The time has arrived. The 2017 CIF Sac-Joaquin Division III Section Championship game kicks off Friday night, Dec. 1 at Lincoln High School in Stockton. The top seeded – and defending Section and State champion – Oakdale Mustangs will take on the second seeded Manteca Buffaloes. Kickoff for the contest is scheduled at 7 p.m.
The two Valley Oak League powerhouses will meet for the second time this season. On Oct. 13, the Mustangs defeated the visiting Buffaloes 36-15. Oakdale won the Valley Oak League, running the table in compiling a 7-0 mark while Manteca finished in third place with a 5-2 record.
During the Section playoffs, Manteca defeated Rio Americano 62-21, American Canyon 62-32, and squeaked past the third seeded Christian Brothers Falcons by a 43-38 final to reach the Section Championship.
Manteca is led by their senior quarterback Gino Campiotti, who has passed for over 2,000 yards on the season. One of his favorite targets is sophomore receiver Jacob De Jesus, who has over 450 receiving yards. Another big target for Manteca is Jorge Cedano, a junior who has given Oakdale trouble in the past.
Oakdale’s offensive line has overpowered everyone that has lined up opposite them this season, including the Buffaloes. Fullback Joshua Jacobson, meanwhile, is coming off a school record 347 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns in Oakdale’s semifinal win at home Friday night against Patterson.
Over the last three years, Oakdale and Manteca have had some memorable games. In 2014 the Mustangs and Buffaloes squared off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara where Oakdale won 42-21. In 2015 the Mustangs corralled the Buffaloes 45-14, but in 2016 it was Manteca that left the field victorious with a 30-22 home win over the Mustangs.
The winner of the Dec. 1 contest earns the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title and an automatic berth to the NorCal Tournament.