Downey quarterback Beau Green has moxie, a last-second victory over a two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion, and now it seems an edge in the battle for the starting spot.
Locked in a months-long battle with junior Bryce Gouker, Green received extended playing time on Friday evening as he engineered a 44-42 victory over the Buffaloes.
“I surprised myself a little bit. I thought I played better than I really expected myself to,” Green said. “I expected to win. Everything was smooth tonight and we got into a groove.”
Green accounted for five touchdowns, including the game-winning score on a 3-yard run with 12 seconds remaining that dashed Manteca’s own thrilling comeback bid.
The Buffaloes scored 22 unanswered points over the third and fourth quarters and seized a 42-38 lead with 7:57 left on Trabron Russell’s fifth rushing touchdown, a 1-yard plunge.
Russell was a terror in the red zone, scoring from the 1-yard line twice more, along with scoring runs of 3 and 15 yards in the first half. A fast-rising junior, Russell had more than 80 rushing yards on the Buffaloes’ opening drive.
Trailing by six in the final minutes, Downey placed the ball in the hands of its highly-touted freshman. Gouker started the game, and the two quartebacks rotated series until early in the second quarter.
With 10:35 left in the first half, Plaa stayed with the kid.
Green was named the Front Row’s Player of the Game for a second straight week. In the Knights’ season opener, Green amassed three touchdowns in a runaway victory over East Union, another Valley Oak League playoff team.
On Friday, he connected with Robert Rivera on a 32-yard touchdown pass to open the Knights’ scoring. Later, he and Anderson Grover hooked up on an 80-yard catch-and-run that made it 38-20 with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Green never looked off Grover, who is quickly becoming his favorite target.
“When I saw the leverage they had on Anderson Grover, I knew we were going to hit that stick route. It was pre-determined; I knew where I was going with the ball,” Green said. “I knew we we’re going to score, to be honest with you.”
The tests keep coming Downey’s way.
The Knights host Merced next week. Utilizing a two-quarterback system of their own, the Bears whipped Gregori to improve to 2-0. Manteca (1-1) travels to Granada of Livermore.