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This article is the last of the new series entitled “Sports Records”. For the first article, read Sports Records Series: Soccer.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

After scoring a touchdown at a home game, Tyler Stotts, ’20, celebrates with his teammates.

As the field gets painted and the Friday night lights come out, the football team prepares for another winning season. Competing in the Central Sierra 8-man football league, the team strives to receive another Valley Champions title.

The football team heads into their season with 26 players, consisting of six seniors, five juniors, eight sophomores and seven freshmen. With the team losing 12 seniors, this season’s players must step up and fill the spots that were left behind.

In the 2018 season, the team competed to become Valley Champions for their fourth consecutive year. They finished league with a 6-1 record and secured the No.2 seed in playoffs. The team won their two playoffs games and earned a spot in the Valley Championship game against Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School. After a long battle, the team headed home with the second-place plaque and received the Valley Champions Runner-Up title.

Because of last years outcome, the 2019 team practices and prepares for their upcoming season in hopes of retrieving their lost title of Valley Champions. Senior Blake Burdan talks about what he expects from this season and how the team plans on winning a Valley Championship this upcoming year.

“I am looking forward to being a senior and a leader on the team,” Burdan said. “I am excited to start playing games and for homecoming and senior night. We plan on becoming Valley Champions through hard work and unity. We are a very close team this year. The loss of 12 seniors was hard but many younger teammates have stepped up and will make a big impact this year.”

The team has a total of six coaches helping them reach their Valley Championship goal. Russ Counts remains the head coach while receiving assistance from Mike Zamarripa, Erik Burdan, Brad Gage, Chance Cantu, Mick Fuller and alumnus Tyler Breedlove. With the coaches help, the current players strive to dominate their competition and outperform last year’s team.

The following infographic shows the offensive and defensive records for football.

Sports Records: Football by Megan LeBlanc

One special factor about Fresno Christian sports is the eligibility for home schoolers to play alongside Fresno Christian students. The football team consists of eight home schoolers, ranging from freshmen to seniors. Alumnus and home-schooled player, Aaron LaCroix, tied the record for most interceptions in one season during the 2018 season. He intercepted the ball seven times, tying with alumni, Bailey Brogan, ’15, and Tyler Vanderlinden, ’17.

In the following podcast LaCroix talks about his reaction to finding out he holds a record and what he did to reach this achievement.

Graduating in 2018, alumnus Tyler Villines holds three of the football records. Villines talks about his reaction to finding out he holds three records and what mindset he pursured to reach this achievement.

“When I found out that I broke those records I was absolutely shocked,” Villines said. “The only thing I knew is that for the last four years I worked my tail off. I took time before and after practice putting in the extra work and trying to embrace the different shifts and changes happening and catch them in stride. I was switched to quarterback my sophomore year and one thing I knew was that people were going to immediately doubt me because I was short. This opened up the opportunity to show the world that you truly can do all things through Christ who gives up strength.”

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Blake Burdan,’20, runs down the field during a Friday night home football game, Nov. 5.

Even though Villines succeeded in football, he did not pursue the sport in college. Villines continues to explain his love for the sport but how God’s plan called him in a different direction.

“God has called away from football to dive headfirst into ministry,” Villines continues. “Although I share a deep love for football and I always will, God’s plans are far more important than mine ever was or will be. He’s the one I trusted to help me thrive in football, so I will always trust him when he says that it is time to step away and recklessly pursue Him and shine His light to others.”

The football team plays their first game against Sierra High School on Friday, Aug. 23. The game starts at 7 p.m. on the Fresno Christian field. Make sure to head out and support your Eagles!

After their game against Sierra High School, the team travels to Rosamond High School for their first 11-man game of their season. The game is on August 30 and begins at 7 p.m.

This author received all information and statistics on the MaxPreps website. If any data needs to be changed, leave a comment and the author of this article will fix it.

This is the last article in the new series entitled “Sports Records’’. For more Sports Records articles, read Sports Records: Baseball and Sports Records: Basketball

Megan LeBlanc can be reached via email and twitter.

Slideshow images from FC football games

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