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Del Oro not an 11th seed Lancers can take likely

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POSTED November 11, 2010 2:11 a.m.
If you’re going to play with a chip on your shoulder, it might as well be boulder.

So says East Union High varsity football coach Mike James as his team gears up for its first Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game since 1992.

The No. 6 seeded Lancers (7-4) will face Del Oro (6-4) in the Division III opening round contest at Dino Cunial Field.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.

It was nearly 18 years ago when East Union played and lost to the Golden Eagles in the Division II semifinal game, 28-7.

Del Oro went on to take the section title that year, beating Sonora, 28-12.

Since 1989, the Golden Eagles have 11 section-title game appearances, earning six Division II championships along the way.

The six titles by the Golden Eagles – they also beat East Union in the 1989 section championship game, 29-22 – are third-most in the section, tying them with Grant. Their 11 title-game appearances just happen to be the second-most in SJS history.

This year, Del Oro is in Division III and seeded No. 11. The Sierra Foothill League co-champions played one of the toughest schedules this season, losing to Nevada-power Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas and state-ranked Clovis West and Oak Ridge.

In the SFL, the Golden Eagles were 2-4 overall when coach Casey Taylor did the unthinkable, removing several players for reportedly being “selfish” while adjusting his lineup on the fly.

“They run an offense similar to Manteca High,” said East Union coach James on Monday.

Running back-defensive back Nick O’Sullivan has been the workhorse during the turnaround, gaining 659 yards on 150 carries with 11 touchdowns. He scored three in the upset win over Granite Bay.

Kevin Andri, who missed three games with an injured leg, racked up 800 yards on 157 pops with seven TDs.

His team was still buzzing over its 10-7 upset victory over cross-town rival Buffaloes.

“At practice, it was business as usual,” he added.

The win over No. 1 Manteca High did wonders for East Union (7-3) in terms of the playoff seeding.

“Instead of No. 15 (seeding) and taking that long bus ride, we get to host a playoff game,” James said.

East Union is in the playoffs for the fifth time in school history.

Against Del Oro, the Lancers will again rely on much of the same formula that proved successful against Manteca: Stellar defense, no turnovers on offense.

Their other variable is East Union’s raucous Red Sea rooting section.

“It’s unbelievable how loud they are,” James said. “There were times against Manteca when the sound (by the Red Sea) was so loud and deafening that we couldn’t hear the calls from our headset.

“Still, it was a great problem to have the support of that 12th man.”

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