Cordova Boys Basketball Start Playoffs

By Mike Bush  |  2017-02-23
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In the 1982 movie Rocky III, Rocky Balboa’s former rival turned trainer Apollo Creed spars with Rocky in preparing for his rematch against Clubber Lang.

During their sparring, Balboa wants to stop, and tells Creed “tomorrow.” Then Creed fired back by saying, “There is no tomorrow.”

That’s the approach that Cordova High School boys basketball team is using when it comes to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.

On Wednesday, the Lancers are one of 16 prep hoop teams that begin action in the section’s D-III playoffs. Tabbed as the No. 15th seed, Cordova makes the short trek to the Bradshaw Road Exit to play at Capital Christian, the No. 2 seed.

Should Cordova beat Capital Christian in the first round, it plays the winner of the No. 10 Benicia-No. 7 Center playoff game. That game would be played today, Friday, at 7 p.m.

Cordova enters the post-season with a 15-11 record, which includes an 8-2 mark in the Sierra Valley Conference for a second-place finish. The Cougars posted a 12-0 record to capture the Golden Empire League title, and went 19-7 during the regular season.

Cordova head coach Fletcher Johnson spoke before Wednesday’s game. He feels the keys going into the playoff opener against the Cougars are his Lancers committing minimal turnovers and fast start on offense.

“That’s what I think will be the key,” Johnson said. “If we execute offensively, and don’t have turnovers, and get some fast breaks, that is what’s going to keep us in the game. In the playoffs, there is no tomorrow.”

Throughout the season, the Lancers have battled injuries to both starters and role players. But Cordova has dug deep with its depth, in particular in conference play that led to only two losses, both to Liberty Ranch, which won the SVC title and also opened the D-IV playoffs as the No. 6 seed hosting No. 11 Lindhurst.

Leading scorers for the Lancers, entering Wednesday’s playoff opener, are guards Markell Briggs at 14.9 points per game, Jason Novik at 14.2 per game and Calvin Augusta at 13.6. Xavier Johnson at 8.7 points per game and Joseph Danielyan follow at 7.9 points per game.

Johnson feels the strength of the Cougars’ offense is the front and back courts. Three players are averaging double-digits in scoring; Zachary Chappell at 15.2 points per game, Austin Alexander at 13.5 and Conor Jeffery at 12.7.

“They’ve got exceptional guards,” Johnson said. “They’ve got outside shooting. That’s going to be a tough battle.”


Softball Defeats Lassen in Home Opener; Ninth Inning Rally Caps Falcon Victory

Source: Ronald Richardson, Folsom Lake College  |  2017-02-23

Catcher Gabby Fruciano had an RBI single and played great defense behind the plate.

Women’s Softball

Having endured two weeks’ worth of rainouts, spillway failures, and drenched fields, the FLC softball team finally got a chance to play their second game of the season on Wednesday afternoon, their first at Falcon Diamond in 2017. The rust was apparent in the early innings as the Falcons failed to get a hit until the bottom of the third. Meanwhile, Lassen had built a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and third innings. But in the fourth, the Falcons’ bats awoke as they tied the score on runs by Brie Maddux and Kelsey Liddell. With their confidence growing, the Falcons continued to put the ball in play as they added a run in the fifth on Gabby Fruciano’s RBI single that scored Amanda Miller to make it 3-2. With the Cougars threatening in the sixth, the Falcon defense stepped up with big plays by Liddell at second and Mickaela Robertson in centerfield. The Falcons added two unearned insurance runs in the sixth on a single by Liddell and a 2-error bunt by Robertson before pitcher McKenna Rickles shut down the Cougars in the seventh to earn the win.

The victory was the first for new Falcon head coach Jenna Alexander, who was pleased with the way her team competed. “We didn’t back down after we fell behind. We kept grinding, kept putting the pressure on the opponent. Our defense made some key plays and it paid off,” noted the coach.

The Falcons’ next game is scheduled for next Tuesday, a home doubleheader against Los Medanos… weather permitting. Saturday’s doubleheader at College of the Redwoods has already been cancelled due to the weather and field conditions in Eureka. Instead, they’ll play a doubleheader at FLC on Friday, February 24.

Men’s Baseball

Trailing 4-2 and down to their last two outs on Saturday afternoon at College of Marin, the FLC baseball team staged a remarkable ninth inning rally that saw them score 10 runs, resulting in a wild 12-4 Falcon victory. The Falcons had trailed since the second inning, when the Mariners scored on three walks and a balk by Falcon pitcher Grant Dragmire. Dragmire had been FLC's most consistent starter through the first 10 games, but control issues plagued him on Saturday. He loaded the bases in the third with a walk and two hit batters before a double and a groundout brought in three more Mariner runs for a 4-0 lead. But the FLC bullpen shut down the Mariners the rest of the way, with Cody Lindsey and Austin Beard each pitching three shutout innings. In the fourth, the Falcons bunched four singles to produce two runs that cut the deficit to 4-2. The score remained that way until the fateful ninth, when the Falcons took advantage of three Mariner errors but also provided six hits, including a John Mook triple and a Carson McCusker homer (his fifth of the season) to blow the game open. The win improves the Falcons' season record to 6-5 and was their fourth win in their last five games.

