Late Mistakes Costly for Cordova Footbal

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  By Mike Bush
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Alvin Banks on the kick return.

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Big Red Defense!

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) – A boxing match took place between the Cordova High School football team and the Vista del Lago squad.

But in the final 12 minutes of the Sept. 15th contest, a one touchdown difference turned into a knockout punch for Cordova, as Vista del Lago posted a 54-33 victory over the Lancers.

Cordova (2-2) trailed 40-33 entering the fourth quarter. But three minutes into the quarter, the host Eagles (2-2) intercepted a Lancer pass that led to a touchdown. The extra-point made it 47-33.

Vista del Lago closed out the scoring in the quarter two minutes later on a 45-yard punt return taken back to its end zone. Another Eagle extra-point led to the final score.

“A lot of mental mistakes caught up with us,” said Cordova head coach Darren Nill. “It was a toe-to-toe (game).”

The Lancers trailed 28-21 at halftime. But in the third quarter, Cordova received the opening kickoff that trimmed the score to 28-27 with nine minutes remaining when quarterback Johnele Sanders threw one of his four touchdown passes, this one 35 yards to wide receiver Alvin Banks.

Cordova and the Eagles traded scores throughout the quarter. After Vista del Lago responded with a 45-yard pass from Grant Patterson to Chad Wilson to expand its lead to 34-27, the Lancers answered with another pass from Sanders, this time a 12-yard strike to Jeremiah Bankett. That led to making the score 34-33.

The Eagles added another touchdown on another pass from Patterson, this one of 14 yards, with four minutes remaining. The extra-point made it 40-33 entering the final quarter.

In the first quarter, the Lancers held a 7-6 lead after Sanders completed another TD pass, this one 30 yards, to wide receiver Calvin Augusta with three minutes left. Sanders threw another touchdown toward the end of the quarter that tied the game at 14-14.

Sanders found Augusta again in the second, this time on a 40-yard strike that gave Cordova a 21-14 lead. Vista del Lago scored two more touchdowns for a 28-21 halftime lead.

This was another huge game for Sanders. He completed 23-of-33 passes for 343 yards and five touchdowns. Against Rio Linda, Sanders threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns.

Grabbing some of those passes was Banks, who had eight catches for 231 yards. Running back Raymond Fite had 10 carries for 34 yards.

“Most of the nights we’ve played, Alvin is the best athlete on the field,” said Nill of Banks. “Get him the ball and let him do his thing.”

On defense, Cordova was led by safety Tyreke Tate with 17 tackles. Junior linebacker Elijah Jenkins 16 and outside linebacker Yusef Pugh had 14. Ryan McMoore followed with 11.

The Lancers were dealt with two season ending injuries to two starters. In the second quarter, after catching a pass, Augusta broke a bone near his knee. According to Nill, the extent of the injury has Augusta, a senior two-sport athlete who also played guard on the Cordova boys basketball team last winter, out for the rest of the season.

Junior wide receiver Anthony Diaz, who had a game-winning touchdown at Rio Linda nearly two weeks ago, broke his hand and would be out 8-10 weeks.

Cordova will play its final pre-season game of the season when Foothill invades Lancer Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.