Cordova Lancers Football Season Preview

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG)  |  Story and photos Keith Jouganatos
  Share this pic with friends!

First year Lancers head football coach John McCoy breaks down drills with his team during a summer practice.

  Share this pic with friends!

Cordova’s starting quarterback Johnele Sanders is coming off of a big season in which he threw and rushed for over 1,000 yards.

Coach McCoy Hopes to Make Leap in First Season

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Head Coach John McCoy for the past six years has treated every day like another one at the office. Yet even he knows things have changed since being appointed head football coach at Cordova High School for this upcoming season.

“Now that I’m in charge of not just getting a set group of players ready, but everyone else such as coaches and everyone else with our staff on the same page, that’s been the biggest thing,” said McCoy.

If there was ever a year lined up perfectly for McCoy to get out on the right foot in his Lancers head coaching career then it would be this one. Cordova finished 7-4 last season and 4-1 in the Sierra Valley Conference and reached the postseason for the second consecutive year.

The Lancers bring back a core group of seniors that includes the likes of quarterback Johnele Sanders, who returns to his position under center after going over 1,000 yards both passing and running the football last season. Initially Sanders played defensive back and wide receiver, but due to quarterback issues last season the Lancers were forced to have him throw the football. It was a decision Sanders said needed some convincing at first.

“I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to take on that role because I was so nervous,” said Sanders. “But the coaching staff did an amazing job of convincing me that I could do it and once I was able to get their support I embraced the challenge.”

Sanders’ ability no doubt helped shape Cordova into having the opportunity to possess the offense that they did last season. His arm strength kept defenses on their toes due to the threat of the deep ball and his speed allowed him to get outside of the pocket and make life difficult for defensive coordinators who tried to contain him with a QB spy.

That skillset combined with just six interceptions and a 126.9 quarterback rating allowed Cordova to keep the ball on offense and run as many plays as they could while maintaining a great offensive tempo.

This offensive output was put on full display in particular at home, where Cordova finished the season a perfect 5-0 in front of their home crowd. Yet on the road was a different story as the team went just 2-3 and gave up 20 points or more in each of those defeats.

The Lancers will no doubt be put to the test on opening night of the season when they take on Vista del Lago, a team that beat them both in the regular season and in the playoffs a season ago. It’s a game that McCoy says Cordova has prepared all summer for.

“These guys understand that Vista has had our number as of late and we want to make up for the last couple of times we’ve faced them.”

Cordova will get their shot at redemption on the road to kick off the season on August 17 at 7PM.