American Canyon (7-3)
at Manteca (9-2)
Friday, 7 p.m., at Guss Schmiedt Field
Last week: American Canyon opened the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs by beating River Valley-Yuba City, 17-10, as Eddie Byrdsong ran for two touchdowns and Jose Lopez kicked a 39-yard field goal. It was the seventh win in a row for the Wolves, who, despite giving up 316 yards rushing and 162 yards passing, recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass. The Wolves did not turn the ball over.
Kama Aalona ran for 112 yards and Byrdsong had 83 yards rushing to lead the Wolves’ offense.
Manteca hammered Rio Americano-Sacramento, 62-21, as Gino Campiotti completed 20-of-25 passes for 323 yards and five TDs. Campiotti also ran for 58 yards on nine attempts. Jacob De Jesus caught seven passes for 95 yards with one TD. Jorge Cedano caught six passes for 64 yards and a TD. Trabron Russell ran for 84 yards on 10 attempts and scored two touchdowns.
Matchup: American Canyon, the No. 7 seed, and Manteca, the No. 2 seed, meet in a second-round playoff game. It’s American Canyon’s last year in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Next year, the Wolves move into the CIF North Coast Section.
“We’ve had a lot of success here,” said Chris Yepson, American Canyon’s offensive coordinator. “We’re trying to make a run in our last chance and make a statement going into the new section.”
American Canyon won the Solano County Athletic Conference title. Manteca finished third in the Valley Oak League, behind league champion Oakdale and runner-up Central Catholic-Modesto.
Division III bracket: Eight teams are still alive in the bracket. In other second-round games, it’s No. 9 Vanden-Fairfield at No. 1 Oakdale, No. 5 Vista del Lago-Folsom at No. 4 Patterson, and No. 11 Rio Linda at No. 3 Christian Brothers-Sacramento.
Sizing up Manteca: Manteca is No. 11 in the CalHiSports.com Sac-Joaquin Section Top 20, No. 12 in the Prep2Prep.com Sac-Joaquin Section Top 25, and No. 18 in the MaxPreps.com Sac-Joaquin Section Rankings. Manteca is also listed as among teams on the bubble in the CalHiSports.com State Top 50.
“All across the board, they’re big, they’re physical and they’re very well coached,” coach Larry Singer said of Manteca, which has won five in a row. “I don’t think we’ve ever prepared for a team that was quite this balanced, as far as what they do. They do just enough of everything to make you prepare for everything.
“They don’t have any one dominant play they go to. They do everything very well. It will be a challenge.”
Brenden Johnson, who plays slot back and cornerback, said, “We’re going to give them a fight.”
Ferrin Manuleleua (middle linebacker) and Justin Kakala (defensive tackle) are standouts for Manteca.
“We just have to make sure we know where those two are,” said Yepson. “We’ve talked all week … making sure we have a body on them. Because if we don’t, they can hurt us. They can hurt us bad.”
Playoff history: This is the second straight year that American Canyon has advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Manteca is in the second round for the fifth straight season and it won the Sac-Joaquin Division IV title last year. Manteca is a five-time Sac-Joaquin champion, having won titles in 2001, 2005, 2006, 2013 and 2016.
— Marty James