Cordova Football Ends Preseason with Victory

By Mike Bush  |  2017-09-28

Alvin Banks Touchdown. Photo by Rick Sloan

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) – Three touchdowns set the tone early for the Cordova High School football team in its final pre-season game.

Hosting Foothill at Lancer Stadium on Friday, Sept. 22, the Lancers’ fast start led to corralling the Mustangs 69-36. The victory gives Cordova a 3-2 record going into its bye week.

Lancer quarterback Johnele Sanders scored two of the team’s three touchdowns in the first quarter that led to a 21-0 advantage. The junior scored the first one on a 3-yard run, and toward the end of the quarter, Sanders found wide receiver Alvin Banks on a 44-yard pass for his second TD.

In between Sanders’ scores, Cordova running back Jordan Colvin found the end zone on a 10-yard rushing score halfway through the quarter. Banks scored on a 2-point conversion that gave the Lancers a 21-0 lead.

“We knew that we had some athletes of the field who could take advantage of their defense, and we did,” said Cordova head coach Darren Nill.

After Foothill (1-4) scored its first touchdown in the second quarter, Cordova scored four touchdowns. That included two more touchdown passes from Sanders, in between with running back Raymond Fite completed a 20-yard pass to Banks. Sanders finished the quarter with another touchdown on a 20-yard run.

But the Mustangs galloped to two more touchdowns. But the Lancers held a 47-22 halftime lead.

Both teams were scoreless in the third quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, the Lancers scored three more touchdowns, all on the ground from Banks and Sanders, both of whom combined for eight touchdowns. The Lancers finished with 607 offensive yards; 360 rushing and 247 passing. Cordova is averaging 42.2 points per game.

“If they are going to give us the run, we’re going to take the run,” said Nill of the Mustangs’ defense. “If they are going to give us the pass, we’re going to take the pass … they responded.”

Changes on the offensive line, Nill notes, in recent games has helped shore up the Lancers’ rushing game. That includes some linemen going one way, and allowing those who were playing both sides of the ball to focus on defense.

Sanders completed 15-of-23 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 19 carries for 218 yards. Banks had nine receptions for 221 yards, and made 3-of-4 of the Lancers’ extra-point kicks.

On defense, Cordova inside linebacker Andrew Turner led the team in tackles with eight. Outside linebackers Yusef Pugh and Ryan McMoore had seven tackles each. Pugh had two fumble recoveries, an interception and a quarterback sack, and Colvin, a defensive end, also had a quarterback sack. Banks, who also plays defensive back, also had two picks and linebacker Mason Trujillo also had an interception.

Although Cordova produced a win, the defense has given up an average of 39.4 points per game in five games.

“We have a lot of work,” Nill said. “Coaches are never content, and especially our group. We are nowhere near perfect.”

Now with pre-season in the rear-view mirror, Cordova will set its sights on Sierra Valley Conference action. On Friday, Oct. 6, the Lancers make the Highway 99 trek to the southern part of Sacramento County to play Galt (3-1), which knocked off Mira Loma 38-0 when the Lancers were beating Foothill. The Warriors conclude their preseason hosting Franklin of Stockton this Friday.

...

Late Mistakes Costly for Cordova Footbal

By Mike Bush  |  2017-09-22

Alvin Banks on the kick return.

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.

...

Experience Returns for Cordova Football

By Mike Bush  |  2017-08-31

Cordova quarterback Tyreke Tate looks to find room to run against Capital Christian in last week

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – A group of returning players gives the Cordova High School football team momentum this season.

Tonight, Friday, the Lancers will host Chavez of Stockton at Lancers Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Prior to the season opener against Rio Americano last Friday – see elsewhere in this section on the game – Cordova football head coach Darrin Nill talked about the squad after his Lancers On Aug. 18th, Cordova scrimmaged at Capital Christian.

“You had some positive surprises, and some negative surprises,” Nill said.

One of the positives was the Lancers’ consistency on moving the ball on offense. “We moved the ball well on them,” Nill said.

On the other side of the ball, the Cougars were more physical than the Lancers.

“I think that surprised our guys,” said Nill of the Cougars.

Spearheading returning players are senior quarterback Tyreke Tate (6-foot, 187 pounds), who led the Lancers’ defense at free safety that led to a share of the SVC title with Liberty Ranch and El Dorado last fall.

Joining Tate, who will continue to play the free safety spot, is wide receiver Calvin Augusta, second in the SVC in receiving last year and like Tate was all-SVC player. Augusta also play defensive back. Junior Alvin Banks is back at wide receiver and defensive back, another all-SVC player.

“That kid can just flat out play football,” said Nill of Banks. “He’s a fantastic athlete; he can throw the ball, he can catch the ball. I think if he could throw the ball and catch it himself, he probably would.”

