By Will James

Home Town Sports Game of the Week

Just three weeks into the young high school football season, most Sacramento area teams have by now reached an awareness of which direction they’re headed, and how far they believe they can go.

Such is not the case for #18 Vista del Lago and Cordova this Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. when the two teams collide on Access Sacramento‘s Hometown Sports Game-of-the-Week.

This live telecast may be seen on Comcast Cable channel 17, Consolidated Communications channel 17, and AT&T U-Verse channel 14.  The game will be replayed Sat, Sept, 17 at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 7 p.m. on the same channels. The game will also be streamed from AccessSacramento.org and the NFHS Network.

Both clubs are looking for answers; trying to stabilize their consistency and build momentum before league play begins.  Both teams are in quest of a breakout game that will solidify and restore their preseason goals. 

Vista del Lago entered this season with the confidence of having posted back-to-back Capital Athletic League Championships, and lofty expectations of a third straight trip to the playoffs.  But after three weeks of play Mike Streubing‘s Eagles stand at 1-2, having been pounded 50-18 by #5 Oak Ridge, and 62-42 by #8 Monterey Trail.  These losses to Top-10 teams were sandwiched around a 34-27 victory over unranked Ponderosa.

Vista del Lago QB Brent Schaeffer

Vista del Lago QB Brent Schaeffer

The Vista del Lago offense has plenty of firepower, led by Senior QB Brent Schaeffer.  In three games this season he’s passed for 966 yds. and 10 TD with zero interceptions.  He’s also run for three TD.

Shaeffer’s receiving corps of Brenden Hall, Blake Tuter, and Ryan Middlekauff have combined for 64 receptions and 8 TD.

The Eagles’ running game has sputtered, averaging just 107 yards rushing per game.  Dominick Norris (243 yds., 1 TD) is Vista del Lago’s top RB, averaging 81 rushing yards per game.

Vista’s defense is also in question.  The Eagles have surrendered 139 points in three games; yielding an average of 46.1 points per game.  

Linebackers David Hull and Adam King, and DB Ryan Middlekauff are the Eagles’ top tacklers. 

This Eagles vs. Lancers match-up generates multiple points of interest, including the brief series history between the teams that should provide significant motivation for the host Lancers.  This year marks their fifth meeting.  Vista del Lago has won the previous four games by an average score of 46-14.

Darren Nill‘s Lancers leaped into the new season with back-to-back victories over Rio Americano and Chavez (Stockton), but last week at Cordova the Lancers lost a tense 31-29 squeaker to Rio Linda.

Cordova Running Back Deante McCullough (Courtesy: RanchoCordovaindependent.com)

Cordova Running Back Deante McCullough (Courtesy: RanchoCordovaindependent.com)

Sophomore QB Xavier Johnson is a double threat, accounting for 575 total yards and 5 TD passes for an offense that averages nearly 40 points per game.  RB Deante McCullough leads the running attack (291 yds., 4 TD) and has posted two 100+ yard games. Wide receivers Calvin Augusta (9 Rec. 1 TD) and Alvin Banks (9 Rec. 1 TD are Johnson’s primary targets.

Cordova’s rampaging defense has registered 12 sacks, 5 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries.  A priority for Vista del Lago QB Brent Schaeffer:  Be mindful of the Lancers’ Keleshi Njoku at all times. The Jr. standout anchors Cordova’s D-Line, and has registered 8 sacks and 24 solo tackles.  LBs Kenneth Haney and Jason Johnson have combined for 64 tackles.

Friday evening in Rancho Cordova these teams will meet at an important intersection, and reach an outcome that will bode heavily for both teams throughout the remainder of the season.  This contest is definitely worthy to place on your watch-and-see-what-happens list.