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EUs surprise season spoiled by superior Del Oro squad
Lancer Steven Gigli gets stopped at the line of scrimmage by the Del Oro defense Friday in EU’s 58-7 playoff loss. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The Lancers’ magical season came to abrupt halt.

During the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs, No. 6 seed East Union was trounced Friday by visiting Del Oro, 58-7.

“My hat goes off to Del Oro,” Lancers coach Mike James said. “They’re a well-coached team, a well-oiled machine.”

The Golden Eagles have been in playoff mode for several weeks.

“We had to win four straight (Sierra Foothill League) games just to get here,” coach Chad Taylor said. “We’re hungry.”

He did that by changing up his lineup after Del Oro dropped to 2-4. The winning formula proved to be more than successful against East Union.

The No. 11 Golden Eagles played a near flawless first half, relying on the one-two punch of Nick O’Sullivan and Kenny Andri.

The two running backs were also beneficiaries of an offensive line led by the 6-4, 315-pound senior tackle Ryan Cope. He, along with Dustin Mollard, anchored down the left side while Kevin Love, Ken Andersen and Zach Heath also took care of matters.

Del Oro (7-4) needed just three plays on its first possession before O’Sullivan capped the 53-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring run.

East Union (7-4) had a drive kept alive on a roughing-the-punter penalty. But the Golden Eagles applied the defensive pressure to get the ball back. From there, they went four plays, scoring on Andri’s 15-yard sprint.

Del Oro further silenced the 12th man at Dino Cunial Field – the raucous home fans in the west grandstands – by scoring a third time in the first quarter. O’Sullivan, who picked up 132 yards on nine carries, reeled off a 47-yard touchdown run.

Down 21-0 entering the second quarter, the Lancers continued to see their fortunes go from bad to worse.

After Andri’s second touchdown – his 49-yard scoring burst at the 6:27 mark gave Del Oro a 28-0 advantage – the Lancers were pinned down in their own territory due to penalties and miscues. A bad snap from punt formation sailed over Teejay Gordon in the end zone, resulting in a safety.

The Golden Eagles made it 37-0 shortly before halftime thanks to another O’Sullivan TD.

Del Oro picked up where it left off in the second half. Andri, who gained 96 yards on eight carries, took the opening kickoff by going 95 yards for the score.

Brandon Monroe took over in the third quarter by scoring twice for the Golden Eagles. He had touchdown runs of 40 and 55 yards.

East Union finally put together a scoring drive late in the game, relying on passing and running of Gordon.

The Lancers also went with Tyler Hardesty and Ryanh Somphithack to go along with Steven Gigli to help fuel the ground game.

East Union caught a break deep in Del Oro territory when an apparent interception was scratched on a defensive-hold infraction.

On the next play, Gigli scored on a 5-yard run.

Following the loss, James took time to reflect on the season.

“We had a tremendous year,” he said. “I’m really thankful for our guys to make it here.

James added: “It’s been 18 years at East Union of never playing in Week 11.”

The last time was 1992.

The Lancers, ironically, played and lost to Del Oro.