Upcoming Sports Schedule

Fri Feb 24 Softball vs Redwoods at FLC, 12 noon and 2:00 pm
                M/W Tennis vs Solano at FLC, 1:00 pm

Sat Feb 25 Baseball at Porterville, 12 noon
                Softball at Delta (Stockton), 12 noon and 2:00 pm


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Elijah Morgera Moving Forward to Graceland University

By Mike Bush  |  2017-02-16

Elijah Morgera, middle, signs his National Letter of Intent in front of his parents, father Dean (left) and mother Erica, on the Cordova High School campus last week. Morgera, a two-sport athlete in football, plus track and field, has signed with Graceland University to play football. Standing on the side is Cordova track and field head coach Shane Jackson. 
--Photo by Mike Bush

Elijah Morgera enters this up spring season as one of the captains on the Cordova High School boys track and field team.

Last fall, he played wide receiver and defensive back on the CHS football team that posted a 7-4 record that included a share of the Sierra Valley Conference title, and a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff berth.

As Morgera, now a senior, prepares for Lancer boys’ track and field team, he will also have his thoughts on the next chapter of life outside of Rancho Cordova after he graduates this spring.

At Cordova’s campus in front of parents Dean and Erica, plus friends, coaches and the school’s administrators on Feb. 8th, Morgera signed his National Letter of Intent with Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. Along with plans to obtaining a college degree in criminal justice, Morgera is slated to play wide receiver on the Yellowjackets’ football team.

Morgera is the second Cordova football player to sign with a four-year college. Two weeks ago, middle linebacker Kenny Haney signed to play at Southern Oregon University.

Morgera said there were two dozen colleges he applied. The friendly atmosphere at Graceland University drew his interest.

“The coaches were very welcoming,” Morgera said. “They sent me lots of e-mails, text messages every day to see how I was doing, and if I was still interested in coming. I felt a family environment.”

Playing in only four football games last fall – Morgera broke his collarbone in the Lancers’ season opener against Rio Americano, but returned later in the season –he had 5 receptions for 64 yards.

As a junior last spring, Morgera posted impressive numbers in short distance races for the Lancers. In the 100 meters, his best time was 11.84 seconds at an SVC dual meet against Liberty Ranch. In that same meet, he was clocked at 24.04 in the 200 meters.

Last April, also at an SVC meet against Galt, in the 400 meters, Morgera recorded his time in the 400 meters at 52.94. In addition, he helped anchor two relay teams; the 4x100 boys relay team that registered at 45.76 and the 4x400 boys relay team at 3 minutes, 35.67 seconds. Both were set at the SVC championships.

Being involved in Cordova’s football and track and field programs have been a blessing, Morgera stated.

“The coaches I’ve had,” Morgera said.

He further credits Cordova track and field head coach Shane Jackson, and sprinting coach Roger Parker for training him over the years.

“They’ve been very helpful in the process,” Morgera said.

Jackson added, “He’s been an amazing two-sport athlete for us. He’s done a lot of the hard work himself. He took care of business in the classroom, and that’s one of the biggest things. He was never one we had to worry about.”

Cordova football head coach Darrin Nill said that Morgera is “a great kid” who echoed that academics are more important than athletics, and that will carry Morgera through life.


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Lancers End SVC Action with Win

By Mike Bush  |  2017-02-16

Cordova guard Jason Novik blocks a shot from a Liberty Ranch player in last Friday’s SVC boys basketball game. 
--Photo by Rick Sloan

A long night ended with a happy ending of the regular season for the Cordova High School boys basketball team.

Playing at Union Mine in the Sierra Valley Conference finale on Tuesday, the Lancers overcame a long night that included the freshmen contest going into overtime. That extended into a late start of the junior varsity contest. Before the varsity game started, the Diamondbacks had Senior Night to honor their seven seniors on the squad.

But the Lancers finished the game with a 72-36 win over the D’backs that concludes the regular season with an 8-2 record in the SVC and 15-11 overall.

“We wanted to make sure that we came out very aggressive,” said Cordova head coach Fletcher Johnson, “and that we shot the ball very well.”

That’s exactly what the Lancers did in the first half. Cordova jumped out to a 20-10 lead. That expanded to a 37-16 lead at halftime, en route to the win.

