Lancers Defeat Wolverines, Win Share of SVC Crown

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  By Mike Bush
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Members of the Cordova High School football team celebrate their 48-0 SVC finale win over rival Rosemont, as they keep the Sledgehammer that the two schools have battled for in recent years. Photo by Rick Sloan

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Cordova defensive back Raymond Fite (12) and linebacker Elijah Jenkins tackle a Rosemont running back in last week's SVC football finale at Lancer Stadium. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – Members of the Cordova High School football team will need to send the Union Mine squad Christmas presents or gift cards next month.

That is because Cordova will hoist up a second consecutive – and final – Sierra Valley Conference title. The Lancers posted their first shutout of the season against Rosemont, which led to a 48-0 win at Lancer Stadium on Nov. 3rd.

As Cordova was en route to its win, Union Mine jumped out to an early start that led to beat El Dorado 23-20. That win gave Cordova (4-1 in the SVC, 7-3 overall) and El Dorado (4-1 and 7-3) a share of the conference title. Cordova and El Dorado, along with Liberty Ranch, were tri-SVC champions last season.

“We were sweating that game out for sure,” said Cordova head coach Darren Nill, referring to the El Dorado-Union Mine game.

Now the Lancers begin the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs against a familiar non-league foe in Vista del Lago of Folsom. See elsewhere on this page for another story on Cordova’s second consecutive playoff trip.

Five minutes left in the first quarter against Rosemont (2-3 in the SVC, 4-6), Cordova scored its first touchdown when quarterback Johnele Sanders scored on a 33-yard run. Along with Alvin Banks booting the extra-point, the Lancers led 7-0.

The Lancers’ defense played a role in the team’s next two touchdowns, both in the second quarter. Cordova, face a Wolverines’ team that runs the veer offense, forced a turnover at midfield that gave the ball back into the Lancers’ hands. That led to wide receiver Jordan Colvin hauling in a 38-yard pass with 10 minutes left in the quarter, concluded with Banks’ extra-point boot to make it 14-0.

Banks, from his defensive back spot, set up the next score on an interception halfway through the quarter. Then he rambled 49 yards into the end zone that gave Cordova a comfortable 21-0 halftime lead.

“Alvin gets open when the rest of the team is performing,” said Nill of Banks. “The defense played lights out.”

Five minutes into the third quarter, Cordova’s defense forced Rosemont to punt. That led to another offensive possession and score for the Lancers, as Sanders scored on a 47-yard run to make it 28-0, plus Banks’ extra-point kick.

Then three minutes left in the quarter, Cordova made it 35-0 when running back Elijah Jenkins crossed the end zone on a rushing touchdown. The Rosemont coaches asked for a running clock at that time.

Two different Lancer players scored the final two touchdowns, both in the fourth quarter. Tyreke Tate scored the first one on a 37-yard run, followed by Kijon Allen on a 20-yard run. The extra-point kick missed but the score became 48-0.

Toward the end of the third quarter going into the fourth, Nill and his assistant coaches got all of the Lancer players into the game.

“Every single person played,” said Nill, who started rotating players after Rosemont asked for the running clock. “We knew we had to work extra hard to get everybody in the game, and we did.”

Sanders completed 8-of-16 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, he rushed for 103 yards on five carries.

“Johnele was just a nightmare running our game against Rosemont,” Nill said.

Cordova running back Raymond Fite had 89 yards rushing on eight carries, and had 122 all-purpose yards. Colvin had his one reception for 40 yards, and Banks, who had a combined 124 all-purpose yards, 3-38. Cordova had 422 overall yards; 318 rushing and 104 passing.

“When you have over 300 yards rushing, your offensive line is clicking,” Nill said.

On defense, Fite and Jenkins, who plays linebacker, had 13 tackles each. Outside linebackers Yusef Pugh followed with eight tackles, outside linebacker Ryan McMoore and defensive back Jaylen Jones and Colvin, who plays strong safety, had four each.

This was the last SVC football game for Cordova. Next July, Cordova, for all sports, will be one of six schools as members of the inaugural Greater Sacramento League, which the section created and approved through the section’s board of managers for the 2018-22 league realignment cycle earlier this year.

Other schools joining Cordova in the new league, which is Division IV, are Florin, Johnson, Valley and West Campus, all of Sacramento, and Natomas. The SVC drops to D-V, and adds Bradshaw Christian, which is in the Sierra Delta League that is D-VI, with El Dorado, Galt, Liberty Ranch, Rosemont and Union Mine.