Lancers in Convincing Win

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  By Mike Bush
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Cordova running back Elijah Jenkins eyes the end zone against Liberty Ranch's defense in last week's SVC football home game at Lancer Stadium. Photo by Rick Sloan

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Cordova running back Jaylen Jones protects the football while running for yards in last week's SVC football home game against Liberty Ranch. Photo by Rick Sloan

Second Half Action Gives Cordova Win over Liberty Ranch

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Darren Nill and his Cordova High School football team have beaten four of five Sierra Valley Conference schools in his three years.

Now the Cordova head coach, in his third seasons, is perfect at 5-0.

Donning pink and black jerseys in honoring Breast Cancer Awareness against SVC foe Liberty Ranch at Lancer Stadium on Oct. 27th, the Lancers broke away to post a convincing 47-28 win over the Hawks.

“I didn’t even think about it until I was walking across to share their (Liberty Ranch’s coaches) hands (after the game),” Nill said. “One of the assistant coaches came up to me and goes, ‘you guys aren’t going to be around to revenge this. This is the first time you’ve ever beaten us.’ We had a laugh and a hearty hand shake. Then it dawned on me that I got them all.”

Liberty Ranch won last year’s contest in Galt, 7-6. On its way to winning the SVC title in 2015, Liberty Ranch knocked off Cordova 28-26, also at Lancer Stadium.

The win inches Cordova (3-1 in the SVC, 6-3 overall) closer toward a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth.

Cordova still has a chance of winning a share of the SVC title. A win over rival Rosemont (2-2 in the SVC, 4-5) in Friday’s SVC finale at Lancer Stadium, plus a Union Mine (2-2 in the SVC, 4-5) win over El Dorado (4-0 in the SVC, 7-2) would give the Lancers and Cougars a share of the title for a second straight year. Cordova, along with Liberty Ranch and El Dorado, were tri-champions last year.

Liberty Ranch (1-3 in the SVC, 2-7) led 22-20 at halftime. But the Lancers took a 26-22 lead with 10 minutes left in the third quarter when quarterback Johnele Sanders completed one of his three touchdown passes.

Cordova free safety Tyreke Tate picked off a pass that went back to the end zone, which gave the Lancers a 34-22 lead with about a minute to go in the quarter.

Now in the fourth quarter, Liberty Ranch closed the score to 34-28 on a rushing touchdown. But in the final minutes of the game, Cordova added two more touchdowns for the final score. The first one came when Sanders hit Jordan Colvin on a 30-yard strike. Alvin Banks had a 50-yard run to the end zone to finish off the scoring.

The Lancers had chances to take advantage of Hawk mistakes in the first half. But that quickly changed in the second half.

“We talked about executing our offense (at halftime),” Nill said. “They (Liberty Ranch) had eight turnovers. We were able to capitalize on three of those eight turnovers. Basically, getting down to what we do, executing better.”

Cordova running back Raymond Fite had a big night on the ground, with 146 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Sanders completed 10-of-22 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Banks had four receptions for 75 yards, and rushed three times for 66 yards. He also had three interceptions in the game.

On defense, Lancer linebacker Jalen Jones led the team with 14 tackles, and outside linebacker Yusef Pugh 11. Turner and Elijah Jenkins, also a linebacker, had eight tackles each. Cordova’s defense created four fumble recoveries.

The Rosemont-Cordova game is scheduled to kick-off at 7:30 p.m.

Although leaving the SVC for the new Greater Sacramento League when the 2018-22 league realignment goes into place next July, Cordova will continue to play Rosemont in non-league next year and 2019, Nill said.

The section is projected to release playoff brackets on late Saturday afternoon. On Tuesday, MaxPreps had projected Cordova to be in Division III. To view the brackets on Saturday, visit the section’s Website – cifsjs.org.

Cordova running back Elijah Jenkins eyes the end zone against Liberty RanchCordova running back Jaylen Jones protects the football while running for yards in last week