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Eagles make history, win third straight title

Blake Deffenbacher | The Feather Online

The Eagles defense held strong to capture their first shutout of the season, defeating Trona, 28-0, Nov. 24.

In the first shutout of the season, the No. 5 State-ranked Eagles won the CIF Central Section 8-Man Valley championship, 28-0. The game was hosted at FC against the No. 9 seed, Trona Tornadoes, Nov. 24.

The Eagles, however, looked to gain an early advantage and junior Anthony Lenardo (7), scored on a 1-yd run. Following the TD Blake Burdan ran for a 2-point conversion putting the Eagles at an early lead. Finishing off the quarter with an outstanding defensive line, the Eagles kept the lead at 8-0.

At the start of the second quarter, the Eagles kept their intense play style up. The Eagle defense was also strong, keeping the Tornadoes from scoring. Near the end of the second quarter with 1:49 left till half, senior Tyler Villines threw a 45-yard pass to Brandon Brogan, ’19, for another touchdown.

Concluding the first half, junior Aaron LaCroix scored a 27-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left in the quarter. The Eagles kept the lead steady, the score, 21-0.

After kicking off the second half, Tyler Villines dodged the line for a 3-yard touchdown within the first four minutes.

While the Tornadoes pushed hard on offense, the Eagle defense locked down the game and won the CIF Central Section 8-man Valley Championship title for the third year in a row with the team’s first shutout of the year, 28-0. 

Ecstatic about finishing the season with a shutout, senior Daniel Avila is proud of his team for coming together since the beginning of the season to grow throughout the year.

“This is my last championship game that I will be a part of in my entire high school career, and it is just so great,” Avila said. “We made history with a “3P” so three years in a row we came out and won this. I’m just so proud of my team. From the very beginning, I could tell that this team was the most committed team I have ever played with. I just want to congratulate all of them because they worked their butts off.”

Blake Deffenbacher | The Feather Online

Second-year head coach Russ Counts captures his second CIF Central Section 8-Man Valley championship title. With a minute left in play, the team gave coach Counts a Gatorade shower for the first time.

Head coach Russ Counts explains how great it is to come back from a rough start to the season and how hard his players worked to get there.

“It feels fantastic to win,” Counts said. “It has been a long run and these guys are amazing. I have so many favorite plays but watching these defensive guys just stuff the other team, I don’t think I have a favorite play, just love watching the defense do an amazing job.

“My favorite part of the season is coming out of four losses and our team just finding a new level to play football completely turning it around,” Counts continued. “Seeing them believe in each other and watching them start believing in themselves was truly amazing to watch the transformation.”

Joining the team freshmen year, senior Roman Endicott talks about how he has loved playing with the guys and bonding with them throughout the years.

“I just feel so happy and I am so proud of all the guys that I am part of the team with,” Endicott said. “I love all of them and I am going to miss them because it has just been such a great season. My favorite part this year was the fellowship and the hard-working attitude that everyone else brought to the team, we had such a unique dynamic and were so close to each other like we were all brothers.”

Eagles football finished the season with a record of 8-4 overall.

You can read last years Valley championship article here: FC football sport short: CIF Valley championship. For more articles, check out Yamaguchi reflects on time spent in Japanese relocation camps.

Slideshow images below from the CIF Central Section 8-Man Valley championship against the No. 9 seed, Trona Tornadoes, Nov. 24.

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Nathan Mount can be reached via email: Nate MountInstagram, and Twitter.

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