A group of seniors and guards highlight this year’s Cordova High School boys basketball team.
Cordova head coach Fletcher Johnson welcomes back four seniors, all of whom saw significant playing time last season as juniors. The Lancers posted an 8-2 record in the Sierra Valley Conference for second place and 17-12 overall last season.
Heading the list is guard Jason Novik, who averaged 10.5 points per game last season. He’s listed on the team’s roster at 6-foot-2. Joining Novik is Najee Clark, another senior. Frontcourt players rounding out the list of seniors returning are Nik Trachuk and Mike Brown, who are 6’1 and 6-foot respectively.
“We have some leadership, shooting abilities,” Fletcher said.
Moving up to the varsity squad from last year’s Cordova junior varsity hoops squad is guard Markell Briggs, who hovers at 6’1. Briggs and Novik could be part of a three-guard starting line-up, Fletcher noted.
“There will be times we’ll have four guards and whatever post-player we can find,” Johnson said. “It’s all about the guard play.”
Calvin Augusta, a wide receiver on the Cordova football team that won a share of the SVC title last month, is another guard, also a junior. Another football player who is now sporting basketball shoes is Tyreke Tate, also a wing player.
In the early stages of the pre-season, the Lancers are looking to establish a rotation of players coming off the bench to join the starters.
“All of the things you have to do to build that team camaraderie,” Johnson said.
As for the team to beat in the SVC, Johnson is picking Union Mine, which returns most of its starters from last season. He feels his squad and Liberty Ranch will battle the Diamondbacks.
“They are the team to beat,” said Johnson of Union Mine.
On Monday, Cordova opened its season at Vista del Lago of Folsom in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Foundation Game. Admission from the game and others played in the section goes toward A. Dale Lacky Scholarship and Women in Sports Conference. The Lancers fell to the Eagles by an 85-70 score.
“Just getting up and down the floor, set the tone,” said Johnson prior to the game. “Then defense, block out, rebound and execute offensively. That’s where we’re going to hang our hats.”
On Tuesday, Cordova officially started its season at Wood of Vacaville. In overtime, the Lancers lost 73-69.
On Wednesday, Cordova played its first home game against Mira Loma. Tomorrow, Saturday, Cordova plays at Grant in another pre-season game, with a 6 p.m. start time.
Next Tuesday, the Lancers host Rocklin, also a pre-season game that is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m.
One of the benefits of the Cordova High School football team winning a share of the Sierra Valley Conference title is being honored after completion of the season.
A combined 13 Lancer gridders, plus head coach Darrin Nill, earned all-SVC first team, second team and honorable mention picks. Nine of those players were named to the conference’s first team.
Leading the way for the first team was Cordova running back Deante McCullough, who rushed 166 times for 1,493 yards and 17 touchdowns. Another offensive weapon for the Lancers selected was sophomore quarterback Xavier Johnson, who completed 138-of-248 passes for 2,043 yards and 20 touchdowns. He averaged 185.7 yards passing per game.
Rounding out the offensive players making all-SVC was wide receiver Calvin Augusta, a junior who had 51 receptions for 914 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cordova players who made the all-SVC on defense were linebackers Kenny Haney, who led the squad in tackles at 91, and Yusef Pugh, third on the team in tackles at 67.
Earning the all-SVC honor, times two, is junior linebacker Kelechi Njoku, second on the team in tackles at 74. He was also named the SVC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Rounding out the list of all-SVC honors for the Lancers were safety Tyreke Tate, and defensive backs Bryan Estrada and Raymond Fite.
Taking all-SVC second team honors were center Austin McCoy, a sophomore, and linebacker Jason Johnson, a senior.
Making the conference’s honorable mention list were Cordova linebacker Michael Gonzalez and wide receiver Alvin Banks.
“Everybody played an important role throughout the entire season,” Nill said.
Nill was named the conference’s Coach of the Year. In his second season, Nill and his assistant coaches led the Lancers to a 7-4 overall record, which included a 4-1 mark in the SVC to win a share of the title with Liberty Ranch and El Dorado.
“It’s a great honor put forth by my peers,” Nill said.