Looking to carry the ball on the ground is senior running back Clifford Bright, who will be one of the Lancers’ defensive ends and a three-year starter. Joining Bright in the backfield will be junior Raymond Fite, who started as a sophomore last season. Fite is also listed as a defensive back, a spot he made all-SVC.

On the offensive and defensive line for the Lancers are seniors, starting with center/defensive tackle Austin McCoy (6-foot, 260) and offensive/defensive tackle Michael Castillo (6’1, 245), left guard/defensive tackle Joseph Salcedo (5’9, 270), another three-year starter and right guard/defensive end Josh Colvin (6’3, 200).

...

Raiders Rally to Beat Lancers in Opener

By Mike Bush  |  2017-08-30

Cordova defensive back Raymond Fite (12) picks off a Rio Americano pass that was returned for a touchdown in the Lancers

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – A two-point lead was something that the Cordova High School football team was looking to expand in the fourth quarter against Rio Americano in the season opener.

But the Raiders were the ones who came away with a 42-35 win over the Lancers at Del Campo High on Aug. 25th. The loss was tough for Cordova, which had a combined 488 total offensive yards against the Raiders’ defense.

Entering the final quarter, Cordova (0-1) led 27-25. But two interceptions by the Raiders’ defense led the way toward touchdowns. On top of that, two kickoffs were returned for touchdowns.

“What cost us the game was our lack of effort on the kickoffs,” said Cordova head coach Darren Nill. “Those are just back-breakers.”

That helped the Raiders score 17 points in the final eight minutes of the game to secure the victory. An 8-yard pass, plus the extra-point kick, gave Rio Americano a 32-27 lead. A rushing touchdown and two field goals cushioned the Raiders’ lead to 45-27.

The Lancers cut the lead toward the end of the quarter when quarterback Johnele Sanders threw a 75-yard pass. Cordova opted and converted on the 2-point conversion, but that was all of the Lancers’ scoring in the game.

In the first quarter, both teams scored a touchdown each, but failed on the extra-points, for a 6-6 score. Then in the second quarter, Sanders completed a 25-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Calvin Augusta. Add the extra-point, and the Lancers had their first lead of the season at 13-6.

After the Raiders scored to cut the lead to 13-12, the Lancers added a 5-yard touchdown run to increase their lead to 20-12. But Rio Americano returned the kickoff 100-yards to trim into the Lancers’ lead to 20-19, all in the second quarter.

“We’re making some personnel changes on our kickoff,” said Nill of the kickoff team that allowed the touchdown. “Trying to get some more hungry kids out there, some more physical kids, to stop that type of thing.”

Sanders hit Augusta again, this time on a 73-yard pass, midway through the third quarter to increase Cordova’s lead to 27-19.

The Lancers had four fumbles in the game, all in the first half. But lost the ball only once to the Raiders.

“I thought that Rio Americano came out and outplayed our guys in the first half,” Nill said.

Sanders completed 7-of-9 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown in the game. He also rushed 11 times for 102 yards and another touchdown. Raymond Fite had three receptions for 99 yards.

On defense, Augusta, from his defensive back spot, had 12 tackles and outside linebacker Yusef Pugh had nine.

Tonight, Friday, Cordova will play its first home game of the season at Lancers Stadium against Chavez. The Stockton school fell to Mountain House, 33-12, in the season opener on the Mustangs’ field last Friday. Game time for today’s game is 7:30 p.m. 

...

Falcon Women Looking to Defend Big 8 Title

By Richardson, Ronald   |  2017-08-23

The Folsom Lake College women’s soccer team will open their fifth season on Friday night, August 25, at Cabrillo College in Aptos with hopes of continuing their phenomenal run of success.  Since their inaugural season in 2013, the Falcons have won four straight conference titles – three as members of the Bay Valley Conference and one (2016) as co-champions of the Big 8 Conference – and have qualified for the CCCAA state playoffs in each season.

The 2017 Falcons feature several returning starters from their 2016 team, including Big 8 all-conference 1st team forward Keionna Claypoole and all-region defender Megan Trent at center back. Other key returnees for the Falcons include forward Andrea Martinez (2015 Bay Valley Conference “Freshman of the Year”), midfielders Paige Verneuille and Britney Johnson, outside back Jimena Jovel (who sat out 2016 with an ACL tear), and forward Kaylin Johnson.

FLC head coach Donny Ribaudo is also excited about the crop of new players on his roster.  Freshman midfielder Riley Spitzer (Oakmont HS) and freshman forward Shayla Merene - who recently moved to Folsom with her family from Bowie, Maryland – are expected to provide valuable minutes for the Falcons.  Sophomore transfers Tiara Webb (forward, Univ of San Francisco) and Rachel Roberts (defender, San Diego Christian College) also look to have an impact. 

Coach Ribaudo predicts the Big 8 to be another dogfight for the title with Diablo Valley (2016 co-champions) and Santa Rosa (3rd place in 2016) leading the way.  The Falcons will open their home schedule on Friday, September 1 with an afternoon match against Solano College, their first of 11 home matches. 

