total offense, including 190 rushing on 38 carries.

Johnnie Golden ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

Doug Hayes completed 12 of 18 passes for 172 yards and a TD.

Fryer caught three passes for 55 yards and a score.

The Buffaloes were penalized 10 times for 75 yards.

Ceres freshman middle linebacker Hadon Lopez tallied a game-high 15 tackles. Miles Valor and Matt Smith made eight and six, respectively.

Manteca built a 28-0 lead in the opening half on Golden's 5-yard scamper in the first quarter, and Espinoza's 20-yard pass to Fryer, Hayes' 30-yard strike to Corban Bell and James Glidden's 1-yard run in the second quarter.

Golden added a 49-yard rushing TD in the fourth quarter.

"If we would have come out in the beginning with the same intensity we had in the second half, it would have been an entirely different game," Smith said.

"The kids showed a lot of character and heart in the end," Johnson added.