Tough Stuff Yet Again for Cordova

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG)  |  Story by Daniel Mano; Photos by Rick Sloan
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Raymond Fite carries the ball for the Lancers. The senior finished with 43 yards.

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Wrapping up its non-league schedule with a third straight late defeat left the Cordova High School football team a bit baffled. The Lancers lost 26-23 to the Oakmont on Sept. 21 despite holding an 11-point lead with three minutes remaining.

“We battle. We just need to learn how to finish the game,” Cordova head coach John McCoy said. “I wouldn’t trade our kids for anything in the world. They have heart – and you can see it at the end of the game, how devastated they were.”

Oakmont rode a bad snap on a potential punt and a late interception to upend Cordova.

Johnele Sanders went 13 for 17 passing with 200 yards and three touchdowns, plus a score on the ground. His leading receiver was Jeremiah Bankett, who caught three passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

After Oakmont opened the game with an eight-play scoring drive, Sanders put Cordova on the board. The quarterback fooled a defender with a hitch-step and sliced up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown. On the nine-play scoring drive, he connected with Raymond Fite twice, a diving Alvin Banks and Mark Withers.

After forcing a three-and-out Cordova struck again — and quickly. Five plays was all the Lancers needed to take the lead.

Kenneth Brown snagged a 21-yard pass to get Cordova into Oakmont territory. Banks capped the drive with a leaping 26-yard touchdown catch on a fade route for a 13-8 advantage.

The ensuing Oakmont drive petered out largely because of a sack by Kelton Stevens, who sprinted around the left side and surprised the quarterback.

Marbin Sanchez and Jaylen Jones also stood out on defense in the defeat.

Cordova’s run game set up its next score, accounting for three first downs. Sanders then lofted a 41-yard pass to Bankett, who tip-toed just in-bounds before the pylon to make it 19-8 Lancers late in the first half.

Cordova countered another Oakmont touchdown with a 55-yard scoring catch by Bankett.

However, the Vikings scored twice in the last three minutes to beat Cordova.

“Based on the league we’re going into, we took a very hard preseason,” McCoy said. “Now we’re battle-tested.”

The Lancers (1-5) hit the road next to take on the Johnson Warriors (3-3) on Friday, September 28. Kickoff is set for 7:15.