Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bonding helped Cougars return to playoffs

DSC_0742 ec

SENIOR LEADERS from left: Shane Caraway, Wolfgang Shepherd, Bradley Schmidt, Dominic Morgan, Logan Kirby, Juan Vargas, Donovan Mayer and Gage Raley have helped the Cougars return to the postseason after a lengthy absence. View more photos at Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

From page A6 | November 13, 2013 | Leave Comment

The year was 1996 when President Bill Clinton was unanimously re-elected, the original line-up of the 1970s rock group Kiss reunited and Brett Favre led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl XXXI win over the New England Patriots.

It was also the year the 20 seniors on the El Dorado High football team were born. Little did they know they’d bond and come together to break a Cougar football playoff drought.

El Dorado returns to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in 27 years Friday when the Cougars play at American Canyon for their first postseason taste in nearly three decades.

El Dorado went 3-3 in the Sierra Valley Conference, winning its last three conference games while outscoring opponents 133-34.

In 1987, El Dorado’s last playoff appearance, the Cougars went 1-1. Between 1983 and 1987, the Cougars made the playoffs four of five seasons, winning the section’s D-II title in ’83 — an accomplishment the program celebrated with its recent reunion. Prior to that, El Dorado’s lone playoff appearance was in 1977.

“This year’s seniors built on the foundation of what the Class of 2012 left,” El Dorado head coach Joe Volek said. “They spent the off-season preparing in the weight room and set the tone for hard work equals success. They not only are a good group of football players but a good group of young men. I am very proud of them.”

Center and captain Dominic Morgan and running back Logan Kirby felt the growth of the team developed in January inside the Cougars’ weight room.

“It was really intense,” Morgan said. “We started off not as hard.”

Kirby added, “We progressed out here with summer ball.”

In June, El Dorado attended The Cascade Football Team Camp at McCloud High, where the bond grew stronger among the seniors and juniors.

“We had to stay in tents,” joked Morgan. “We really got to bond and come together as a team.”

When they weren’t on the gridiron during the camp, Volek and his coaches took the players to water falls near the camp where the players went swimming. The players talked about their lives outside of football.

“We talked about our personal lives and what we want to accomplish,” Kirby said.

El Dorado started its season with a 3-1 preseason record, its one loss a narrow 29-16 setback to Tokay. The Cougars then dropped their first three conference games to Vista del Lago, River City and Cosumnes Oaks before regrouping to win three straight, including a huge 35-14 victory over Liberty Ranch.

“Our main goal was to make the playoffs,” Kirby said. ”We had three games (to win) and that was huge for El Dorado.”

Morgan added, “That was a huge turning point (against Liberty Ranch). Our defense against Liberty Ranch was the best game we ever played. That just helped us through the regular season.”

The seniors on the team are Kirby, Morgan, Wolfgang Shepherd, Bradley Schmidt, Gabe Hewritt, Alex Lopez, Jacob Dwyer, Geofry Hamil, Jason Prince, Derek Delfino, Brandon Eldridge, Jeremiah Romero, Clayton Jamaca, Bryce Buford, Juan Vargas, Daniel Rivera, Gage Raley, Shane Caraway, Ethan Fox and Tryston Ross.

El Dorado’s playoff opener against American Canyon, along the Oak Ridge-Napa and Golden Sierra-Delhi matchups will be previewed in Friday’s sports page of the Mountain Democrat.

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter. 

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo

Discussion | No comments



Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 76 Comments | Gallery

Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3



My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 27 Comments

Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 26 Comments

Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 5 Comments


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 10 Comments

Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments



Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7



4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5



Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8