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Gordon leads East Unions comeback in overtime win
CERES — East Union and Central Valley entered Friday night’s contest with identical 2-4 overall and 0-3 Valley Oak League records.

The Lancers climbed out of the cellar with a thrilling 27-21 overtime victory over the Hawks at Bulldog Stadium. The win spoiled Central Valley’s Homecoming and avenged last year’s 30-10 loss.

East Union rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter behind the never-say-die performance of junior Teejay Gordon, who made his first start of the season at quarterback in place of injured teammate Dennis Johnson. Gordon passed for 273 yards and one touchdown, and scored three times on the ground.

“I had to take Dennis’ spot,” Teejay said. “Those are huge shoes to fill.”

Gordon threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Brown and scored on a 1-yard QB keeper in the final quarter of regulation. He secured the victory when he raced untouched in the end zone for a 4-yard TD in overtime.

“He (Gordon) made some mistakes but he never gave up,” Lancers head coach Mike James said. “That’s a leader right there.”

Gordon earned the respect of his teammates because he didn’t let a horrible first half, in which he threw three interceptions, ruin his night. His teammates chanted his name loudly during the post-game huddle. They even picked him up on their shoulders. Teejay couldn’t stop smiling.

“I was a little down at halftime,” said Gordon, who struggled mightily after accounting for the game’s first touchdown (11-yard run). “I talked with my coaches and they pumped me up. It felt good knowing my team was behind me from start to finish.”

Central Valley had a chance to win the game in regulation but time ran out before Daniel Ochoa could attempt a 34-yard field goal.

The Hawks’ previous offensive possession resulted in a turnover on downs at the East Union 1-inch line thanks to an incredible goal-line stand by the Lancers.

Gordon’s winning score came several minutes after Ochoa’s 28-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

“This feels great,” Teejay said. “We haven’t won a game in a while.”

Central Valley players didn’t enjoy listening to and watching East Union’s celebration. The Lancers snapped a three-game losing streak in stunning fashion.

“I thought we’d beat them but things changed in the end,” said Hawk receiver/safety Greg Mathews, who hauled in TD passes of 13 and 7 yards from freshman Abraham Navarro and returned an interception 45 yards for a score in the opening half. “We let them take over. I guess they wanted it more than we did.”

To contact Dale Butler, e-mail