All season long, the FLC women’s soccer team made it known that their goal was to make it to the CCCAA state final four. After 120 minutes of battling both Big 8 rival Santa Rosa and relentless wind & rain on Saturday night at Falcon Stadium, the Falcons accomplished their goal when sophomore Hannah O’Donnell calmly knocked the ball past Santa Rosa goalkeeper Ally Milone to give the home team a decisive 3-2 margin in penalty kicks. The Bear Cubs had given the Falcons all they could handle, as the visitors seemed to control the time of possession throughout the first half. Meanwhile, the Falcons’ back line of Megan Trent, Mia Evans, and Natalie Fischer made sure that very few balls made it to goalkeeper Aubrey Hall, and the teams were scoreless after 45 minutes. After some halftime adjustments (and with the wind & rain now at their backs), the Falcons stepped up the pressure. Still, neither team managed to find the net in regulation time as they remained deadlocked at 0-0. Playoff rules call for two 15- minute overtime periods (no Golden Goal rule), so the teams trudged back onto the drenched field for another 30 minutes of fun in the rain. Again, both teams had their chances but neither could score, leaving the outcome to the dreaded penalty kick shootout (alternating 5 shots for each team) as the rain intensified. With the Bear Cubs missing their first two shots off the posts, sophomore Tori Pearson gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead after two rounds. Two rounds later, sophomore Amber Hicks put the Falcons ahead 2-1 with just one round to go. After the Bear Cubs made it 2-2 with their fifth shot, Hannah O’Donnell sent the decisive shot into the net to send the Falcons to Ventura. The Falcons (17-3-4) will now set their sights on their next opponent: number one-ranked Cerritos (21-1-1 overall), who qualified for the Final Four just as FLC did – on penalty kicks after an overtime tie. Cerritos will be playing for their fifth straight CCCAA State Championship, having won it in 2012, ’13, ’14, and ’15. The teams will meet on Friday at 1:00 pm at Ventura College with the winner playing for the State Championship on Sunday afternoon (2:00 pm, again at Ventura College) against the Diablo Valley/Santa Barbara winner.
Upcoming Sports Schedule
Fri Dec 2 Women’s Soccer vs Cerritos at Ventura College, 1:00 pm (State Semi-Finals)
(Sun Dec 2) (if FLC wins on Friday) Women’s Soccer vs Diablo Valley/Santa Barbara winner at Ventura College, 2:00 pm (State Championship)
The inaugural season of Folsom Lake College Volleyball was finally ended in the second round of the state playoffs by defending state champion Cabrillo College on Saturday night in Aptos, as the Seahawks defeated the Falcons 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-14). The Seahawks showed why they are the number one seed in northern California as they earned their sixth trip to the State Championship Tournament since 2010. The Falcons finished with an overall season record of 20-9 and easily surpassed all expectations for a first-year program. With only one sophomore on the squad, there should be a solid returning group to build from as they look toward year two. Congratulations to head coach Matt Torrez, assistant coaches Devin Jimenez and Molly Hanrahan, and to this fine group of volleyball players!
Cordova High School boys soccer head coach Eric McCahon has been adjusting his players to the change of seasons.
The Lancers, along with the rest of the Sierra Valley Conference and the Sac-Joaquin Section, have played boys soccer during the fall season for more than three decades. But two years ago, the section approved a measure to move high school boys and girls soccer to the winter season. This is in hopes of setting up state playoffs that is already set such as football, volleyball, cross-country, boys and girls basketball and track and field.
“The toughest part of the switch to the winter was the long layoff between competitive contests,” McCahon said. “But I feel we took full advantage of the long off-season.”
Part of the Lancers’ off-season workouts was McCahon running full summer strength and conditioning program. Those workouts were extended into the fall season “to maximize the boys’ physical development,” the coach noted.
“This also allowed the boys extra time to bond and develop a better team chemistry,” McCahon said. “I hoping the extra time in training will translate to better chemistry on the field, too.”
This season, McCahon has plenty of key players returning from the fall 2015 team that earned one of the conference’s three playoff berths. Cordova finished the 2015 season with a 5-3-2 record in the SVC and 12-10-3 overall mark. In the midfield are Bernardo Valdez, Antonio Ortega, Pedro Garcia and Eugene Kharamtsova in the midfield. Playing as one of the fullbacks is Eder Gamez. Kevin Bejines returns as the team’s goalie.
“I feel one of the main strengths of this team is experience,” McCahon said. “Having so many returning players from a playoff team should serve us well in tough matches.”
Newcomers for Cordova are juniors Oscar Natalio, who will start on defense, plus Izayjah McKinney and Erick Hernandez. All of them played on the fall 2015 frosh-soph soccer squad.
“The team is also very well balanced throughout all positions the field,” McCahon said. “It's a very versatile team, with many players able to play multiple roles in many different spots on the field.”
Next Monday, the Lancers scrimmage at Burbank of Sacramento. Then Cordova plays for real on Tuesday, when it hosts River City; game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Lancer Stadium. Then on Thursday, Dec. 1st, Cordova plays an afternoon game at Jesuit; start time is 3 p.m.
The Lancers continue their preseason schedule with eight more pre-season games, plus competing at the Del Campo Tournament a week before Christmas.
“I feel we have a non-league schedule that sets up well to prepare for league,” McCahon said. “Two tough matches right off the start with River City, and Jesuit on the road. The Del Campo tournament presents some challenging matches well. I like having a team that is tested before heading into league play.”
Plus, the Cordova varsity boys and girls soccer teams will host a doubleheader; on Jan. 3rd, 2017, the squads will host Laguna Creek of Elk Grove. Cordova boys start SVC action on Jan. 12th at Rosemont.
Members of the Cordova High School varsity girls soccer team take part in the centipede drill, where all girls laid down on the ground, except for one who leaps over the others and then drops at the end of the group. The Lady Lancers open their season next Tuesday with a non-league game at Chavez of Stockton.