Leading scorers for Cordova were Markell Briggs with 29 points, which included four 3-pointers in the first half. Calvin Augusta followed with 14 points, Najee Clark and Joe Danielyan seven points each, Jason Novik and Mike Brown six points each and Caleb Clark three.

Liberty Ranch 88, Cordova 78

In Friday’s SVC game at Lancers Gym, the conference title was on the line for both teams. Both were tied for first place in the conference at 7-1 each.

The first quarter had visiting Liberty Ranch jump out to a 23-14 lead. But the Lancers countered back with their own scoring frenzy with 27 points. That knocked down the Hawks’ lead to 45-41 at halftime.

Halftime adjustments to the Hawks’ offense allowed the Lancers to take the lead in the third quarter. But that was short-lived, as Liberty Ranch retook the lead, and hung onto a 70-67 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

The game was marked with many fouls that included technical fouls called on both teams; excessive celebration after points were made to keep the game close. That led to Cordova and Liberty Ranch to attempt nearly 50 free throws – combined – in the game.

“They came out pretty aggressive,” said Johnson of the Hawks. “By the time the third quarter came around, we had countered adjusted.”

Briggs was one of three Lancers who scored in double figures with 27 points. Augusta had 14 points and Novik 11. Brown finished with nine. Liberty Ranch’s Chandler Garcia and Jalen Patterson had 24 points each.

The top three SVC teams earn automatic playoff berths. That includes Cordova, along with conference champion Liberty Ranch and third place Rosemont (7-3 in the SVC).

Yesterday, Thursday, the Sac-Joaquin Section was scheduled to release the playoff brackets for boys and girls basketball. To see who Cordova is playing to start the playoffs, visit www.cifsjs.org.


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Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader; Men’s Tennis Brings Home Trophy; Women’s Tennis Earns Honors

Source: Ronald Richardson, Folsom Lake College  |  2017-02-16

Starter Grant Dragmire threw 7 strong innings in the opener.

Men’s Baseball

The Falcons took full advantage of the sunny weather and home field as they swept a doubleheader from Gavilan College on Saturday at Falcon Field, 6-5 and 6-2, to even their season record at 4-4. Freshman Grant Dragmire continued to shine as the team’s top starter as he earned the win, going seven innings while allowing three earned runs on five hits. Sophomore Brandon Bachman got the save with a perfect ninth, including two strikeouts. Offensively, freshman centerfielder Aidan Malm had two hits and drove in two runs to lead the Falcons. Rightfielder Carson McCusker, after tripling to deep right field to lead off the seventh, scored what turned out to be the winning run on Mason Allen’s RBI single.

In the afternoon game, freshman starter Landon Mitchell threw six innings of shutout ball while giving up just two hits. More importantly, he allowed just one walk and kept runners off the bases. Meanwhile, the Gavilan pitchers were doing the opposite as they hit six Falcon batters and walked five, and with Rams’ fielders committing four errors, fell behind 5-0 after five innings. The Rams managed to get two runs in the eighth to make it somewhat interesting before Falcon freshman Josh Winkler (who played third base in both games) came on in relief and shut them down in the ninth with two strikeouts. Aidan Malm and backup catcher Jack Rotteveel each had two hits in the game.

The Falcons will host perennial playoff contender Fresno City College at Falcon Field today at 4:00 pm. Come on out to see this exciting team in action; FLC faculty, staff, and students get in free with I.D.

Men’s Tennis

The FLC men’s tennis team earned their first-ever team trophy over the weekend with a second-place showing in the 12-team Modesto Tournament. Every Falcon entry (6 singles and 3 doubles) finished third or better with five of six Falcon singles players taking home second place medals.

Women’s Tennis

The Falcons took a pared-down squad of four to the Mission Tournament in Santa Clara on Saturday due to conflicting work obligations and an adjusted tournament schedule. Still, the Falcons brought home some individual hardware. Freshman Nicole Chumpitaz finished second at #6 singles, then she and sophomore Michelle Doyle combined to reach the #2 doubles semi-finals before losing to a pair from Cañada College. Freshman Erin Cline finished second in #3 singles consolation, and Michelle Doyle was second in #4 singles consolation.

Both tennis teams will return to action on Tuesday, Feb 21 when they open their Big 8 Conference schedule at American River College.