...

Women’s Tennis is Back

Source: Gold River Racquet Club  |  2017-06-28

Caitlin Whorisky and Ashley Weinhold team up against their competition. 
-- Photo courtesy of Gold River Racquest Club.

From July 23 to 30, some of the world’s top up-and-coming women tennis players will be playing in the FSP Gold River Women’s Challenger. This year, these women will be playing for $60,000 in prize money and be part of the US Open Wild Card Series.

For the fourth straight year, the tournament will be part of the US Open Wild Card Series. The top American female player with the best performance over the course of this series will receive a Wild Card entry to the main draw of the US Open in New York at the end of August worth $43,000 for the winner.

The $60,000 FSP Gold River Women’s Challenger will have a singles main draw of 32 players and doubles main draw of 16 teams. The main draw of the tournament begins Tuesday, July 25 and the final match of the tournament will be Sunday, July 30. The qualifying tournament begins Sunday, July 23.

These matches will be played throughout the day and early evening during the tournament. General admission is complimentary during qualifying events and main draw day sessions. Admission is $10 for Thursday to Sunday evening sessions. Tickets for these sessions are available at or at Gold River Racquet Club on match day. Gold River Racquet Club is located 2201 Gold River Drive, Gold River.

USTA Pro Circuit tournaments are a series of professional tournaments with prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 and WTA ranking points. The challenger level tournaments are just a notch below WTA events, very similar to Triple AAA baseball, like the Sacramento River Cats. Every year there are ladies from 10 to 12 different countries that will have a world ranking of 100 to 400.

For up to date information about or during the tournament, go to

...

Trio Looking to Make Impact in Cordova Football

By Mike Bush  |  2017-06-22

Kiran Pooni gets ready to catch the football during a workout at Lancers Stadium. The junior is one of two girls on the Cordova varsity football team, and three in the program. 
-- Photo by Mike Bush

On a warm afternoon earlier this month, the Cordova High School varsity and frosh/soph football teams descended onto the turf at Lancers Stadium.

After spending more than an hour pumping iron inside the school’s weight room, the players on both teams worked on drills in T-shirts and shorts participated in offensive drills that ranged from 7-on-7 to running plays. Among the players were three girls on both teams.

For the first time since Darren Nill became the Cordova varsity football coach in 2015, the Lancers have two girls on the varsity team and another on the frosh/soph team. Kiran Pooni and AJ Williams are vying for playing time on the varsity team and Yancy Alfaro on the frosh/soph team.

Pooni is already a proven student-athlete at Cordova. Last winter, the incoming junior started at midfielder on the Cordova varsity girls soccer team. She also played on the school’s junior varsity girls basketball team.

“Kiran came up to me during the (last) school year and said, ‘Coach, I’m really interested in playing football,’” said Nill of his conversation with Pooni. “She said she wants to do it. I asked around campus, and have been told she’s one of the best female athletes on campus. I felt pretty sure she knew what she was doing. She can handle herself.”

Pooni added, “I’ve always had an interest in it. I wanted to show people that just because you’re a girl don’t mean you can’t do things that guys can do.”

Williams and Alfaro came out when the Lancers started their practices earlier this month.

“I saw AJ the first week of practice,” said Nill of Williams, who will be a senior when the 2017-18 school year starts in early August. “She showed up and said she wanted to play.”

Williams, who will be a senior when the 2017-18 school year starts in early August, added, “He’s helped me step-by-step… he’s been very helpful.”

Pooni and Williams, along with Alfaro, worked out at wide receiver and defensive back in practices. Those are the spots that the trio would be listed when the season starts toward the end of August.

The male football players on both teams have embraced all three players, Nill notes. The girls are treated the same way as the boys.

“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Nill said.

Williams added, “They’ve treated me like one of the team. They don’t even care that I’m a female.”

When practices first started earlier this month, Nill felt that the girls felt intimated. But they stood their grounds in practices and weight room.

“AJ, what I like about her, is her grit,” said Nill of Williams. “She came out and had some problems; running, health. I don’t think she was probably hydrated when she first came out. And I thought for sure after that first practice we’d never see her again. And she kept coming back out, and I applaud her for that.”

Williams added, “Football has been very good.”

Pooni admitted that she had limited confidence when practices first started. But as each days and time in the weight room and football field passes, she’s continued to build her self-esteem to a higher level.

In fact, the coaches Pooni has been working on punting and kicking for the Lancers. After all, she did a lot of kicking on the girls soccer team last winter.

“It’s much more intense,” said Pooni of football. “You have to have a lot more focus.”

Pooni and Williams, along with Alfaro, and Cordova open the season on Friday, Aug. 25th against Rio Americano at Del Campo’s field.

...Read More!