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Cortez speaks with Eagle receiving core prior to homecoming night

Annabelle Messer | The Feather Online

The FCS Eagles lost their last game to Stone Ridge Christian, 9-0

As the summer heat starts to fade away and the cool breeze of autumn enters, the 2019 football season is halfway through, Fresno Christian will be hosting their homecoming football game against league opponent Riverdale ChristianThe 35th annual Fresno Christian Homecoming is a major event for the FC community, attracting hundreds of guests last year. Students, parents, faculty and alumni come back for the festivities and special events throughout the evening. 

More than numbers

The Eagles head into this game coming off a loss against their non-league opponent, Stone Ridge Christian, Sept. 27. The Eagles held the Knights to six heading into halftime. After only allowing a field goal in the second half, the Eagles could not seal the deal as they fall short losing, 9-0.

As league opponent Riverdale Christian encroaches Eagle territory, Fresno Christian look to make a statement playing in their first 8-man game since last season’s Valley Championship game against Mission Prep last November.

In the following podcast, senior sports journalist Richie Cortez discusses preparation, in-game atmosphere and homecoming court votes with the majority of the Fresno Christian receiving core.

Riverdale Christian’s mascot, the Christ Ambassadors, come into this weeks game with an overall record of 2-1. Their previous game was a win against the Crystal Springs Uplands Gryphons with a final score of 42-14. The Ambassadors head into Fresno with a two-game winning streak. According to Maxpreps, Riverdale leads the Central Sierra (8-man) division. The Christ Ambassadors have the highest winning percentage this season with 0.667 and the Eagles second with 0.250. 

Last year when these two league opponents faced off, the Eagles reigned victorious with the final score of 41-6. The Eagles came out strong, scoring 21 unanswered points in the first half and putting the game away scoring 20 in the second half while the Christ Ambassadors scored six in the fourth quarter.  

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

The FCS Eagles head into their seventh week of the 2019 football season during homecoming week.

Preparations for the game

These top-of-the-table teams look to come out of this weeks match-up with a win. The Christ Ambassadors feeling hot with a two-game winning streak and the Eagles looking to bounce back from a three-game losing streak; only one will come out victorious.

Players from the Fresno Christian football team, Mateo Pascual, ’23, Casey La Croix, ’22, Bradley Cheney, ’22, Seth Yancey, ’21, and Mason Blowers, ’20, gave an insider view on what the squad is doing to prepare for this weeks face-off while fighting through multiple player injuries.

“Most of practice was rotating 11-man formations on offense to an 8-man formation,” Cheney said. “It’s our first game back to 8-man; it’s interesting for all of us to get back to playing and getting back into the rhythm of 8-man instead of 11-man.”

In the following tweet, in the Eagles previous game, FC lost to Stone Ridge Christian at home.

The following tweet features some photos from the previous Eagle’s game against Stone Ridge Christian.

During week one, Eagle quarterback Nathan Edwards, ’22,  suffered a broken wrist in the first half of the win against Sierra High School. Since then, the Eagles have gone through three quarterbacks, making Tyler Stotts, ’20, the starter heading into week seven.

“It’s showing us who is able to play what positions and who we can bounce around to see what works,” Blowers said. “But if things aren’t working, then we’re going to switch them into a different position or, put them in a spot that will benefit the team all together.”

Motivating the team

According to MaxPreps, as of 2015, the Eagles have outscored the Christ Ambassadors, 336-38, in their previous six meetings. In the last six match-ups between these two teams, Fresno Christian has come out victorious every game. Although the Eagles have won the past couple of meetings against Riverdale Christian, any team is capable of beating a team at any moment. Second year returner La Croix voiced his thoughts on coming into this game when asked if the stats give the team a confidence boost. 

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

Sports journalist Richie Cortez, ’20, and the Fresno Christian receiving core discussed multiple topics for a podcast.

“It gives us a big boost,” La Croix said. “Any team can beat you on any given night. We just need to go out there and keep our heads straight. We need to go in there take care of business and get out.”

Many Fresno Christian families and friends will be in attendance for homecoming. The various floats and other attractions draw families and FCS alumni.

“I’m looking to play my butt off no matter what happens,” Yancey said. “In any situation we need to block out everything and just go do our job.”

Throughout practice this week, the Eagles kept in mind that they cannot take Riverdale Christian lightly. Last week against Stone Ridge, Fresno Christian could not capitalize on the opposing team’s mistakes. Senior receiver Blowers explains what the drive this week was for the entire squad and what needed to be worked on in order to come out with a win Friday night.

“Discipline is the biggest thing,” Blowers said. “We all need to be disciplined mentally and physically. It is a shorter field but there is more distance you have to cover. Everyone has to be well conditioned. Also, in practices we need to be working has hard as we can to see who is getting a starting spot. We’re all fighting for a starting spot come Friday night.”

Go out and support your Fresno Christian Eagles as they take on the Riverdale Christian Christ Ambassadors, Oct. 4. The gates open at 5:45 p.m. and kickoff is at 7 p.m. for the 35th annual FC homecoming. However, dinner and concessions are open at 6 p.m. and court festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

For more of Cortez’s interviews, check out Richie Cortez discusses Bekah Micu’s return from injury and Angel Ruelas eyes professional soccer career after Italian trip.

Richie Cortez can be reached via Twitter @richie_cortez9 and via email.

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