Upcoming Sports Schedule

Fri Feb 17 Baseball at College of Marin, 2:00 pm

                Softball at Redwoods (Eureka), 2:00 pm

Sat Feb 18 Softball at Redwoods, 12:00 and 2:00 pm

                Baseball vs College of Marin at FLC, 1:00 pm


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Haney Inks with Southern Oregon

By Mike Bush  |  2017-02-09

Kenny Haney, middle, signs his National Letter of Intent for Southern Oregon University last week at Cordova High School. Sitting with him are his parents Shelia, left, and Donald. Kenny becomes the first Cordova High School football player to sign with a four-year college in a decade. 
--Photo by Mike Bush

In 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers posted a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

In Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers in five games in the World Series. And the Sacramento Kings experienced their last winning season, which ended the 2005-06 season with losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

That year was also marked the last time that the Cordova High School football program had a player sign National Letter of Intent to play at a four-year college. But Kenny Haney snapped the Lancers’ drought last week.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Haney, who was a key contributor at middle linebacker on last fall’s Cordova football squad that won a share of the Sierra Valley Conference title, has signed to continue his education and play football at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore. The last Lancer gridder to sign was former running back James Montgomery, when he signed with Cal, then finished his career at Washington State.

In front of his parents Donald and Sheila Haney, Cordova football head coach Darren Nill, Cordova athletic director Tom Pena, plus the school’s administration and friends, Haney signed his letter of intent inside one of the campus’ classroom during lunch on February 1st. Haney, who also saw playing time at running back for the Lancers, is one of 25 players who inked with the Raiders, and one of 14 from California.

One of the perks of Southern Oregon, Haney states, is the environment around the area.

“It’s a college town,” Haney said. “I could focus on myself; focus on my school work and football. No distractions.”

Nill spoke highly of Haney’s character. Most notable his preparations off the football field.

“The time he put in the weight room, and what I’m most impressed with is the time he put into the classroom,” Nill said.”

On the Raiders’ football Website, defensive coordinator James Gravelle stated on Haney, “He has explosion and a knack for the football. We’re excited for the potential for Kenny and his ability to make plays from sideline to sideline.”

Haney said that about 90 percent of the freshmen usually red-shirt their first year. But he’s been told that the Raiders need linebackers for the upcoming season.

“They haven’t let me know exactly,” Haney said. “They said they need a lot of middle linebackers.”

Haney, who has an undeclared major at this time, said he’ll continue to be in contact with the Raider coaches in upcoming weeks and months before he relocates to Oregon this summer.

Last season, Haney led the Lancers in tackles with 91, with 65 solo and 26 assisted tackles. He also had two interceptions and two quarterback sacks. On offense, Haney had 26 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

As Haney prepares to start a new chapter in his educational and football lives, he’ll remember his days as a Lancer. In 2013, the Lancers went 2-8. Then last fall, Cordova posted a 7-4 record that included a share of the SVC title with Liberty Ranch and El Dorado, plus a Division III playoff game against Christian Brothers at Sacramento City College.

“It’s been amazing,” Haney said. “We were definitely trying to turn it around my freshman year, when we were barely winning games to (last) year winning the championship.”


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Lancers Race past Galt in SVC Home Contest

By Mike Bush  |  2017-02-09

Cordova guard Mike Brown eyes the basket during an SVC game at Rosemont recently. Brown was one of four Lancers who scored in double digits against Galt in Tuesday’s conference home game. 
--Photo by Rick Sloan

A huge second quarter set the tone for the Cordova High School boys basketball team against Galt on Tuesday.

Entertaining the Warriors at Lancers Gym, the Lancers’ quick start led to a 75-48 win in a Sierra Valley Conference contest.

The keeps Cordova (7-1 in the SVC, 14-10) tied for first place in the SVC with Liberty Ranch (7-1 in the SVC, 18-7). Cordova and Liberty Ranch meet again tonight, Friday, at Lancers Gym. In their first meeting at the Hawks’ gym on Jan. 24th, Cordova posted a 65-62 win.

After taking off to a 20-13 lead in the first quarter, the Lancers put the game to rest against Galt in the second quarter with a 21-10 score. That led to a 41-23 halftime lead.

If Galt had any chance of pulling out a come-from-behind win in the third quarter, Cordova put those aspirations to rest. The Lancers held the Warriors to only nine points. Entering the final quarter, Cordova led 59-32.

“Our seniors stepped up big,” said Cordova head coach Fletcher Johnson, referring to his top scorers in the game.

Three of the four Lancer players who scored in double figures are seniors. Those players were guard Jason Novik, who was one of three players who scored in double figures with 21 points. Lancer forward Mike Brown and guard Najee Clark had 13 points each. Junior guard Markell Briggs followed with 10 points. Forward Tyreke Tate had eight points.

Tuesday’s game was also Senior Night. Recognized before the game were Novik, Brown and Clark.

Cordova 74, El Dorado 61

In an SVC road game in Placerville on Feb. 3rd, the Lancers also jumped out to a 20-13 lead after the first quarter. Cordova expanded its lead to 37-26 at halftime. The Lancers finished the second half with a 37-35 scoring advantage.

Today’s home game for Cordova against Liberty Ranch is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. Next Tuesday, the Lancers close out the regular season on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, at Union Mine. That game is also slated to start at 7 p.m.


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