The first-year FLC volleyball team learned late Thursday that they had earned the number eight NorCal seed in the state playoffs, and thus will host a first round playoff match against Big 8 Conference foe Delta College on Tuesday night at Falcon Gymnasium. The Falcons were expecting a number 10 or 11 seed, but their strength of schedule and the depth of quality teams in the tough Big 8 Conference landed them at home for Round 1. The matchup pits two teams with identical 10-6 Big 8 records, while the Falcons are 19-8 overall compared to the Mustangs’ 18-8. The teams met twice this season with FLC winning both matches, though the most recent was a 5-set nailbiter in Stockton on November 4. The Falcons hope the home crowd will bring plenty of noise and energy as they attempt to advance to Round 2. Ticket prices are set by the California Community College Athletic Association and are as follows:
General Admission: $12
Students, staff, faculty, seniors, and children: $8
The Falcons opened the state playoffs with a convincing 4-0 victory over Mendocino College on Saturday night in a driving rainstorm in Falcon Stadium. The brave (and drenched) crowd saw Falcon sophomore Allie Miller open the scoring in the 8th minute after a brilliant pass from Breanna Brumet. Freshman Keionna Claypoole added to the lead seven minutes later with an unassisted goal to make it 2-0 at halftime. Sophomore Karina Torres scored off a rebound in the 60th minute (her 10th of the season), then Claypoole added her 11th of the season for the 4-0 final score. The Falcons’ defense was particularly stellar as Mendocino was denied any shots on goal in the entire 90 minutes. The Falcons will now face Big 8 Conference and LRCCD district rival Cosumnes River on Tuesday evening at Falcon Stadium. The two teams split their two matches this season with each team winning on the other’s home field. The Falcons hope to reverse that trend in order to continue their quest for a berth in the State Final Four. Kickoff time will be at 5:00 pm – come out and make it a Playoff Doubleheader (soccer at 5, volleyball at 7).
(home matches in bold)
Sat Nov 26 Women’s Soccer Round 3; Women’s Volleyball; Round 2
Throughout the season, the Cordova High School football team has found ways to score a touchdown or field goal, once inside an opponents’ red zone.
That led to the Lancers producing a 7-3 overall record. That included a 4-1 mark to win a share of the Sierra Valley Conference title with Liberty Ranch and El Dorado, and Cordova’s first league title in 25 years.
The scoring continued for Cordova against Christian Brothers in the first round of a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff game at Hughes Stadium on the Sacramento City College campus. But turnovers, both inside the Falcons’ red zone, were the downfall for the Lancers.
That led to Cordova, the No. 14th seed, being clipped by the Falcons 30-20 on Nov. 11th. This was the Lancers’ first playoff appearance since 2006. Christian Brothers, the No.3 seed, is 3-0 against the Lancers in playoff meetings between the two schools.
“We had a total of four turnovers,” said Cordova head coach Darren Nill. “It’s pretty hard to win a playoff game when you have four turnovers.”
The Lancers led 14-12 entering the fourth quarter. The Falcons soared to the lead, courtesy of a Lancer fumble, on an 18-yard pass. Along with the 2-point conversion, Christian Brothers led 20-14 just one minute into the final quarter.
Then the Falcons bumped their lead to 22-14 on a safety in the Lancers’ end zone. Christian Brothers added its final touchdown of the game on another pass, this time of 32 yards. Another 2-point conversion gave the Falcons a 30-14 advantage with six minutes remaining in the contest.
“This was a hard-hitting, fun type of game,” Nill said. “It wasn’t chippy; both teams were helping each other up (after plays). Just out there, having a good time playing football. That was really fun to watch.”
But the Lancers never gave up. On its next offensive drive, Cordova trimmed the lead to 30-20 when quarterback Xavier Johnson scored on a 14-yard run. Toward the end of the quarter, the Lancers had the ball again, but an interception led to Falcon possession and victory.
Cordova recorded its first touchdown of the game with a minute left in the opening quarter. Johnson completed a 29-yard pass to wide receiver Alvin Banks for a 6-0 lead.
“We really took it to them,” Nill said. “Through three quarters, we were the best team out there.”
Christian Brothers tied the game at 6-6 on another TD pass from quarterback Tyler Vander Waal, who threw four in the game. The score remained that way at halftime. Then in the third quarter, the Lancers took a 14-6 lead when running back Deante McCullough scored on a 70-yard run. Johnson ran in the 2-point conversion.
Lancer defensive end Kelechi Njoku, a junior who also doubles as one of the team’s running backs, led the squad in tackles with 12. Linebacker Yusef Pugh followed with eight tackles, defensive back Bryan Estrada seven and linebacker Jason Johnson and middle linebacker Kenneth Haney had six each.
Cordova wasn’t the only SVC champion eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Liberty Ranch was within reach of Placer, 14-7 in the first quarter but fell 42-21, in a D-IV contest in Auburn. In another D-IV playoff opener, El Dorado led 20-10, but fell to Los Banos, 23-20.