Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Tyson Hamburg straight-arms his way through the Cordova defense for a first-down gain during the first quarter. Democrat photo by Mark Studyvin
Fangtown Cougars take control of SVC
From Old Hangtown’s high school football team comes an idea for a new nickname.
Friday night in Fangtown, as in the El Dorado Cougars, saw the home-side bite off another comeback victory. El Dorado seized control of the Sierra Valley Conference race with a 27-26 win over Cordova.
“It’s like this is a league championship,” running back/linebacker Kai Cordero said, surrounded by joyous teammates after the team’s final regular season home game. “That was one of our goals since April. It was just a dream come true.”
Forgive the junior for prematurely celebrating. The Cougars’ (3-0, 6-2) remaining schedule includes tilts at Galt and Union Mine (1-5 in league, 6-10 overall combined). El Dorado owns victories over both Cordova and Rosemont, the only other SVC teams with winning league records.
The second of Branson Kirby’s two 1-yard touchdown runs gave the Cougars (3-0, 6-2) a 27-20 lead with 3:04 remaining in the third period. The Lancers’ touchdown drive with 11:09 to play provided an answer, but only briefly. They missed the two-point conversion.
Five minutes later, Tyson Hamburg’s fumble recovery near midfield thwarted what turned out to be Cordova’s last scoring chance. It also preserved a lead and a streak.
El Dorado has overcome second-half deficits in each of its three straight league wins. After leading 14-13 at halftime, Cordova took a 20-19 advantage with five minutes to play in the third quarter.
A leg injury sent Steven Fox to the sidelines during the third period. He didn’t return after rushing 27 times for 128 yards. In his place, both Cordero (13 carries, 55 yards) and Kirby (15-65) moved the chains. When he wasn’t taking handoffs, Cordero delivered lead blocks from the fullback slot.
“Anything they want me to do, I’ll do it,” he said. “It’s not about myself. It’s about the whole team. We have heart. We never stop competing. We don’t freak out. We have that composure.”
El Dorado reached the end zone with 42 seconds before halftime. Danny Bell’s perfect throw over the middle found Hamburg, who made it an 18-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion run failed.
The current SVC alignment began in 2014. Since then El Dorado is 17-2 at home during the regular season. Two years after winning it outright, the Cougars shared a league title with Cordova and Liberty Ranch last year. And the program’s previous league championship came in 1983.
“It’s been an amazing experience being out here,” said Bell, a sophomore in his first varsity season. “This sets it up for us: the league championship, the home playoff game. You believe in the game plan, you trust the process and you just keep going.”